Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Pope mourns the “winds of war” at Christmas

VATICAN CITY ( Associated Press) – Pope Francis used his Christmas message on Sunday to mourn the “raw winds of war” running through humanity and to call for an end to fighting in Ukraine after 10 months of conflict. An emotional call which he described as “”. deranged”.

At noon local, Francis offered the traditional message “Urbi et Orbi” (“For the city and the world”, in Latin) from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

Thousands of tourists, pilgrims and residents of Rome fill St. Peter’s Square to hear the pontiff and receive his blessing.

Francis also noted protracted conflicts in the Middle East, such as in the Holy Land, “where there has been an increase in violence and conflicts with deaths and injuries during the past months.” He also prayed for a lasting ceasefire in Yemen and reconciliation in Iran and Myanmar.

The Pope lamented that the “path to peace” is blocked by such social forces as “attachment to power and money, arrogance, hypocrisy, lies”.

“Indeed, we must note with pain that at the very moment when we have been given the Prince of Peace, the harsh winds of war are blowing on humanity,” Francis said.

“If we want this to be a Christmas, a Christmas of Jesus and a Christmas of peace, let us look to Bethlehem and fix our gaze on the face of the child who has been born to us,” he said. “And in that little innocent face we recognize the children who yearn for peace in every corner of the world.”

Francis urged the faithful to remember the millions of Ukrainians who are without electricity or heat due to Russian attacks on energy infrastructure, as well as those living abroad as refugees or displaced because of the February 24 Russian invasion order. Have since been displaced in their own country. Russian President Vladimir Putin.

May our attention be filled with the faces of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who are living this Christmas in the dark, in the open or away from their homes because of the devastation caused by ten months of war, the Pope said. ,

Francis prayed that God “illuminate the minds of those who have the power to silence the weapons and bring an immediate end to this senseless war.”

Latin America’s first Pope Francis said he prays that Christmas “inspires all the authorities and all the people of the Americas to try to defuse the political and social tensions experienced by different countries.”

He said he is thinking particularly of Haiti, the impoverished Caribbean country where some 100,000 people have fled the capital because of violence, according to a recent report from the UN migration agency.

The Pope said that before the “well-prepared table”, the faithful think of Bethlehem, a city whose name means “the house of bread”, and remember those who are hungry, especially children. “While large amounts of food go to waste and goods are exchanged for weapons, entire villages are dying of hunger,” he said.

The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the shortfall, he said, with specific mention of Afghanistan and countries in the Horn of Africa.

Ukraine is one of the world’s top producers of grain and corn, but since the beginning of the war the use of underwater mines and a Russian naval blockade of Ukrainian ports have stopped traffic to and from Ukrainian Black Sea ports. An agreement mediated by Turkey and the United Nations has tried to resolve the problem.

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Gianfranco Stara contributed from Vatican City.

Nation World News Desk
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