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  • Pope Francis delivers the

    Pope Francis delivers the "Urbi et Orbi" Christmas Day message from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, December 25, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 December 2019

The Pope, who has been an active voice in defense of refugees and migrants, expressed that is injustice what makes them cross deserts and seas, and to endure unspeakable forms of abuse, the enslavement of every kind and torture in inhumane detention camps.

Pope Francis delivered his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) Christmas Day message, before tens of thousands that gathered in in St. Peter’s Square and millions watching or listening around the world.

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The common thread of his address was that change starts in the hearts of individuals, and urged to let the light of Christmas pierce the “darkness in human hearts” that leads to religious persecution, social injustice, armed conflicts and fear of migrants. The Argentinian pope called for peace in the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Venezuela, Ukraine and several African countries caught up in conflicts.

“There is darkness in personal, family and social relationships, but the light of Christ is greater. There is darkness in economic, geopolitical and ecological conflicts, yet greater still is the light of Christ,” he remareked in his seventh Chritsmas of his pontificate.

Francis, who has been active voice in defense of refugees and migrants, expressed that is injustice what “makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries. It is injustice that forces them to endure unspeakable forms of abuse, enslavement of every kind and torture in inhumane detention camps”.

To underscore his message, the two cardinals Francis chose to join him on the basilica’s central balcony were Renato Martino, president emeritus of the Vatican’s immigration office, and Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner who distributes aid to Rome’s poor and homeless.

He also said that while there were many huge problems in the world, people did not have to look far to correct injustices. They could make a difference in their own communities as a first step to stop all the “suffering members of our human family”.

“May (God) soften our often stony and self-centered hearts, and make them channels of his love. May he bring his smile, through our poor faces, to all the children of the world: to those who are abandoned and those who suffer violence,” Francis said.

 “Through our frail hands, may he clothe those who have nothing to wear, give bread to the hungry and heal the sick,” he prayed, adding that through friendship, everyone could be close to the elderly, the lonely, migrants and marginalized people. “On this joyful Christmas Day, may he bring his tenderness to all and brighten the darkness of this world”.

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