Vatican: 100,000 attend Syria peace vigil


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ABSTRACTNews from The Associated Press Big Story Top News Headlines U.S. World Business Markets Technology Sports Entertainment Health Science Politics Special Coverage NFL College Football College Basketball Auto Racing Oddities Weather Raw News Today In History Corrections Archive ESPAÑOL Generales Financieras Deportivas Espectáculos Video Sep 7, 7:37 PM EDT Vatican: 100,000 attend Syria peace vigil By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca World Video Multimedia Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Mass in New York Pope Benedict XVI makes first trip to the U.S. Documents Maps of the pope's route in Washington, D.C. Latest News Vatican: 100,000 attend Syria peace vigil Dominican church: Envoy not accused of sex abuse Vatican abruptly ousts Dominican Republic envoy WJC: Pope getting involved in Poland kosher law Pope announces day of fasting for peace for Syria Multimedia Mass. Catholics hold vigil in endangered churches Convent shuts after helping generations 'overcome' Inside a Voodoo Gede ceremony Religion News Vatican: 100,000 attend Syria peace vigil Dominican church: Envoy not accused of sex abuse Myanmar sentences Muslim man to 7 years in prison Vatican abruptly ousts Dominican Republic envoy For Venezuelan Jews, a new home for Rosh Hashanah Israelis celebrate Jewish New Year, amid turmoil Religion news in brief WJC: Pope getting involved in Poland kosher law Pope announces day of fasting for peace for Syria Measles cases put Texas megachurch under scrutiny Documents Indictment of Monzer al-Kassar Latest Syria News Activists: Syrian rebels take Christian village Lingering doubts over Syria gas attack evidence Iraqi officials, militants warn of threat to US The growth and decline of the Aramaic language A look at Syria developments around the world Buy AP Photo Reprints VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Tens of thousands of people filled St. Peter's Square for a four-hour Syria peace vigil late Saturday, answering Pope Francis' call for a grassroots cry for peace that was echoed by Christians and non-Christians alike in Syria and in vigils around the world. The Vatican estimated about 100,000 took part in the Rome event, making it one of the largest rallies in the West against proposed U.S.-led military action against the Syrian regime following the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus. Francis spent most of the vigil in silent prayer, but during his speech he issued a heartfelt plea for peace, denouncing those who are "captivated by the idols of dominion and power" and destroy God's creation through war. "This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: Violence and war are never the way to peace!" he said. "May the noise of weapons cease!" he said. "War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity." In Damascus, a few dozen Syrian Christians attended a service in the al-Zaytoun Church, joining Francis' invitation for a global participation in the day of fasting and prayer and to oppose outside military intervention in the conflict. Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham of Antioch and All East presided, saying most countries supported a political solution to the crisis in Syria and few wanted military action. "This is the start of the victory," he told the Damascus faithful. "No to war. Yes for peace." In Washington, at least 150 protesters picketed in front of the White House and marched to Capitol Hill to voice their opposition to a U.S. military strike in Syria. Anti-war protests were also held in other U.S. cities, including one in New York City's Times Squares and a prayer vigil in Boston that echoed Saturday's massive gathering at the Vatican. Medea Benjamin, a founder of the anti-war group Code Pink, said a cross-section of Americans, many of whom disagree on a variety of issues, are united against military intervention. "We have suddenly found ourselves united as Americans, overwhelmingly saying we will not let you drag us into another.......