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UPDATE 2-Stop war in Syria before it becomes "field of ruins" -pope

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* Pope makes comments in yearly "state of the world" address

* Condemns "terrorist attacks" against Christians in Nigeria

* Links global economic crisis to "absolute" profit motive

(Adds elements from speech, context)

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict urged the
world on Monday to end what he called the endless slaughter in
Syria before the entire country becomes a "a field of ruins".

Speaking in his yearly "state of the world" address to
diplomats from nearly 180 countries and global organisations,
Benedict also condemned "terrorist attacks" against Christians
in Nigeria and violence in Mali, where Islamist rebels in the
north are seeking to erase a more moderate religious tradition.

The 85-year-old leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics said
there was no justification for "baneful religious fanaticism"
that had turned places of worship into places of trepidation.

He also said the global economic crisis was caused in part
by an absolutist view of profit and denounced moves in some
countries to decriminalise abortion.

But in his virtual tour of world hot spots, he reserved his
toughest words for the civil war in Syria, where the United
Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people have been killed
in a 21-month-old conflict that shows no signs of a let-up.

Syria is bring "torn apart by endless slaughter and (is) the
scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population," he
said. The pope called for an "end to a conflict which will know
no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind
it nothing but a field of ruins".

Benedict urged the diplomats gathered in the Sala Regia of
the Vatican's Apostolic Palace to push their governments to do
everything possible to face "this grave humanitarian situation",
telling them political authorities had "a grave responsibility
to work for peace".

Global powers have been loath to intervene in Syria for fear
of triggering a wider conflict in a volatile region.

The pope delivered his French-language address a day after
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rejected peace talks with his
enemies in a defiant speech that his opponents described as a
renewed declaration of war.

DEATH IN CHURCHES

On Nigeria, Benedict denounced violence by the Islamist sect
Boko Haram, who have killed hundreds in their campaign to impose
sharia law in the north, targeting a number of churches.

"Nigeria is regularly the scene of terrorist attacks which
reap victims above all among the Christian faithful gathered in
prayer, as if hatred intended to turn temples of prayer and
peace into places of fear and division," he said.

He called for "effective attention of the international
community" to the situation in Mali, where a mix of Islamists
with links to al Qaeda have carried out amputations to help
impose strict Islamic law on a population that has practised a
more moderate form of Islam for centuries.

Turning his attention to the economy, Benedict said the
global crisis was in part caused "because profit was all too
often made absolute" .

He condemned short-sighted, "unrestrained ventures" in the
economy and called for a rediscovery of "the meaning of work and
proportionate profit".

"To that end, it would be well to teach people how to resist
the temptations of particular and short-term interests, and to
look instead to the common good," the pope said.

He hoped the United Nations' recognition of Palestine as
non-member observer state would lead to a two-state solution and
make Jerusalem "a city of peace and not of division".

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Barry Moody/Mark
Heinrich)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130107/update-2-stop-war-syria-it-becomes-field-ruins-pope