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December 25, 2010

Pope Denounces Attacks on Churches, Suicide Bombing in Pakistan

Pope Benedict has condemned deadly Christmas holiday attacks on churches in Nigeria and the Philippines as "absurd violence."  He also denounced a suicide attack that killed at least 45 people waiting to receive aid in northwestern Pakistan.

The pontiff spoke Sunday in an address to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, saying the earth is, in his words, "once again stained with blood."  He said he learned of the attacks during Christmas celebrations on Saturday.

At least 32 people near the central Nigerian city of Jos were killed and more than 70 others seriously wounded Saturday in a series of explosions.  Witnesses say houses also were set on fire in the area, which has for years been rife with violence between Christians and Muslims struggling for political and economic power.

Separately, a bomb exploded Saturday during a Christmas Mass in the southern Philippines, wounding a priest and at least 10 worshippers.