Rome, Dec 26 (IANS) Pope Benedict XVI, in his Christmas message, called for ending the violence in Syria and urged for showing greater respect for religious communities in China, which does not allow Catholics to respect papal authority.
Addressing thousands of people gathered on Saint Peter's Square and millions of Catholics watching and listening to the speech on TV and radio, the 85-year-old pontiff said people should never give up hope for peace, RIA Novosti reported.
"May peace spring up for the people of Syria, deeply wounded and divided by a conflict which does not spare even the defenceless and reaps innocent victims," the pontiff said in his traditional Urbi et Orbi (to the City of Rome and to the World) speech.
"Once again I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict," he said from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica.
He also called on Christmas Day for Israelis and Palestinians to find the "courage to end long years of conflict and division", The Guardian reported.
Pope condemned terrorist attacks in Mali, Nigeria and Kenya, violence in DR Congo and expressed his support for migrants from Latin American states.
He hoped the countries undergoing change following the Arab spring, "especially the beloved land of Egypt, blessed by the childhood of Jesus", would work to build societies "founded on justice and respect for the freedom and dignity of every person".
Summing up his speech, the pontiff said: "May every land become a good earth which receives and brings forth kindness and truth, justice and peace."