Pope Francis’s ‘Peace Message’ on Christmas Day

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Vatican City: Pope Francis has appealed for peace and reconciliation in conflict zones around the world, in a wide-ranging traditional Christmas Day message.

The pontiff said he prayed for the success of recent UN resolutions for peace in Syria and Libya.

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The Pope also spoke of “brutal acts of terrorism” in France, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Mali, which he condemned.

Thousands of pilgrims turned out to see the address, known as “Urbi et Orbi” – to the city and the world.

Heavy security was in place around the Vatican as crowds lined the streets, as it has been since the 13 November Paris attacks carried out by Islamist militants.

Pope Francis began by noting that “precisely where the incarnate son of God came into the world, tensions and violence persist”.

He went on to urge Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct talks, and called for international efforts to end “atrocities” in Libya and Syria.

Speaking from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, he described those being persecuted for their faith as “martyrs of today”.

On the migrant crisis, the Pope said “may God repay all those, both individuals and states, who generously work to provide assistance and welcome to the numerous migrants and refugees”.

Celebrating Mass on Christmas Eve, Pope Francis called on Roman Catholics not to be “intoxicated” by possessions.

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