Pope Francesco expressed his hope that Christmas would lead to defusing tensions in the Middle East, saying that the faces of the children of Syria, Iraq and Yemen who are paying the heavy price of the war should “shake the consciences.”
In his Christmas message, Pope Francesco said, “Let us turn our attention to the many children around the world – especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen – who are still paying the heavy price of the war.”
“Let their faces shake the consciences of men of good will, so that the causes of conflicts are addressed and we work courageously in order to build a future of peace,” he added, during his traditional presentation of the conflicts in the world that followed his blessing.
Speaking on Friday, Pope Francesco expressed his hope that Christmas would lead to the easing of tensions across the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean.
He said he hoped Christmas would bring condolences to the Iraqi people, especially the Yezidis, “who have been severely affected by the recent years of war,” as he spoke of the “beloved Syrian people” who have been plagued by war for a decade.
The Pope of the Vatican wished that the Israelis and Palestinians would restore mutual trust in order to search for a just and lasting peace, and to “overcome the rampant hatreds.”
He also called for establishing “peace in Libya” and helping the Lebanese people who are facing difficulties, a day after he announced his desire to visit Lebanon “as soon as possible.”
“I cannot forget the Rohingya people,” the Pope added, as he had previously visited displaced Muslims from Burma to Bangladesh.
Pope Francesco also affirmed his support for the ceasefire in the Nagorno Karabakh region and in eastern Ukraine, and also mentioned the pain of the people in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Sudan, Nigeria and Cameroon.
The Pope singled out the residents of the Americas to talk about what they face from the Corona epidemic, corruption and drug trafficking.
During his speech, Pope Francesco wished to resolve cooperation between government leaders, in a way that would guarantee everyone access to vaccines and treatment, considering that the Corona epidemic does not recognize borders, and that “we are all in the same ship.”
The mass was held in the back of St. Peter’s Church with fewer than 100 people and a few cardinals and bishops attending due to the outbreak of the Corona virus.
Usually this mass is held in the main part of the church, and about 10 thousand people attend, including diplomats from about 200 countries.