Pope calls for halt in Middle East violence

Pope Benedict XVI called Sunday for a halt to violence in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, saying he was hugely saddened by the pain inflicted on the populations and appealing for dialogue. Speaking of the past days' violence in Lebanon, the pope said that "it is unacceptable that one should take this path to affirm one's political reasons." "I feel immense pain for that dear population," the pontiff told the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Benedict also appealed for the cessation of violence in the Gaza strip "as soon as possible" and called on all involved to "work together for the common good."