VATICAN, Dec 5, 01 (CWNews.com) - At his regular public
audience on Wednesday, Pope John Paul II condemned the
"useless spiral of death" in the Holy Land, and called for
an immediate end to the "absurd violence" there.

After delivering his regular catechetical address-- a
meditation on Psalm 117-- the Pope told the 10,000 people
who had assembled in St. Peter's Square that he felt
"profound sorrow for the new victims" of the conflict that
"continues to bloody the region of the Middle East." He
made the same appeal for peace in several different
languages, urging international leaders to work "with ever
greater determination and courage" to renew negotiations
toward an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

In his meditation, the Holy Father had observed that the
chanting of Psalm 117 is part of Jewish liturgical rituals.
It is a hymn of joy and victory, he observed, and the text
points toward the coming of Christ and particularly to the
triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.