Pope Francis said the world is suffering from a “famine of peace” and called for the end to the “senseless war” in Ukraine during his annual Christmas Day message from the Vatican.
Before delivering his tenth “Urbi et Orbi” — a blessing to the city of Rome and the world — Pope Francis urged people to look beyond the “shallow holiday glitter” and help those experiencing hardships across the world.
“Let us see the faces of all those children who, everywhere in the world, long for peace,” he said on Sunday while speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter Basilica.
“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 war.”
While the war in Ukraine, now in its 10th month, was the focus of much of his 10-minute speech, the Pope also noted a “famine of peace” threatens other corners of the world.
“The war in Ukraine has further aggravated this situation, putting entire peoples at risk of famine, especially in Afghanistan and in the countries of the Horn of Africa,” he said.
“We know that every war causes hunger and exploits food as a weapon, hindering its distribution to people already suffering,” he added noting that leaders should make food “solely an instrument of peace.”
As the world celebrates the birth of the Prince of Peace, humanity is experiencing a “grave famine of peace,” the pope said, mentioning conflicts and humanitarian crises in the Middle East, Myanmar, Haiti, and the Sahel region of Africa.
He also called for a resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land, the place of Jesus’ birth. The Pope made a similar plea in November following deadly bomb attacks in Jerusalem and clashes in the occupied West Bank.
His message was followed by the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing, recited in Latin as well as many other languages for audiences to view both at the Vatican and across the globe.
With Post wires.