Roman Catholic Pope wished peace at Christmas time for people affected by wars and those who lost loved ones to terrorism that he said sowed “fear and death” in many cities and countries.
In a message from the central balcony of the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis referred to those suffering the war in Syria, especially during the “most frightful battles” in Aleppo. He lobbied the international community to seek a negotiated solution to the conflict. He also urged Israelis and Palestinians to abandon hatred and revenge.
The pontiff also lamented the “fundamentalist terrorism that exploits even children” in Nigeria, referring to suicide attacks by children.
In his message, he pointed out the conflicts and tensions in Africa, eastern Ukraine, Myanmar, the Korean peninsula, Colombia and Venezuela.
The tens of thousands of faithful who came to St. Peter’s Square endured long lines for security checks to hear the Pope speak.