Pope Francis has spoken the traditional blessing Urbi et Orbi on St. Peter’s Square in Rome, “for the city and the world”. In his Christmas message, the Pope asked world leaders to work on peace and security in the Middle East.
He explicitly mentioned the children who are the victims of the war in Syria.
Pope Francis spoke about the “numerous children who experience the war and conflicts in the Middle East and different countries around the world”. He especially wanted “comfort for the beloved Syrian people who have not yet seen the end of hostilities that have torn the country apart this decade.”
He called on governments and the international community to seek solutions that ensure the security and peaceful cohabitation of the peoples of the region.
The birth of Jesus Christ must “lighten the darkness in this world,” according to the Pope. He regrets “the darkness in personal, family and social relations” and in “economic, geopolitical and ecological conflicts”. According to the pope, the light of Christ is indeed stronger.
The Pope also referred to the conflicts in Africa, Ukraine and Latin America, and to the victims of religious persecution, natural disasters, epidemics and terrorism. He also talked about everyone who is forced to emigrate and undergo “indescribable forms of abuse, all kinds of slavery and torture in inhuman detention camps”.
The “Urbi et Orbi” is traditionally spoken twice a year, at Christmas and at Easter. It is already the seventh Christmas of this pope. Unlike some of his predecessors, Pope Francis does not express Christmas wishes in different languages.