Pope Benedict XVI called for increased efforts toward peace in the Middle East.
In his annual Christmas message from the Vatican in Rome, the leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics listed several conflict areas, including Israel, and called on politicians to increase their efforts for peace.
The “tortured regions” the pope referred to include Darfur, Somalia, northern Congo, the Eritrea-Ethiopia border, “the entire Middle East, in particular Iraq, Lebanon and the Holy Land, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the Balkan region and so many, many other crisis areas that too often are forgotten.”
The annual message, paid close attention to around the world, is an indication of papal concerns and draws attention to international conflicts. Pope Benedict also focused his attention on the Middle East last year.
The pontiff delivered his traditional Christmas Day greetings in 63 languages, including Hebrew and Arabic.