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Brave decisions for peace

· The Pope worried by the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians ·

He reminds the faithful that faith and reason are not in opposition and that to believe is reasonable

The time has come to “make brave decisions for peace” and “to put an end to a conflict” which is having negative repercussions throughout the Middle East,“troubled by too many clashes and in need of reconciliation”. The exhortation that Benedict XVI addressed to the Israeli and Palestinian authorities is clear: it is unrealistic to continue to think that the issues can be resolved with hatred and violence. It is necessary to have the courage to promote a dialogue based on sincere resolutions to reach definitive conclusions, to restore to the peoples of this

tormented region of the world hope in a future of peace. In the umpteenth appeal – which he made this morning, Wednesday, 21 November – as the Holy Father greeted the Italian pilgrims present, he did not fail to recall the responsibility which, in this context, the international community must assume. He therefore encouraged “the initiatives and efforts of all who are seeking to obtain a truce and to promote negotiations”. The Pope asked the faithful to pray for the victims and for all those who are suffering in that martyrized land.

Before his appeal Benedict XVI had continued to offer several thoughts to the faithful to accompany the celebration of this Year of Faith. He reflected on a concept that tends to recur in his magisterial teaching, namely: the reasonableness of faith. “Believing” he said, “is reasonable”. It is reasonable because “faith and reason are not in opposition, they are not in conflict”; on the contrary they are the necessary prerequisites for understanding the meaning and message of divine revelation. The Pope starts with a certainty: man is the centre of creation “not in order to exploit it foolishly, but to preserve it”. For this reason too it is reasonable to believe that if science enables faith to understand God's plan for the universe it is likewise true that faith, for its part, enables science “always to act for the good and truth of man, staying faithful to this very plan”. This is why “it is crucial for human beings to open themselves to faith and to know God and his plan of salvation in Jesus Christ”.

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