Yesterday, (Sunday) Pope John Paul II called on leaders of the world's religions, particularly Christians and Muslims, to travel to the birthplace of St Francis, in January to pray for peace. Speaking to pilgrims from his study window overlooking St Peter's Square in Rome, the Pope said, at this moment in history the world needs gestures of peace and needs to hear words of hope. The Pope also called on the world's one billion Catholics to fast on 14 December, which, he pointed out, coincides with the month when Muslims around the world are also carrying out their annual Ramadan fast. During the current international crisis, the Pope has usually avoided making specific references to the war in Afghanistan. But, yesterday he expressed his sympathy both for the victims of the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September, and for Afghans, particularly women, children and old people, forced to abandon their homes because of the bombing. source: Vatican
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