After praying the Angelus with the faithful gathered in front of the house at Les Combes in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta region which he is spending a brief holiday, the Pope called on people to pray for peace in the Holy Land.

News coming from the Holy Land over the last few days is, said the Holy Father, “a cause of new and serious concern to everyone, especially for the increasing military activities in Lebanon and for the many victims among the civilian population. At the root of such pitiless contrasts there are, unfortunately, objective … violations of rights and of justice. But neither terrorist acts or reprisals, especially when they have such tragic consequences on the civilian population, can be justified. Bitter experience shows that by following this path no positive results can be achieved.

“Today,” he added, “is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, a mountain in the Holy Land which, just a few kilometers from Lebanon, dominates the Israeli city of Haifa, also recently attacked.

“Let us pray to Mary Queen of Peace,” said Benedict XVI, “that she may implore from God the fundamental gift of harmony, bringing political leaders back to the way of reason and opening new possibilities of dialogue and understanding. With this in mind, I invite the local Churches to raise special prayers for peace in the Holy Land and in the entire Middle East.”

Going on to address the faithful in various languages, the Pope expressed the hope that the summer “may be a stimulus to recover the interior calm that enables us to discover with greater clarity the beauty of the many gifts we have received from God through nature, and to contemplate them in the family and with others in a spirit of friendship.”

In closing, the Pope greeted Italian-speaking individuals and groups, especially participants in a training course organized by the Italian Episcopal Conference for animators of pastoral care in families: “Whilst the memory of the World Meeting of Families recently held in Valencia, Spain, remains fresh, I renew my encouragement to Christian families that they may know how to live and transmit the joy of the faith to the new generations.”

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