Journalists asked the Holy Father today, after a meeting with priests, religious and deacons of the Diocese of Val d'Aosta, where is on vacation, if the attacks could be considered "bombs against Christianity."

"I think that on the whole they are responding to a more general intention, and are not specifically against Christianity," he said.

Asked if Islam can be regarded as a "religion of peace," Benedict XVI responded: "I wouldn't like to generalize. It certainly has elements that could make peace prevail; it also has other elements."

"We must always try to identify the best elements," he said.