1. CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

    Pope Pleads for Peace in Syria

    Pope Benedict XVI delivers his traditional Christmas "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on December 25, 2012.  AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO        (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

    Vincenzo Pinto/AFP, via Getty

    In his annual Christmas message, Pope Benedict XVI made a plea for an end to the violence in Syria. “I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for relief of refugees and the displaced,” he said, condemning the crisis as “a conflict that does not spare even the defenseless and reaps innocent victims.” He prayed for peace in Nigeria, denouncing the “savage acts of terrorism” targeting Christians there. During his Christmas Eve mass, the pope encouraged all to “find time and room for God in their fast-paced lives.”

    Read it at BBC