Pope Francis Christmas message
Pope Francis used his Christmas message on Sunday to lament the “icy winds of war” sweeping across humanity and to make an impassioned plea for an immediate end to the fighting in Ukraine, a 10-month conflict he called ” without sense”.
At noon in Rome, Francis delivered the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (Latin for “to the city and to the world”) address from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
On a sunny day, with the midday temperature reaching around 15 degrees Celsius (almost 60 F), warm for a Roman winter, some 70,000 tourists, pilgrims and city residents filled St. Peter’s Square to listen to the pontiff and receive his blessing.
Francis also cited longstanding conflicts in the Middle East, including the Holy Land, “where in recent months violence and clashes have escalated, bringing death and injury in their wake.” In addition, he prayed for a lasting truce in Yemen and for reconciliation in Iran and Myanmar, citing violence and conflict in the Sahel region of Africa.
He lamented that at Christmas, the “path of peace” is blocked by social forces that include “attachment to power and money, arrogance, hypocrisy, falsehood.”
“Indeed, we must painfully acknowledge that even when the Prince of Peace has been given to us, the icy winds of war continue to lash humanity,” Francis said.
“If we want it to be Christmas, the birth of Jesus and peace, let’s look at Bethlehem and contemplate the face of the child that is born to us,” he said. “And in that small and innocent face, may we see the faces of all those children who, in all parts of the world, yearn for peace.”
Francis urged the faithful to remember the millions of Ukrainians who were left without electricity or heat on Sunday due to Russian attacks on energy infrastructure, as well as the millions more living as refugees abroad or displaced within their country. since the February 24 invasion ordered by the Russian president. Vladimir Putin.
“Let us also see the faces of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, who are living this Christmas in the dark and cold, far from their homes due to the devastation caused by 10 months of war,” the pontiff said as he pointed to those in the crowd waving small Ukrainian flags.
The Pope prayed that the Lord “illuminate the minds of those who have the power to silence the thunder of weapons and put an immediate end to this senseless war.”
Hobbled by a knee problem, Francis leaned on a cane with a pointed support base to get a little forward and get a better view of the crowd below.
The first pontiff of Latin America prayed that Christmas “inspires the political authorities and all people of good will in the Americas to try to calm the political and social tensions that various countries are experiencing.”
Francis said he was thinking particularly of Haiti, the impoverished Caribbean nation where nearly 100,000 people in the capital have fled gang-related violence, according to a recent report by the United Nations migration agency.
“On this day, as we sit around a well-served table, let us not take our eyes off Bethlehem, a town whose name means ‘house of bread,’ but let us think of all those, especially children, who go hungry while enormous daily amounts of food are wasted and resources are spent on weapons.”
“The war in Ukraine has further aggravated this situation, putting entire peoples at risk of famine, especially in Afghanistan and in the countries of the Horn of Africa,” Francis said.
Early in the war, sea mines and a Russian naval blockade of Ukrainian ports choked shipments from the Black Sea ports of Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain and corn producers. An agreement brokered by Turkey and the UN has sought to address the problem.Read More….