Pope Commends Terrorists to Cloister's Prayers

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INTROD, Italy, JULY 21, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has appealed to a convent of cloistered nuns to pray for the conversion of terrorists.

The Holy Father visited the Carmelites of Quart on Saturday. The convent, which was inaugurated by Pope John Paul II in 1989, is located near Les Combes, the Italian Alpine resort where the Pope is vacationing.

According to Sister Maria, one of the 10 Carmelites of the community, the Holy Father said, "Pray also for the terrorists, as they do not know that not only do they harm their neighbor, but above all they harm themselves."

Concerned about what is happening in the Holy Land, Benedict XVI added: "Now we experience a worsening of the conflict in Lebanon, but also in many other parts of the world there are people suffering because of hunger and violence."

"Contemplative life, rich in charity opens heaven to humanity, which so needs it, as today in the world it is as if God did not exist. And where God is not, there is violence and terrorism," the Pope said.

Sister Maria told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that the Pontiff also expressed his concern over the continuous emigration of Christians from the Holy Land.

Benedict XVI has convoked a Day of Prayer and Penance on Sunday for peace in the Middle East.