Pope Urges Terrorists to Abandon Violence

Says a New Path Is Possible With God

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is urging those involved in violence of any kind to stop and reflect and thus embark on a path of peace.

The Pope made this exhortation today before praying the first midday Angelus of the year with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Father acknowledged that for those involved in violent groups, a change of life might seem impossible. But, he assured, God can make it happen.

The Pontiff’s brief Angelus message focused both on the New Year begun today and the path of peace, as Jan. 1 marks the World Day of Peace. The theme for this year’s World Day celebration highlighted the importance of protecting the environment.

«To all of you I express my wish that the year just begun will be a time in which, with the help of the Lord, we can find Christ and the will of God and thus as well improve our common home, which is the world,» he said.

Regarding the issues of climate change and the disappearance of resources, the Holy Father affirmed that global action is urgently necessary.

But, he continued, «I would like to highlight the importance that each one’s decisions have in defending the environment — the decisions of families and local administrations.»

«‘We can no longer do without a real change of outlook which will result in new lifestyles,'» he said, citing his World Day of Peace Message. «In reality, all of us are responsible for the protection and care of the created world. Therefore, in this field too, education is fundamental.»

The Bishop of Rome continued: «If we should care for the creatures that surround us, what consideration we should have for people, our brothers and sisters! What respect for human life! On the first day of the year, I would like to call out to the consciences of those who form part of armed groups of any kind.

«To each and every one, I say: Stop, reflect and abandon the path of violence! At first, this step could seem impossible to you, but if you have the courage to do it, God will help you, and you will feel return to your hearts joy and peace, which perhaps you’ve forgotten for a long time now. I entrust this call to the intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary.»

Finally, the Holy Father reflected on the Christmas message, as the octave draws to a close.

«Today, the liturgy reminds us that eight days after the birth of the Child, [Mary] and her husband Joseph brought him to be circumcised, according to the Law of Moses, and gave him the name Jesus, which had been given him by the angel,» the Pope recalled. «This name, which means ‘God saves,’ is the fulfillment of the revelation of God. Jesus is the face of God. He is the blessing for each person and for all populations. He is the peace of the world.

«Thank you, Holy Mother, who gave birth to the Savior, the Prince of Peace!»

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text of Angelus address: www.zenit.org/article-27961?l=English

On the Net:

World Day of Peace message: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20091208_xliii-world-day-peace_en.html

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