Pope calls for 'stable peace' in Middle East

Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict XVI  repeated calls for peace in the Middle East and again voiced concerns about the plight of the region's Christians in a meeting with members of Eastern churches Friday, Vatican Radio reported.

"We all wish the Holy Land, Iraq and the Middle East, the gift of a stable peace and a solid coexistence," he said.

"These are born of respect for human rights, families, communities and peoples, and the overcoming of religious, cultural or social discrimination," added the Pope during a discussion held in with the Meeting of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches.

"I encourage brothers and sisters in the East to share the priceless gift of Baptism to persevere in faith, and despite the many sacrifices to remain where they were born," said the Pope, alluding to the difficulties facing minority Christians in the region.

"I would like to pay special tribute to Christians who suffer violence because of the Gospel, and I commend them to the Lord. I am still counting on the Leaders of Nations to concretely guarantee, everywhere and without distinction, the public and common profession of the religious belief of each individual," said the Pope, without referring to a specific country.

In a working paper distributed during a trip to Cyprus in early June ahead of a Synod of Middle Eastern bishops set for October in the Vatican, the Pope said the disappearance of Christians "would impoverish the pluralism that has always characterised the Middle East".

Source: VIS

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