Pope calls for an “immediate end to senseless war” in his Christmas message


image via thinkprogress.org

On December 25, 2022, Pope Francis addresses the city and the world from St. Peter’s Basilica’s main balcony in his customary Urbi et Orbi message.  In his Christmas message on Sunday, Pope Francis urged an end to the conflict in Ukraine as well as other wars, claiming that the world was experiencing a “famine of peace.”

He urged people to look past the “shallow holiday glitter” and assist the homeless, immigrants, refugees, and the poor in their midst who are in need of comfort, warmth, and food while delivering the 10th Christmas “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing and message of his pontificate.

From the central balcony of St. Peter Basilica, where he first appeared as pope on March 13, 2013, he said, “Let us see the faces of all those children who, everywhere in the world, long for peace.”

Speaking to tens of thousands of people in the square below, he said, “Let us also see the faces of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who are experiencing this Christmas in the dark and cold, far from their homes due to the devastation caused by ten months of the war.”

He made his remarks just hours after air raid sirens wailed throughout Ukraine and a day after Kyiv reported that a Russian strike on the recently liberated city of Kherson on Saturday resulted in at least five deaths and 35 injuries, which President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned as wanton murder for pleasure.

“May the Lord enlighten the minds of those who have the power to silence the thunder of weapons and put an immediate end to this senseless war, and may he inspire us to offer concrete acts of solidarity to assist all those who are suffering!” Francis uttered.

He cited, among others, Syria, Myanmar, Iran, Haiti, and the Sahel region of Africa as places where people’s lives have been devastated by war or humanitarian crises, saying that the conflict in Ukraine should not lessen concern for those people.

Our age is going through a severe peace famine, he declared.

Francis demanded that Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land, the region of Jesus’ birth, resume their dialogue.

With at least 150 Palestinians and more than 20 Israelis killed this year, the violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has reached its highest levels in more than ten years.

Huge amounts of food are wasted every day and resources are used to make weapons, he claimed, as many people sat around “a well-spread table.”

He once more denounced the use of food as a weapon of war and mentioned Afghanistan and nations in the Horn of Africa while claiming that the conflict in Ukraine had put millions at risk of starvation.