VATICAN CITY — Lasagna, veal and cake were on the menu Sunday as Pope Benedict XVI invited about 250 poor people to join him for a post-Christmas lunch and denounced as "absurd" new attacks on the faithful around the globe.
Joining the pope and his guests were some 250 nuns, seminarians and priests of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity order, which runs soup kitchens around Rome.
Last year, Benedict traveled to a Rome soup kitchen to join the poor but this year's meal was held inside the Vatican's main audience hall.
Before the meal, Benedict delivered his traditional Sunday blessing from his studio window, denouncing Christmas Day attacks on the faithful in the Philippines and Nigeria and a suicide bombing in Pakistan that killed 45 people at an aid center.
"Once again, the earth is stained by blood," he lamented.