On Sunday, Pope Francis called for “silence the weapons” in Ukraine, a country hit by a “senseless war”, during his traditional Christmas message, and recalled again other regions where conflicts rage.
The Argentine pope declared in his Christmas message in Saint Peter’s Square, “May our gaze be filled with the faces of the Ukrainian brothers and sisters, who live this Christmas in the dark, out in the open or far from their homes, cause of the destruction caused by ten months of war”.
“May the Lord prepare us to carry out concrete gestures of solidarity to help those who are suffering, and enlighten the minds of those who have the power to silence the weapons and put an immediate end to this senseless war,” Francis said, before 70,000 faithful gathered in the famous Vatican square, some with Ukrainian flags.
The Supreme Pontiff added, stating “Unfortunately, we prefer to listen to other reasons, dictated by the logic of the world”, “with pain that […] crude winds of war continue to blow over humanity”.
Pope Francis, 86, has made a tireless call for peace since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Yemen, Sahel and Haiti
The Pope reviewed the conflicts that are shaking the world, before pronouncing the blessing of the “Urbi et Orbi”, citing 10 countries affected by violence or tensions, which he described as “scenes of this third world war”.
Among them, Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Yemen, Syria, Burma, Lebanon hit by a serious economic and social crisis, and Haiti, where more than 1,400 people died violently this year, according to the ONU.
The pope cited Iran for the first time, rocked by a wave of protests unprecedented since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which has resulted in more than 14,000 arrests since mid-September, according to the ONU, and 469 protesters killed, according to the NGO Iran. Oslo-based Human Rights.
“All war — we know — causes famine and uses food itself as a weapon, preventing its distribution to peoples who are already suffering. On this day, learning from the Prince of Peace, let us all commit ourselves — first of all, the who have political responsibilities–so that food is no more than an instrument of peace,” he said. Pope Francis called not to use food “as a weapon”, alluding to the conflicts that plague the entire Horn of Africa.
According to the Vatican, some 7,000 people attended the Christmas Eve mass presided over by the pope in St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday night.
He prayed for the “children devoured by wars, poverty and injustice” and lamented that “men (…) hungry for power and money, devour their neighbors, their brothers in the same way”.
Faced with this “consumerism”, the pontiff invited to “distance from that mundane scenario” and rediscover the meaning of Christmas, through a charitable Church at the service of the poor.
Some 4,000 people who did not get tickets followed the celebration through giant screens installed outside.
Published by The Tampa Herald, news and information agency.