BETHLEHEM (West Bank) – CHRISTIANS around the world celebrated Christmas on Tuesday as the Catholic leader in the Holy Land pleaded for peace in the Middle East and Pope Benedict XVI spoke against selfishness.

In Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah said in a sermon for Christmas midnight mass: ‘This land of God cannot be for some a land of life and for others a land of death, exclusion, occupation, or political imprisonment.’

‘All those whom God, the lord of history, has gathered here must be able to find in this land life, dignity and security,’ he said, addressing thousands of Christians from all over the world in a sermon delivered in his native Arabic.

Christians celebrate Christmas as leaders urge peace (, 26 Dec 07)