Benedict XVI Appeals for Release of Kidnapped Italian

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 5, 2005 ( Benedict XVI appealed for the release of a volunteer of CARE International, an Italian, held hostage in Afghanistan.

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Clementina Cantoni, 32, was kidnapped by four gunmen in the Afghan capital of Kabul on May 16.

After praying the Angelus today with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said he is adding his voice to that of Italian and Afghan leaders and citizens demanding freedom for the volunteer who dedicated her time to assisting Afghan widows.

“May the painful experience our sister is going through serve as stimulus to seek with all means the peaceful and fraternal understanding between individuals and nations,” the Holy Father said.

Attempts have failed to obtain the young woman’s release. Her abduction is a cause of particular concern for the close to 2,000 foreigners present in Kabul.

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