Pope Francis makes Christmas Day plea for peace

In his Christmas message, Pope Francis expressed deep concern over the loss of innocent civilian lives resulting from Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. Delivering the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and world) address, the head of the Catholic Church denounced the October 7th attack by Hamas on Israel as “abominable.” He also called for the release of approximately 100 hostages in Gaza, appealing for an end to hostilities.

From the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis addressed thousands, urging an end to conflicts in various regions, including Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

He defended the rights of migrants globally, stating, “How many innocents are being slaughtered in our world! In their mothers’ wombs, in odysseys undertaken in desperation and in search of hope, in the lives of all those little ones whose childhood has been devastated by war. They are the little Jesuses of today.”

The Pope dedicated special attention to the Holy Land, particularly Gaza, where Israeli air raids on Christmas Eve claimed at least 78 lives. He pleaded for an end to military operations, citing the “appalling harvest” of civilian victims, and called for a solution to the desperate humanitarian situation through the provision of aid.

Referring to a recent United Nations-backed report indicating a hunger crisis in Gaza, Pope Francis emphasised the need for urgent humanitarian assistance. The Vatican, advocating for a two-state solution, believes in persevering dialogue between conflicting parties, supported by political will and international cooperation.

In a noteworthy segment of his message, Pope Francis addressed the issue of arms proliferation, questioning the possibility of achieving peace when arms production, sales, and trade are on the rise. He called for increased scrutiny and public discourse on the armaments trade, aiming to expose the vested interests and profits that manipulate the “puppet strings of war.”

As Pope Francis spoke against the devastating toll of the conflict, he highlighted the staggering statistics of lives lost and extensive damage inflicted on Gaza. The ongoing Israeli onslaught has left Gaza in ruins, with half of its housing damaged or destroyed, and nearly two million people displaced amid shortages of food, clean water, and medicines.

“I embrace them all, particularly the Christian communities of Gaza and the entire Holy Land,” Francis said during during his plea for peace. “May it come in Israel and Palestine, where war is devastating the lives of those peoples.”

The Pope’s Christmas Day petition stands not only as a call for immediate humanitarian action but also as a fervent appeal for lasting peace in the region.

Republished from Christian Today UK.

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