Pope Francis used his Christmas message this morning to call for peace in a world torn apart by ‘brutal acts of terrorism’ while thanking the generosity of countries for showing mercy and offering shelter to desperate refugees.
Speaking from the loggia of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Francis issued a Christmas Day peace appeal Friday against poverty and extremist attacks.
He said: ‘Only God’s mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst.’
‘Where God is born, hope is born. He brings hope. Where God is born, peace is born. And where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war.’
He asked that Israelis and Palestinians resume direct dialogue which would ‘enable two people to live together in harmony and end a conflict which has caused great conflict for the entire region’, before praying for an end to the civil war in Syria and ‘in remedying the extremely grave humanitarian situation of its suffering people’.
Pope Francis then turned his thoughts to those affected by ‘brutal acts of terrorism’, mentioning the recent attacks that left hundreds dead in the likes of Egypt, Paris and Tunisia. He also called for the international community to end the atrocities taking place in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa, and called for peace and concord across Africa and in Ukraine.
Speaking before 40,000 people in the Vatican, he issued thanks to those countries who have come to the aid of migrants displaced from their homes, pleading for solidarity with those fleeing war and poverty who travel ‘all too often through inhumane conditions and not infrequently at the risk of their lives’.
He continued: ‘Where hope is born persons regain their dignity yet even today great numbers of men and women are deprived of human dignity and suffer cold, poverty and rejection.
‘May God repay all those, both individuals and states, who generously work to provide assistance and welcome to the numerous migrants and refugees, to help them build a dignified future for themselves and their dear ones and to be integrated in societies which welcome them.’
‘May our closeness today be felt by those most vulnerable, especially child soldiers, women who suffer violence and the victims of human trafficking and the drug trade.
Today’s message followed last night’s Christmas Eve Mass in which the Pope urged Christians to abandon superficial desires and end the modern day obsession with consumerism.
Francis, who has called for compassion for the less fortunate throughout his three year papacy, stressed that the world has become ‘intoxicated’ by capitalism – and reminded the 1.2billion Christians to follow the most basic teachings of Christ.
Read more: Daily Mail