BEIRUT, Lebanon, SEPT. 16, 2012 ( Benedict XVI made a strong appeal for peace in Syria and the Middle East today, just as he entrusted to the people of the region his own reflections on the necessary steps to bring an end to the conflicts.

The Pope focused a brief address before praying the midday Angelus on the problems in Syria and neighboring countries, asking Our Lady for the gift of peace. He offered this prayer just after he had celebrated a large open-air Mass in Beirut and officially presented the postsynodal apostolic exhortation on the Middle East.

"You know all too well the tragedy of the conflicts and the violence which generates so much suffering," he said. "Sadly, the din of weapons continues to make itself heard, along with the cry of the widow and the orphan. Violence and hatred invade people’s lives, and the first victims are women and children. Why so much horror? Why so many dead? I appeal to the international community! I appeal to the Arab countries that, as brothers, they might propose workable solutions respecting the dignity, the rights and the religion of every human person!"

The Holy Father said that those "who wish to build peace must cease to see in the other an evil to be eliminated."

"It is not easy to see in the other a person to be respected and loved, and yet this is necessary if peace is to be built, if fraternity is desired," he continued. "May God grant to your country, to Syria and to the Middle East the gift of peaceful hearts, the silencing of weapons and the cessation of all violence! May men understand that they are all brothers!"

--- --- ---

On ZENIT's Web page:

Full text: