Monday, July 23, 2007

Pope calls for peace to make "heaven" on earth
Sun Jul 22, 6:57 AM ET

Pope Benedict made an appeal for peace on Sunday, saying nations should halt bloody conflicts around the world to create a heaven on earth.

Addressing the faithful at his mountain retreat in the Italian Dolomites, the Pope said his summer holiday made him particularly sensitive to the suffering caused by war.

"In these days of rest ... I feel even more intensely the painful impact of the news I receive about bloody conflicts and violent events happening in so many parts of the world," he told worshippers gathered in the sunny mountain valley town.

"The beauty of nature reminds us that we were instructed by God to cultivate and keep this garden that is the earth. If men lived in peace with God and with each other, the earth really would look like a 'heaven'."

The Pontiff quoted Benedict XV, pope during World War I, who in 1917 called that global conflict a "pointless carnage."

"Those words, 'pointless carnage', have a wider, prophetic value and can be applied to many other conflicts which have cut short so many human lives." He did not refer explicitly to any current conflict.

The Pope prayed for peace and made a plea for people to "refuse with determination the race for arms and, more generally, to reject the temptation to deal with new situations with old systems."

The 80-year-old Pope is due to return to the Vatican at the end of this month after his spell in the mountains.

Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited.

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