Pope uses Christmas address to urge stronger bonds amid rising nationalism


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VATICAN CITY  — Pope Francis provided a Christmas want for fraternity amongst individuals of various nations, cultures, faiths, races or concepts, describing the world’s variations as a richness, not a hazard, and championing the rights of non secular minorities.

His plea Tuesday for stronger bonds amongst peoples got here as nationalism and a suspicion of migrants are gaining traction throughout a lot of the globe.

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The lengthy warfare in Syria, famine amid warfare in Yemen, social strife in Venezuela and Nicaragua, conflicts in Ukraine and tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been among the many pope’s issues in his Christmas Day message, which he learn from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Addressing some 50,000 vacationers, pilgrims and Romans who flocked to St. Peter’s Sq. on a light, sunny day, Francis stated the common message of Christmas is that “God is an effective Father and we’re all brothers and sisters.”

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“This reality is the premise of the Christian imaginative and prescient of humanity,” Francis stated within the conventional papal “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the town and the world”) message. With out fraternity, he stated, “even our greatest plans and tasks threat being soulless and empty.” He referred to as for that spirit amongst people of “each nation and tradition” in addition to amongst individuals “with totally different concepts, but able to respecting and listening to 1 one other.”

“Our variations, then, will not be a detriment or a hazard; they’re a supply of richness,” Francis stated.

Francis prayed that each one minorities have their proper to non secular freedom revered, noting that some Christians have been celebrating Christmas “in troublesome, if not hostile, conditions.”

Communist China is witnessing a scientific suppression of faith, together with some restrictions on Christmas celebrations this 12 months. The federal government’s suppression marketing campaign consists of re-education camps for Uighur Muslims and a crackdown on Christian church buildings.

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With out specifying religions or nations, Francis prayed for “all these individuals who expertise ideological, cultural and financial types of colonization and see their freedom and id compromised.”

Francis urged the worldwide group to discover a political answer that “can put apart divisions and partisan pursuits” and finish the warfare in Syria. He stated he hoped that an internationally-brokered truce for Yemen would deliver aid to that nation’s individuals, particularly kids, “exhausted by warfare and famine.”

He inspired dialogue amongst Israelis and Palestinians to finish battle “that for over 70 years has hire the land chosen by the Lord to point out his face of affection.”

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In Africa, Francis recalled the thousands and thousands fleeing warfare or in want of meals, and prayed for “a brand new daybreak of fraternity to come up over your complete continent.”

Francis urged Venezuelans to “work fraternally for the nation’s improvement and to assist essentially the most weak.” Thousands and thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing their nation’s financial and humanitarian disaster in what has develop into the most important exodus in fashionable Latin American historical past, in response to the United Nations.

On Monday evening, the 82-year-old pope celebrated Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

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