Pope Calls for Diplomacy in Middle East

Pope Benedict XVI incorporated Mideast violence into his Easter Sunday sermon, urging an end to fighting and calling for diplomacy in Libya and throughout the region. In his “Urbi et Orbi” message from the central balcony of Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope prayed for warring nations to become societies where "every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person." Benedict weighed in on Europe’s conflict over whether to accept or deport refugees from Libya and elsewhere in northern Africa, calling on everyone to “open their hearts to welcome them." Not just focusing on the Middle East, the pope also led prayers for the Ivory Coast and Japan. Benedict will return to the square on May 1 to beatify his predecessor, Pope John Paul II—an event that is expected to attract double the people who turned out for Easter Sunday Mass.