Pope Benedict XVI passionately called for peace in the Holy Land during his annual Christmas message, delivered from the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica. “The horizon seems once again bleak for Israelis and Palestinians,” he said, praying for hope against war, terrorism, and injustice. He also appealed for an end to clashes throughout the Middle East and Africa, the Voice of America reports.
Benedict closed the grim sermon with Christmas greetings for the world, sent in 64 different languages. The Middle East also factored prominently during midnight mass, as did the plight of abused youth. He asked the faithful to help “street children who do not have the blessing of a family home,” and remarked on kids who are exploited as soldiers or in pornography.