Pope Francis used his Christmas message Sunday to lament the “icy winds of war” buffeting humanity and to make an impassioned plea for a direct finish to the, a 10-month-old conflict he decried as “senseless.”
At midday in Rome, Francis delivered the conventional “Urbi et Orbi” (Latin for “to the city and to the world”) speech from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.
On a sunny day, with the noon temperature reaching about 15 levels Celsius (almost 60 F), heat for a Roman winter, some 70,000 vacationers, pilgrims and residents of the metropolis packed St. Peter’s Square to take heed to the pontiff and to obtain his blessing.
Francis additionally cited long-running conflicts in the Middle East, together with in the Holy Land, “where in recent months violence and confrontations have increased, bringing death and injury in their wake.” In addition, he prayed for an enduring truce in Yemen and for reconciliation in Iran and Myanmar, and cited violence and conflicts in Africa’s Sahel area.
He lamented that on Christmas, the “path of peace” is blocked by social forces that embody “attachment to power and money, pride, hypocrisy, falsehood.”
“Indeed, we must acknowledge with sorrow that, even as the Prince of Peace is given to us, the icy winds of war continue to buffet humanity,” Francis mentioned.
“If we want it to be Christmas, the birth of Jesus and of peace, let us look to Bethlehem and contemplate the face of the child who is born for us,” he said. “And in that small and harmless face, allow us to see the faces of all these kids who, in all places in the world, lengthy for peace.”
Francis urged the faithful to remember the millions of Ukrainians who were without electricity or heating Sunday because of, as well as the millions more living as refugees abroad or displaced within their country since the Feb. 24 invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Let us additionally see the faces of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, who’re experiencing this Christmas in the darkish and chilly, removed from their houses as a result of the devastation attributable to 10 months of warfare,” the pontiff mentioned as he gestured towards these in the crowd waving small Ukrainian flags.
The pope prayed that the Lord will “enlighten 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 downside, Francis leaned on a strolling persist with a pronged help base to inch ahead for a greater view of the crowd beneath.
The first pontiff from Latin America, he prayed that Christmas would “inspire the political authorities and all people of good will in the Americas to attempt to calm the political and social tensions experienced by various countries.”
Francis mentioned he was significantly considering of, the impoverished Caribbean nation the place almost 100,000 individuals in the capital have fled gang-related violence, in keeping with a current United Nations migration company report.
“On this day, as we sit around a well-spread table, may we not avert our gaze from Bethlehem, a town whose name means ‘house of bread,’ but think of all those, especially the children, who go hungry while huge amounts of food daily go to waste and resources are being spent on weapons.”
“The warfare in Ukraine has additional aggravated this example, placing complete peoples at threat of famine, particularly in Afghanistan and in the international locations of the Horn of Africa,” Francis mentioned.
Early in the warfare, sea mines and a Russian naval blockade of Ukraine’s ports choked off shipments from the Black Sea ports of Ukraine, one of the world’s largest producers of grain and corn. An settlement brokered by Turkey and the U.N. has sought to handle the downside.