Pope Benedict XVI has urged the world to end the slaughter in Syria before the entire country becomes a field of ruins.
In a yearly address to diplomats on Monday, Pope Benedict also condemned terrorist attacks against Christians in Nigeria and violence in Mali.
The pope said there was no justification for baneful religious fanaticism that has turned places of worship into places of trepidation.
But 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.
Pope Benedict has repeatedly called for a ceasefire in Syria. He used his Christmas message to call for an end to the bloodshed.