Pope hopes for 2013 of peace, slams unbridled capitalism

Tue Jan 1, 2013 7:21am EST
 
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said in his New Year's message on Tuesday he hoped 2013 would be a year of peace and that the world was under threat from unbridled capitalism, terrorism and criminality.

The 85-year-old pope rang in the new year with a mass for about 10,000 people in St Peter's Basilica on the day the Roman Catholic Church marks its World Day of Peace with initiatives around the world.

He also spoke of peace after the mass, addressing tens of thousands of people who had followed the service from outside in St Peter's Square.

"A new year is like a trip. With the light and the grace of God, may it be the start of a path to peace for every person, every family, every country and for the entire world," he said from his window overlooking the square.

He thanked the world's peacemakers, saying they deserve praise for working, often behind the scenes, tirelessly, thanklessly and armed only "with the weapons of prayer and forgiveness".

Peace marchers carrying rainbow banners released blue balloons in a sunny but cold St Peter's Square as the pope spoke.

Earlier in his homily, the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics decried "hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor".

He also denounced "the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated capitalism, various forms of terrorism and criminality".   Continued...

 
Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leaves after leading a mass at Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican January 1, 2013. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito