Pope prays for peace in the middle east

pope prays for peace in the middle east

The people of syria are deeply wounded and divided by a conflict that does not spare even the defenseless and takes innocent victims, benedict said. "Once again i call for an end to the bloodshed, to facilitate aid to refugees and evacuees, and to pursue a political solution to the conflict through dialogue," the 85-year-old said tuesday.

The pope appealed to the parties to the conflict in the middle east to find the courage to put an end to too many years of fighting and division and to take the path of negotiation with determination. He called on the people of the countries in transition in northern africa to work together to build societies based on justice and respect for the freedom and dignity of every human being. This is especially true for egypt, this treasured land blessed by the childhood of jesus, as the head of 1.2 billion catholics worldwide stressed.

The pope called on the new leaders in china to respect religious freedom and said: "it is my wish that the contribution of religions – in respecting each other – be shown in such a way that they can participate in building a society based on solidarity."

After the christmas message, the pope gave the apostolic blessing "urbi et orbi" – the city and the district. In front of tens of thousands of people in st. Peter’s square and millions of television viewers around the world, he read in 65 languages christmas pit. In german benedict said: "may the birth of jesus christ, the redeemer of men, fill your lives with deep joy and abundant grace; may his peace dwell in your hearts. Blessed and merry christmas!"

The ceremony in st. Peter’s square is connected for all believers with an indulgence in sins. Tens of thousands gathered again under a cloudy sky on the wide area in front of the basilica. The blessing is also a ratings hit: millions follow the event worldwide via radio, television or the internet.

Benedict had already prayed for peace in the near east at the christmas eve mass. "Let us pray in this hour for the people who live and suffer there today," he said at the traditional celebration in st. Peter’s cathedral. "Let us pray that israelis and palastinians will be able to live their lives in the peace of the one god and in freedom."Benedict called for an end to violence and peaceful coexistence between christians and muslims across the region.

At the same time, the pope deplored the forgetfulness of god and self-centeredness in western countries. "The faster we can move, the more time-saving our devices become, the less time we have", he said. This also affects our thinking and feeling. "We are full of ourselves, so that there is no room for god. And that’s why there is no room for the others, for the children, for the poor and the strangers."

As in the previous year, the 85-year-old rode down the aisle on a rolling platform with a support bar in the center aisle. There, 30 cardinals celebrated the mass with him, which was broadcast in 60 countries around the world and live on the internet. The christmas mass was scheduled earlier than usual, as in previous years, to give the 85 year old pontiff more rest before the christmas message.

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