Pope Benedict adds Arabic to weekly Vatican address
The introduction of a sixth language is to express support for Christians in the Middle East, officials said.
The Vatican said Arabic was also introduced to remind all faiths to pray for peace in the region.
At the weekly papal audience which draws pilgrims from many countries, a priest read a summary of the Pope’s address in Arabic for the first time, joining other briefs in French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Slovak, Czech, Polish, Hungarian and Russian.
Vatican officials said that they hoped the use of Arabic during the event, broadcast live on television and radio throughout the world, would send a comforting word to Arab Christians in the Middle East, home to many Christian holy places.
A Pakistani-born UK tourist said he thought the move was a good idea.
“Everybody has a lot of respect for the Pope, irrespective of what religion you follow or what language you follow. But, still, I think it will be a very good idea,” Khalid Hussain told the Associated Press news agency. [more]