Pope Benedict XVI delivers his “Urbi et Orbi" (to the City and to the World) message Tuesday from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican
Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to the slaughter in Syria and for more meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, while encouraging more religious freedom under China’s new leaders.
Benedict also encouraged Arab spring nations, especially Egypt, to build just and respectful societies.
The pope prayed that China’s new leadership may “esteem the contribution of the religions, in respect for each other" to help build a “fraternal society for the benefit of that noble people."
It was a clear reference to the Chinese government’s often harsh treatment of Catholics loyal to the pontiff instead of to the state-sanctioned church. Earlier this month, the Vatican refused to accept the decision by Chinese authorities to revoke the title of a Shanghai bishop, who had been appointed in a rare show of consensus between the Holy See and China.