VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI says peace in the Middle East is possible, urgently needed and the best way to stop the emigration of people from the region.
Benedict also said religious freedom in the Middle East should be expanded -- an issue that could be the subject of dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
Benedict celebrated Mass in St. Peter's on Sunday to mark the end of a two-week meeting of Mideast bishops, called to discuss the plight of Christians in the Middle East.
The exodus of the faithful from the birthplace of Christianity has been a major theme during the synod.
The Catholic church has long been a minority in the largely Muslim region but its presence is shrinking further as a result of conflict, discrimination and economic problems.
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