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Pope appeals for end to bloodshed in Gaza

 After praying the Angelus yesterday with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square, Benedict XVI told the faithful that he was following, with "great concern, ... news of the grave deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip." He also expressed his "closeness to the civilian populations suffering the consequences of acts of violence. "I ask you," he added, "to join me in prayer to the Almighty and Merciful God that He may enlighten the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, as well as those of nations with a particular responsibility in the region, ensuring they make every effort to put an end to bloodshed, increase humanitarian aid initiatives and favour the immediate resumption of direct and serious negotiations." The Holy Father then went on to address Polish pilgrims, recalling that on November 4, "we celebrated the feast of St Charles Borromeo; an anniversary that invites us to associate the great reformer of the Church after the Council of Trent with the great implementer of the dispositions of Vatican Council II, John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla. To the Mother of God, I entrust the entire community of faithful, to whom these two pastors dedicated their lives." Source: VIS