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Pope Benedict XVI prays in Arabic for first time

Published on Oct 10, 2012 7:26 PM
Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead the general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Oct 10, 2012. Arabic made its debut as one of the official languages at Pope Benedict's weekly general audiences on Wednesday as part of a Vatican attempt to reach out more to both Christians and Muslims in the Middle East.  --PHOTO: REUTERS

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday pronounced a blessing in Arabic at his weekly audience in front of 20,000 pilgrims on St Peter's Square - the first time the language has been used at such an event.

"The Pope prays for all Arabic speakers. May God bless you all!" the Pope said in Arabic at the audience, after a bishop read out an Arabic translation of the Pope's comments praising the results of the Second Vatican Council.

The landmark Council, which began 50 years ago this week, is a "compass" for the Catholic Church "in the middle of the storms", the Pope said.

As a young reformer, the then Joseph Ratzinger took part in the Council, better known as Vatican II, which revolutionised Catholic rituals.

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