Europe needs hope in difficult times, says Pope
Pope Benedict XVI says Italy and Europe need hope in these difficult times.
He wore a crimson, fur-trimmed cape as he maintained holiday tradition to pray near a statue of the Virgin Mary on Rome's Spanish Steps yesterday.
The annual December 8 appointment kicks off Rome's festive season.
A few thousand Romans and tourists turned out to hear him speak, with many interrupting their own shopping, on this Italian holiday.
Benedict said the faithful should pray to Mary for encouragement and hope.
He said people needed hope, "above all in this very difficult moment" for Italy, Europe and elsewhere in the world.
He appeared to be referring to the economic crisis gripping much of the west.