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The Pope urged the cessation of the Holy Land conflicts

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In his Christmas speech, delivered from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis urged the cessation of the Holy Land conflicts, the resolution of the desperate humanitarian situation, and a lasting settlement of the Middle Eastern conflict.

In his Urbi et Orbi speech, Pope Francis emphasized with a heavy heart his thoughts for the people who were murdered or abducted by the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas in Israel on October 7th. He is concerned about the fate of approximately a hundred people still held hostage and urged their release. He added that the war triggered by Hamas’ terrorist attack makes life impossible for the population in the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli military operation has taken a ‘frightening’ number of innocent civilian lives. He urged facilitating the delivery of aid shipments to Gaza.

“Instead of nurturing violence and hatred, let the resolution of the Palestinian issue begin through sincere and persistent dialogue between the parties, accompanied by strong political will and support from the international community,” Pope Francis stated.

The eyes of the world’s Christians turn to Bethlehem now, as every Christmas, but these days it is filled with pain and silence,’ said the Pontiff, who traditionally listed all war-torn regions of the world, including the ‘martyr’ Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, and urged peace everywhere, and political and social stability in Lebanon. He expressed his desire for lasting peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, safe return for refugees, and mutual respect for the opposing sides’ religious traditions and places of worship.

He commemorated the conflicts affecting the African Sahel region, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. He urged strengthening brotherhood between the two countries of the Korean Peninsula. He requested solutions to social and political tensions, poverty that deprives people of their dignity, and painful emigration on the South American continent.

He declared that we must say no to the logic of war: all wars are just aimless journeys, defeats without victors, unforgivable madness. To stop wars, he added, we must first say no to weapons, because ‘if a person with a wounded soul gets hold of the tool of death, sooner or later they will use it,’ he asserted.

“How can we talk about peace when the number of manufactured and sold weapons is rising?” he questioned. He believed that many of the massacres occur “in deafening silence, but with many aware.” People want bread, not weapons; those struggling to survive plead for peace and cannot comprehend how much state money is spent on armaments. “Talk about it, write about it, bring to light the interests moving the threads of war and the magnitude of the profits derived from them!” urged the Pope.

He reminded that the murder of the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem followed the birth of the Savior:

“How many innocent children are being slaughtered in the world today, including those still in the womb, and how many among the children of desperate people fleeing war? They are the modern-day Holy Infants.”

The child of Bethlehem asks us to be the voice of those who cannot be heard: the innocent, the starving, the unemployed, those emigrating in hope of a better future, those at the mercy of ruthless human traffickers – he said.

Pope Francis read his speech sitting down, and at the end, he delivered the blessing to Rome and the world, the Urbi et Orbi, in Latin. According to data provided by the Vatican, the Pontiff was listened to by about seventy thousand people in St. Peter’s Square and beyond.

Source: MTI

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