Pope Hails Easter Conversions

Benedict XVI demands end to conflicts in Tibet, Middle East
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Mar 23, 2008 1:27 PM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI greets the faithful as he celebrates mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
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(Newser) – Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Easter Mass today, hailing the miracle of conversion, "which renews itself even today" before a rain-soaked crowd in St. Peter's Square and calling for an end to hostilities in "Darfur and Somalia, the tormented Middle East, especially the Holy Land, Iraq, Lebanon, and Tibet." His address followed the controversial baptism of a high-profile Muslim journalist, BBC reports.

Magdi Allam, a director of Italy's top newspaper and a supporter of Israel, was baptized yesterday on the sly with other traditional Easter eve adult converts—to the greater disapproval of his Muslim critics. Meanwhile, Easter celebrations in the Holy Land were less benign: Security in Jerusalem was bumped up to ward off a possible Hezbollah attack, the AP reports.