The Italian Almanac

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Benedict XVI

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Pope Benedict XVI expressed "great shame" that violence had been used in the name of Christianity in the past. Addressing the 25th anniversary of an inter-religious peace conference in the town of Assisi, the pope said violence was common in the world today but it was disturbing to see religion a "cause of violence". Around 300 religious leaders including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus attended the conference to pray for peace in the city where Italy's patron saint St Francis once lived.

"It is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith," Benedict said in his address to the religious delegations. "We acknowledge it with great shame. But it is utterly clear that this was an abuse of the Christian faith, one that evidently contradicts its true nature". The day of prayer and reflection was held at the Basilica of Santa Maria Angeli in the town and pilgrims gathered to watch the event on large screens in the square outside the church.