Pope Francis used his Christmas day message to call for peace in areas of conflict, reminding the Church how many children have suffered because of the violence in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and parts of Africa. “There are so many tears this Christmas,” he said. The Pope’s message was stern and somber. He referenced the brutal New Testament king from the Christmas story, saying that today, the young victims of abuse, violence and displacement cry “out under the spade of many Herods” while “so many men and women immersed in worldliness and indifference,” ignore their plight. On Christmas Eve, Pope Francis used a satellite phone call to address families at a refugee camp in the Kurdish region of Iraq, telling them “You are like Jesus on the night of His birth when He had been forced to flee. You are like Jesus in this situation, and that means we are praying even harder for you.”

In his Christmas season speech, the pope also singled out abortion, referencing, “infants killed in the womb, deprived of that generous love of their parents and then buried in the egoism of a culture that does not love life.” His prayer was for peace around the world and that God would comfort those suffering in global conflicts: “May indifference be changed into closeness and rejection into hospitality, so that all who now are suffering may receive the necessary humanitarian help to overcome the rigors of winter, return to their countries and live with dignity” …

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