Pope: Mideast Peace Is Urgently Needed

Pope: Mideast Peace Is Urgently NeededVatican, Oct 25. -Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday and said that peace in the Middle East is possible, urgently needed and the best remedy to the exodus of Christians from the region.

He dealt with the issue in his Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to mark the end of a two-week meeting of Mideast bishops, called to discuss the future of embattled Christians in the largely Muslim region.

"Peace is possible. Peace is urgent," Benedict said in his homily. "Peace is also the best remedy to avoid the emigration from the Middle East."

The exodus of the faithful from the birthplace of Christianity has been a major theme of the meeting, which gathered about 185 bishops from Latin and Eastern rite Catholic churches across the region and from the diaspora. In addition, two imams and a rabbi were invited to address the synod.

In their final communique issued Saturday, the bishops demanded that Israel accept U.N. resolutions calling for an end to its "occupation" of Arab lands, and told Israel it shouldn't use the Bible to justify "injustices" against the Palestinians.

While the bishops condemned terrorism and anti-Semitism, they laid much of the blame for the conflict squarely on Israel.

They listed the "occupation" of Palestinian lands, Israel's separation barrier with the West Bank, its military checkpoints, political prisoners, demolition of homes and disturbance of Palestinians' socio-economic lives as factors that have made life increasingly difficult for Palestinians. (Prensa Latina)