Pope prays for 'gift of peace' in New Year message

Pope Benedict XVI prayed for world peace, condemning the inequality between rich and poor and "unregulated financial capitalism" at a New Year's mass in St Peter's Basilica on Tuesday.

The pope spoke of "hotbeds of tension and confrontation caused by the growing inequality between rich and poor and the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mentality also expressed by unregulated financial capitalism."

But he added that humanity had "an innate vocation for peace" and prayed for "the gift of peace" this year, quoting a Biblical passage saying: "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God."

The Roman Catholic Church celebrates New Year's Day as World Peace Day.

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