Pope Prays for Afghan Troops and Civilians

After praying the Angelus on Sept. 20, Pope Benedict XVI offered his prayers for civilians caught in the world’s conflicts and foreign troops working to promote peace and development. Speaking from the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI said that he was deeply saddened to hear of the roadside bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed 10 Afghan civilians and six Italian soldiers on Sept. 17.

The deaths and injuries resulting from violence around the world “are facts we can never grow accustomed to and that incur strong reprimand and dismay in communities that hold peace and civil coexistence close to heart,” the pope said. While he had special prayers for the families of the Italian casualities, the pope said he was also pained by the deaths of members of other international contingents “who work to promote peace and the development of institutions necessary for human coexistence.”

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Pope Benedict said he prayed to God “with a special thought for the dear civilian population,” and he appealed to all parties to oppose “the logic of violence and death by fostering justice, reconciliation and peace and supporting the development of people, starting with love and mutual understanding.” The pope also sent a telegram that was read during the state funeral for the six Italian soldiers at St. Paul’s Outside the Walls on Sept. 21.

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