Pope Benedict XVI delivering his traditional Christmas Day blessing “Urbi et Orbi” (To the City and the World) message from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica today called for peace in Nigeria, Mali and Syria.
The 85-year-old Pontiff read his message to tens of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square and to millions of others watching around the world. Delivering Christmas greetings in 65 languages, Benedict used the Biblical analogy of the “good soil” to underscore his view that the hope represented by Christmas should never die, even in the direst situations.
“Yes, may peace spring up for the people of Syria, deeply wounded and divided by a conflict which does not spare even the defenseless and reaps innocent victims…
“Once again 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.
“May the birth of Christ favour the return of peace in Mali and that of concord in Nigeria, where savage acts of terrorism continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians…”