Pope Christmas Speech: Benedict XVI Prays for China and Syria

Pope Benedict XVI addressed millions on Tuesday to wish "Christmas peace to the world," decry the slaughter of the "defenseless" in Syria, and urge Israelis and Palestinians "to find the courage to negotiate" — according to the AP via USA Today.

The Pope delivered the traditional Urbi et Orbi message from the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica, where he also "encouraged" Arab spring nations, such as Egypt, to "build just and respectful societies."

The 85-year-old pontiff also prayed for religious freedom in China, asking that country's new leadership to "respect religion" (Chinese Roman Catholics have, at times, endured religious persecution under communism).

Pope Benedict XVI, who just recently joined Twitter, also took to the microblogging site where he he answered a question about his favorite family Christmas tradition. Benedict said a beloved Nativity scene, commonly called a crib, was his favorite Christmas tradition.

"The cribs that we built in our home gave me much pleasure. We added figures each year and used moss for decoration."

Read on USA Today.