Pope Benedict XVI has criticized the use of airport body scanners, saying that despite the threat of terrorism, “the primary asset to be safeguarded and treasured is the person, in his or her integrity.”
He told an audience from the aerospace industry at a weekend meeting at the Vatican: “Respecting these principles can seem particularly complex and difficult in the present context . . .
“The international terrorist threat has in its line of fire airports and aircraft to realize its destructive schemes.”
But he warned: “It is essential never to lose sight of respect for the primacy of the person.”
The Pontiff did not specifically mention body scanners, but “it was clear what he meant,” the Telegraph in Britain reported.
The use of scanners at airports has created controversy because the equipment makes people who pass through the scanners appear naked.
Scanners have been put into use at several British airports, and will be phased in at airports in Italy as well.
Airport officials assert that scanners would have prevented Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding a plane in Britain with explosive material in his underwear on Christmas Day. But some critics say scanners are not entirely foolproof.
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