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Pope condemns Tel-Aviv bombing


Benedict XVI has expressed his "firmest condemnation" of Monday's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv praying that relations between Israelis and Palestinians would not take a "tragic turn".

Catholic News Agency reports that the pope made the comments at the end of his weekly general audience, which fell on the first anniversary of his election as pontiff.

The pope said that even the "legitimate" rights of the Palestinians could not justify such attacks. The attack on a crowded fast food restaurant - said to be the deadliest in 20 months - killed nine people.

He says he is continually praying that the two sides will make substantial efforts to "live in peace and security, one next to the other, as children of the same father in heaven."

Also at yesterday's general audience, the pope asked people for their continued prayers on his first anniversary as pope.

"How time flies," the pope told the 50,000 faithful who packed St Peter's Square as he recalled that exactly one year ago the College of Cardinals elected him to succeed the much-loved and "the great pope, John Paul II."

He said he was still moved by the memory of appearing at the central window of St Peter's Basilica right after his election to the cheers of nearly 100,000 people jammed into the square.

He said the grace of God and the prayers and help of all people, near and far, have given him the strength to accomplish a mission that "alone I could never carry out."

The pope said seeing the large presence of pilgrims at his public appearances gives him the feeling that the faithful are there with him, helping him. Their presence shows "I am in great communion (with you), and together we can carry forward the Lord's mission," he said.

Statistics released this week show that over four million people have attended his public events in the first year of his pontificate.

In his general audience, the pope called on people to keep living the joy of the Easter season and to proclaim the good news to all corners of the earth.

He said that the faithful must aim for higher, celestial things, not for earthly gains. This does not mean a person should ignore daily tasks or avoid reality, he said, it means people can "perk up" human activity with the "breath" of the divine.


SOURCE
Pope Benedict firmly condemns Tel-Aviv bombing (Catholic News Agency 19/4/06)

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20 Apr 2006