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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Pope Francis emphasises on abrupt deaths caused due to Hamas massacre in Christmas note

Delivering his “Urbi et Orbi” — or “to the city and to the world” — Christmas blessing on the birth of Jesus as a symbol of peace, Francis, who turned 87 last week, spoke from a balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica under grey clouds on an unseasonably warm day in Rome before a crowd of tens of thousands

New York Times News Service Rome Published 26.12.23, 07:33 AM
Pope Francis

Pope Francis File image

Pope Francis on Monday focused his Christmas address on the violence in Israel and war in Gaza that had caused an “appalling” loss of civilian life and brought “sorrow” to Bethlehem, traditionally seen as the birthplace of Jesus, as he called for the release of Israeli hostages and an end to devastating military attacks.

Delivering his “Urbi et Orbi” — or “to the city and to the world” — Christmas blessing on the birth of Jesus as a symbol of peace, Francis, who turned 87 last week, spoke from a balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica under grey clouds on an unseasonably warm day in Rome before a crowd of tens of thousands.

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He pleaded for peace around the world, but it was the conflict in Gaza that was foremost in his message.

“The eyes and the hearts of Christians throughout the world turn to Bethlehem,” Francis said, calling attention to “deep shadows covering the land.” He pleaded for peace to “come in Israel and Palestine, where war is devastating the lives of those peoples,” and said he embraced “them all, particularly the Christian communities of Gaza, the parish of Gaza, and the entire Holy Land”.

Francis’ comments served to amplify his message from the Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter’s Basilica only hours earlier, where he declared that “our hearts are in Bethlehem, where the Prince of Peace is once more rejected by the futile logic of war”.

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