On first Easter Mass, Pope Benedict calls for peace in Iraq, Holy Land, resolution of nuclear crises

.- As Pope Benedict XVI yesterday celebrated his first Easter Mass since becoming pontiff last year, he called for a peaceful resolution to the Iraq war and also for what he called, an “honorable solution” to the world’s growing nuclear standoffs.

Following Mass in St. Peter’s Square, attended by some 150,000 pilgrims, the Holy Father said that “Concerning the international crises linked to nuclear power, may an honorable solution be found for all parties through serious and honest negotiations.”

Although the Pope’s comment was not connected to any specific country, many saw a clear reference to the growing nuclear standoff with Iran. The country has argued recently that it seeks nuclear power for energy reasons, but some western nations fear the technology could be used on weapons building.

Speaking on the conflict in Iraq, the Holy Father was greeted by thunderous applause when he prayed for “peace [to] finally prevail over the tragic violence that continues mercilessly to claim victims.”

Likewise, Benedict said that he also prays “sincerely that those caught up in the conflict in the Holy Land may find peace, and I invite all to patient and persevering dialogue, so as to remove both ancient and new obstacles.”

He added his hope that “the international community, which reaffirms Israel’s just right to exist in peace, assist the Palestinian people to overcome the precarious conditions in which they live and to build their future, moving toward the constitution of a state which is truly their own.”


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