Pope Benedict XVI prays for Middle East peace

(JTA) – Pope Benedict XVI prayed for peace in the Middle East during his Christmas Eve mass at the Vatican.

“Let us pray that Israelis and Palestinians may be able to live their lives in the peace of the one God and in freedom,” he said in his homily. “Let us also pray for the countries of the region, for Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and their neighbors: that there may be peace there, that Christians in those lands where our faith was born may be able to continue living there, that Christians and Muslims may build up their countries side by side in God’s peace.”

Looking tired, the 85-year-old pope prayed that God be taken into people’s lives. But he also warned against abuse of religious belief.

 “It is true that religion can become corrupted and hence opposed to its deepest essence, when people think they have to take God’s cause into their own hands, making God into their private property,” he said.


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