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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 December, 2004, 12:10 GMT
Cardinal calls for Mid East peace
Archbishop of Westminster
The Cardinal called for an end to poverty around the world
The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has criticised the war in Iraq at a midnight Mass.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor told a congregation of 2,000 that more needed to be done to achieve peace in the country and across the Middle East.

He said it was a "terrible thing" that billions of pounds spent on conflict could have helped ease suffering.

The cardinal has told BBC News he believes 2005 should be the year for campaigning to end poverty.

'Poor and deprived'

Speaking at Westminster Cathedral, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said: "How is it that peace has not arrived?

"How is it that there is war in Iraq, violence in the Holy Land, and the horror of pain and death amongst the poor and deprived who suffer from injustice and thus do not find peace?"

He questioned how it was possible to wish fellow Christians a happy Christmas "unless you and I, in whatever way is open to us, say and do what makes for peace".

Speaking on the theme on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day on Christmas Eve he said 2005 should be the year to campaign to end poverty.

The cardinal added: "If the governments of the rich countries were as ready to devote to peace the resources they are willing to commit to war, that would be to see with new eyes and speak with a new voice and perhaps then others would listen to us with new ears."

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