The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for an end to the “senseless” war in Ukraine, in his traditional Christmas Day message broadcast around the world.
The Pope addressed thousands of people gathered in St Peter’s Square, some of them holding Ukrainian flags.
Delivering his message from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, the 86-year-old on Sunday first turned to “our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who are experiencing this Christmas in the dark and cold, far from their homes”. He added;
May the Lord inspire us to offer concrete gestures of solidarity to assist all those who are suffering, and may he enlighten the minds of those who have the power to silence the thunder of weapons and put an immediate end to this senseless war.
… The war in Ukraine has further aggravated this situation, putting entire peoples at risk of famine, especially in Afghanistan and in the countries of the Horn of Africa.
We know that every war causes hunger and exploits food as a weapon, hindering its distribution to people already suffering.
On this day, let us learn from the Prince of Peace (Christ) and, starting with those who hold political responsibilities, commit ourselves to make food solely an instrument of peace.
On Saturday evening, the Pope led the traditional Christmas Eve mass at St Peter’s Basilica, using a wheelchair as he continues to struggle with knee pain.
Meanwhile, the Vatican put the crowd Sunday at 70 000, while 7 000 people attended Saturday evening’s mass, with more following the service on screens outside. | Al Jazeera