News / Middle East

Pope Benedict Calls for Peace in Troubled Regions

Pope Benedict celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, December 24, 2012
Pope Benedict celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, December 24, 2012
VOA News
Pope Benedict has used his annual Christmas message to the world, calling for peace in global hot spots, including Syria.

The pontiff prayed Tuesday that "peace would spring up for the people of Syria," a country where tens of thousands have died in anti-government unrest.

As he stood on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica and addressed thousands of pilgrims below, he also called for peace in Mali, where al-Qaida linked militants occupy part of the country, and Nigeria, where Islamist extremists have waged a bloody campaign.

The pontiff also called on Israel and the Palestinians to find the "courage" to negotiate a settlement and asked China's new government to respect religion.

Meanwhile, thousands of tourists from all over the world gathered in the West Bank town of Bethlehem to celebrate the holiday at the place where Christians believe Jesus was born.

Last month the United Nations General Assembly voted to recognized the Palestinian Authority as a non-member state.

In his annual pre-Christmas homily, the top Roman Catholic bishop in the area, Fouad Twal, celebrated that achievement for the Palestinians and urged them to work with the Israelis to end the region's seemingly endless conflict.

Despite cold weather, the festivities continued late into the evening, with some tourists calling it a moving experience.



  • Pope Benedict delivers his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the City and to the World) speech from the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, December 25, 2012.
  • Vatican Swiss guards march in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, December 25, 2012.
  • Burmese Christians gather outside the St. Anthony's Catholic Church Rangoon, Burma, December 25, 2012.
  • Civilians in Santa Claus hats and service members with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force wait to be served Christmas dinner at the U.S.-led coalition base in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 25, 2012.
  • Members of the ice swimming club Berlin Seals attend the annual Christmas swimming at the partial frozen Oranke Lake in Berlin, Germany, December 25, 2012.
  • Pakistani women pray during an outdoor Mass on Christmas Day, in a Christian neighborhood in Islamabad, Pakistan, December 25, 2012.
  • British travelers, left to right, Liam Skalley, John Arthurs, Ben Saunders, Sam Hope and Liam Fillingham kick up their heels as they celebrate Christmas Day at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, December 25, 2012.
  • Kosovo Catholics attend a Christmas mass at St. Anthony church in Pristina, December 25, 2012.
  • Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall arrive for the British royal family's traditional Christmas Day church service in Sandringham, England, December 25, 2012.
  • Indonesians pray during a Christmas eve service at a church in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, December 24, 2012.
  • Christian worshippers and tourists celebrate at the Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, December 24, 2012.
  • Musicians play brass instruments for the 35th Annual Dallas Merry Tubachristmas Concert at Thanks-Giving Square in downtown Dallas, Texas, December 24, 2012.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Exenon from: Australia
December 26, 2012 3:37 AM
The catholic cardinal of Australia has lied about the guilt of the "devil priests" and protected paedophiles since he became a bishop. A few short weeks ago he declared the Jews to be an unintelligent people! and that the Germans (his boss included?) suffered far more than the Jews in WWII. He then retracted this statement saying "some of my best friends are Jews.

Pope Heinnrich can take his platitudes and blessings and stick them where his church of the holy hypocrite hides its' paedophiles


by: Alan Klees from: Naples, NC
December 25, 2012 5:52 PM
Why is the Pope and the church? The church exists for child sex and war. Why is the Pope speaking against these things? Why are the Leftists the biggest killers in history? I guess there is enough blame to go around, eh?


by: Geneva street from: usa
December 25, 2012 5:01 PM
Thanks be God that the pope still is that voice crying out in the wilderness. While the rest of the cynical world finds folly in prayer and believing just as they did 2,000 years ago, the rest of us find true peace and joy in Jesus Christ!


by: NVO from: USA
December 25, 2012 1:02 PM
Lets face the HISTORICAL FACTS, shall we?? The RC church is a CONFIRMED AMILLENNIAL/REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY church. BOTH doctrines based on and rooted in ANTISEMITISM! And to you people (duped people) that is; that are in complete DENIAL of this, you need to discover the history of the RC church and the doctrines that they propagate. Catholic beliefs and practices open up a HOST of theological problems, that are diametrically OPPOSED to Scripture and Christianity itself.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Denial and ignorance is NO excuse to remain in a so-called church that leads people astray with UNBIBLICAL doctrines. Beware of these goons walking around in their clerical garb twisting the Word of God. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them=Romans 16:17. Take the two SHAMEFUL doctrines of AMILLENNIALISM AND REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY, just for starters, do your HISTORICAL homework, then RUN from that den of lies. Pragmatics wins, NOT conjecture!


by: Serenity Ann Love
December 25, 2012 10:52 AM
How about stopping all the Child Molestation and Child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church?

How about allowing authorities in to arrest and jail all the child pedophiles?

How about admitting Catholic Church has a problem?

How about telling Catholics for every $1.00 donation, part of will pay out the victims?

After all that, you may world peace.


by: Bill Greenlee from: San Diego, Ca
December 25, 2012 10:46 AM
Thank you, Pope Benedict. I will file your call for world peace alongside the other annual call of all the previous Popes. And, what good does it do? Absolutely, nothing. The Papacy is about as separated from reality as anything I can imagine. Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton have done more to promote peace than any Pope in my memory. I can think of many others but a Pope? I can't think of any.


by: IsaacM50 from: Sarnia
December 25, 2012 10:11 AM
nice thought...but how many Muslims were watching? and does he have any sort of power over them....hmmmm.. Gotta look like you're doing something for the paycheck, I suppose.


by: Fred Flintsone
December 25, 2012 9:40 AM

Jer 10:2 “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them.3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless; theycut a tree out of the forest,and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.5 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,their idols cannot speak;they must be carried because they cannot walk.Do not fear them;they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”
Sound familiar?

In Response

by: Ed
December 25, 2012 11:14 AM
James King is a "King James only" fundamentalist kook who probably thinks the earth is 4000 years old and that Jesus spoke in Elizabethan English. Ignoring him is the best option. Merry Christmas, everyone!

In Response

by: James King
December 25, 2012 10:17 AM
Excellent passage, but it is perfectly preserved in the 1611 Authorized King James Bible. That's the only version that the Pope and company despises. All of the new bibles have roots in the Catholic club.


by: Nikki from: british columbia
December 25, 2012 9:32 AM

Will his secretary reveal what his real prayers were?


by: Mark from: Syracuse, IN
December 25, 2012 9:24 AM
It truly was the least he could do.

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid