News coming from the Holy Land over the last few days is, said the Pope, "a cause of new and serious concern to everyone, especially for the increasing military activities in Lebanon and for the many victims among the civilian population. At the root of such pitiless contrasts there are, unfortunately, objective ... violations of rights and of justice. But neither terrorist acts or reprisals, especially when they have such tragic consequences on the civilian population, can be justified. Bitter experience shows that by following this path no positive results can be achieved.”
The Pope recalled that Sunday was the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel is a mountain in the Holy Land which, just a few kilometers from Lebanon, dominates the Israeli city of Haifa. Haifa itself has been attacked recently.
Earlier in the day, during a visit to the Carmelite monastery in nearby Quart, the Holy Father assured the solidarity of the whole church with the religious and lay of Haifa, which has suffered several missile attacks by Hezbollah.
"Let us pray to Mary Queen of Peace," said Benedict, "that she may implore from God the fundamental gift of harmony, bringing political leaders back to the way of reason and opening new possibilities of dialogue and understanding. With this in mind, I invite the local Churches to raise special prayers for peace in the Holy Land and in the entire Middle East."
After praying the Angelus with the faithful gathered in front of the house at Les Combes in Italy's Valle d'Aosta region which he is spending a brief holiday, Pope Benedict XVI called on people to pray for peace in the Holy Land and, in a special way, to pray for the intercession of Mary.