January 31, 2011.
Flanked by two Roman children, Benedict XVI prayed the angelus and called for world peace, before setting a flock of doves free into the wind. Much to his surprise, the doves took a U-turn, a metaphor for just how difficult it is to solidify peace, espeically in the Middle East.
“Today coincides with the
'International Day of Intercession for Peace in the Holy Land'.
Together with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Custodian of
the Holy Land, I invite everyone to pray to the Lord that he bring
minds and hearts together in concrete peace projects.”
commemoration of World Leprosy Day, the Pope paid a special tribute
to those suffering from
the disease and their
“Although leprosy is disappearing,
it unfortunately continues to affect many who live in severe poverty
situations. I assure all the sick a special prayer, which I extend to
those who care for them and who in various ways work to eliminate
present in some of
the poorest regions of the globe. Each day there are at least 700 new
cases. Though it is a curable disease, it's
important to diagnose on time to avoid irreversable lesions.
Vatican has denounced the discrimination of those infected with the
disease. Even those who have been cured of
leprosy, and are no longer contagious, are marginalized out of fear.
Catholic Church is one of the most active institutions battling the
disease. It operates
529 leprosy clinics across
the world, the majority of which are in Asia.