October 10, 2012 - 16:05 AMT
Pope Benedict XVI pronounces blessing in Arabic

Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday, Oct 10, pronounced a blessing in Arabic at his weekly audience in front of 20,000 pilgrims on St Peter's Square - the first time the language has been used at such an event, AFP reports.

"The Pope prays for all Arabic speakers. May God bless you all!" the Pope said in Arabic at the audience, after a bishop read out an Arabic translation of the Pope's comments praising the results of the Second Vatican Council.

The landmark Council, which began 50 years ago this week, is a "compass" for the Catholic Church "in the middle of the storms", the Pope said.

As a young reformer, the then Joseph Ratzinger took part in the Council, better known as Vatican II, which revolutionized Catholic rituals.