Pope urges end to bloodshed in Syria
Sunday 25 December 2011
Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to the bloodshed in Syria and the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in his Christmas message, an appeal for peace that was challenged by deadly attacks on two Nigerian churches.
Benedict delivered his "Urbi et Orbi" speech (Latin for "to the city and to the world") from the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica overlooking a sun-drenched piazza below, before thousands of jubilant tourists and pilgrims, and hundreds of colorful Swiss Guards and Italian military bands.
The 84-year-old pope, fresh off a late-night Christmas Eve Mass, said he prayed that the birth of Jesus, which Christmas celebrates, would send a message to all who need to be saved from hardships.
He cited refugees from the Horn of Africa and flood victims in Thailand, among others, and called for greater political dialogue in Myanmar, and stability in Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa's Great Lakes region.
He said he prayed that God would help the Israelis and the Palestinians resume talks.
"May he bring an end to the violence in Syria, where so much blood has already been shed," he said.
The pope didn't mention the attacks on churches in Nigeria. Earlier today, an explosion ripped through a Catholic church during Christmas Mass near Nigeria's capital Abuja, killing at least 25 people. A second explosion struck near a church in Nigeria's restive central city of Jos.
There was no immediately claim of responsibility for either explosion, but Nigeria has suffered a wave of sectarian attacks blamed on a radical Muslim sect known as Boko Haram.
The Vatican press office noted that Benedict's speech was prepared well in advance of the attacks.
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said the Catholic church was praying for all Nigerians confronting "this terrorist violence in these days that should be filled with peace and joy."
After the speech, Benedict delivered Christmas greetings in 65 different languages, from Mongolian to Maori, Aramaic to Albanian, Tamil to Thai. He finished the list with Guarani and Latin, as the bells tolled from St. Peter's enormous bell towers.
- 1 Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
- 5 Facebook rainbow profile pictures likely being tracked by social network
Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
Ex-Scientologist Carmen Llwyelyn blasts 'cult' and her treatment after divorce with Jason Lee
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
Tunisia attack: 'Paralysed' police let gunman run amok for half an hour, says witness
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...