Pope calls for peace for 'defenceless'


Speaking from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI called in his Christmas Day message for peace for the “defenceless” in Syria.

“May peace spring up for the people of Syria, deeply wounded and divided by a conflict which does not spare even the defenceless and reaps innocent victims,” the pope said.

“I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict.”

He also addressed China, where in recent weeks the Vatican has been increasingly at odds with the government.

The pope expressed the hope that the Chinese government would build a fraternal society and “esteem the contribution of the religions, in respect for each”. – (New York Times)