Pope during Angelus

Pope Benedict XVI appealed for peace in Syria and in Iraq. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father said that he continues, “[T]o follow with concern the growing and tragic episodes of violence in Syria,” where as many as 20 thousand people have perished in more than a year of increasingly intense civil strife. Pope Benedict also decried the large number of refugees and internally displaced persons the conflict has caused to be driven from their homes. The Pope went on to ask that all those thus affected be ensured the necessary humanitarian assistance. After promising his continued prayer and spiritual closeness to all those suffering as a result of the conflict, Pope Benedict added an urgent call, “for an end to all violence and bloodshed,” and that, in the broader community of nations, “no effort be spared in the quest for peace, through dialogue and reconciliation, for the proper political settlement of the conflict.”
The Holy Father also had prayerful thoughts for Iraq, where a series of deadly attacks took place in across the country last week, including coordinated bombings and terror strikes that claimed the lives of more than 100 people and wounded more than 200 on a single day. The Holy Father prayed, “That this great country find once again the path toward stability, reconciliation and peace.”