Pope appeals for regional peace in audience with new Lebanese cardinal

Pope Benedict XVI has launched his latest appeal for peace in Syria and the Middle East during an audience with Lebanon's new cardinal.

Benedict also sought to encourage minority Christians in the region, urging them to not be tempted to flee their traditional homelands and calling for them to be allowed to "live their faith freely."

Benedict directed his words in French towards Bechara Boutros Rai, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites in Lebanon, one of the six cardinals he elevated Saturday.

Benedict, who visited Lebanon in September, said the church wanted to encourage all peace efforts in the Middle East, "a peace that can only be effective if it's based on an authentic respect for others."

The new cardinals and their families had a private audience with Benedict Monday.