VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday condemned religious intolerance, especially against Christians, and pressed world leaders to do their parts to promote peace.
Benedict urged Christians in his homily during New Year's Mass in St. Peter's Basilica "not to give in to dismay and resignation" in the face of discrimination. His words echo recent comments in which he called a lack of religious freedom a threat to world security.
The Catholic church dedicates New Year's Day to world peace.
Hours before the pope spoke, a bomb blast outside a Coptic Christian church in Egypt killed at least 21 people. Suspicion has fallen on al-Qaida, which has also been blamed for a wave of terror against Iraqi Christians.