Pope Benedict calls for ceasefire in Syria and peaceful talks

L-R: Syria's Assad, Barack Obama, Al-Qaeda and Pope Benedict XVI

Newscast Media ROME—Pope Benedict XVI has made an urgent appeal to civil and political authorities to work for peace. The Pope’s heartfelt cry came on Monday during his annual address to Members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See.

Speaking to representatives of the 179 States that currently have full diplomatic relations with the Vatican, as well as members of numerous international organizations such as the EU, the Order of Malta and the PLO, Pope Benedict emphasized that world leaders have a grave responsibility to work for peace. They are the first – he said – called to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family.

The Pope went on to list urgent areas of concern starting with Syria which he described as being “torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population”.

“I renew my appeal for a ceasefire” – the Pope said – “and for the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins”.

Staying with the peacemaking theme, the Holy Father had strong words of preoccupation for the Holy Land where – he said – Israelis and Palestinians must “commit themselves to peaceful coexistence within the framework of two sovereign states”.

Benedict went on to mention Iraq, Lebanon, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the DRC, Mali, the Central African Republic and Nigeria which – he observed – is regularly the scene of terrorist attacks which reap victims above all among the Christian faithful
gathered in prayer.

The Pope also condemned “religious fanaticism” which he said is a falsification of religion itself since religion aims at reconciling men and women with God.

Looking also at signs of promise around the globe, the Pope said that peace building always comes about by the protection of human beings and their fundamental rights. Foremost among these – he stressed – “is respect for human life at every stage”, and in this regard he expressed gratification for a Council of Europe resolution calling for the prohibition of euthanasia.

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