Pope’s Christmas message, condemning Islamic State terror, delivered amid tight security

Print More
Pope Francis waves as he arrives to leads  "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican December 25, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to leads "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message from the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican December 25, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis urged the world in his Christmas message on Friday to unite to end atrocities by Islamist militants that he said were causing immense suffering in many countries.

Security was tight at the Vatican as Francis, marking the third Christmas since his election in 2013, read his traditional Christmas Day “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) address from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Tens of thousands of people had to have their bags checked as they entered the Vatican area and then go through airport-style screening if they wanted to enter St. Peter’s Square.

Counter-terrorist police with machine guns discreetly patrolled the area in unmarked vans with dark windows.

After calling for an end to the civil wars in Syria and Libya, the pope said:

“May the attention of the international community be unanimously directed to ending the atrocities which in those countries, as well as in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa, even now reap numerous victims, cause immense suffering and do not even spare the historical and cultural patrimony of entire peoples.”


READ: Pope Francis’ Christmas Eve homily text: ‘Everything changes’


He was clearly referring to Islamic State militants who have carried out numerous attacks in those countries and destroyed many cultural heritage sites. In October, Islamic State militants blew up the Arch of Triumph, a jewel in the exquisite collection of ruins in the Syrian oasis city of Palmyra.

The pontiff condemned recent “brutal acts of terrorism,” including the Nov. 13 attacks by Islamist militants that killed 130 people in Paris, and the downing of a Russian plane over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula that killed 224 people on Oct. 31. Both were claimed by Islamic State.

“Only God’s mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst,” he said. “The grace of God can convert hearts and offer mankind a way out of humanly insoluble situations.”.

He called for peace between Israelis and Palestinians in the area where Jesus was born.

“Where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war. Yet precisely where the incarnate Son of God came into the world, tensions and violence persist, and peace remains a gift to be implored and built,” he said.

He asked God to bring consolation and strength to Christians who are being persecuted around the world and called for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, South Sudan and Ukraine.

Francis said the human dignity of far too many people around the world was trampled on, including that of refugees and migrants.

“Even today great numbers of men and women are deprived of their human dignity and, like the child Jesus, suffer cold, poverty, and rejection,” he said.

“May our closeness today be felt by those who are most vulnerable, especially child soldiers, women who suffer violence, and the victims of human trafficking and the drug trade.”

  • Pingback: Pope’s Christmas message, condemning Islamic State terror, delivered amid tight security - mosaicversemosaicverse()

  • Fran

    “He (Jesus, the son of God who is not God incarnate) will judge the lowly with fairness, and with uprightness he will give reproof on behalf of the meek ones of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and put the wicked to death with the breath of his lips” (Isaiah 11:4).

  • Billysees

    ” Pope Francis ‘urged the world’ in his Christmas message on Friday ‘to unite to end atrocities’ by Islamist militants that he said were causing immense suffering in many countries. ”

    ‘Urged the world’…’to unite to end atrocities’.

    That should happen as soon as possible.

  • Billysees

    ” …who is ‘not’ God incarnate…”……..’not’……???????

  • Fran

    Jesus is the son of God (Matthew 3:17) and not God in a fleshly or human body (incarnate). After Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascention to heaven, he again became a spirit person like he was in his prehuman existence (1 Corinth. 15:45).

  • “The grace of God can convert hearts and offer mankind a way out of humanly insoluble situations.”.

    NONSENSE! This has never happened. Worse, belief in gods is exactly what creates the insoluble problems the Pope is talking about.

    “…selfishness spawns in our midst.”

    YES INDEED, MR. POPE! And the most selfish human invention is to claim a God is on your side. The is world is awash in this nonsense.

    We all must take responsibility for ourselves and leave the gods behind – Good riddance to Yahweh, Allah, Jesus, Satan, Jinns, Gabriel and all the rest.

  • Billysees

    Fran,
    ” The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam–that is, Christ–is a life-giving Spirit. “……. 1 Cor. 15:45

    I had forgotten about that.

  • Billysees

    Max,
    ” The is world is awash in this nonsense. ”

    Disagree.

    The world is awash in all kinds of spectacular evils. I’m not aware that believers in the Jewish or Christian God are doing these things.

  • @Billysees:

    “I’m not aware…believers in..Christian God are doing these things”

    Oh, but they are.
    These needless, cruel religious practices are destroying innocent lives and debasing societies around the world:

    1) Infant Genital Mutilation both sexes: 27 countries. Islam/Jewish/Christian
    2) Self-flagellation: Christian and Shia
    3) Impaling: India and Thailand
    4) Baby tossing: India
    5) Finger amputation / Yubitsume: Japan, Asia
    6) Firewalking: 20 countries
    7) Human Sacrifice: common in India, Africa and Middle East
    8) Snake handling: Christian ritual of faith.
    9) Witch Burning: Christian – common in Africa
    10) Religious honor killings – common worldwide

    The Atheist position:
    If you can’t show a God exists or cares why accept a dangerous
    primitive practice which is shown to kill or injure and innocent person?

  • Fran

    Yes, Jesus became a life-giving spirit, effective after his death due to his ransom sacrifice, which will provide everlasting life to man on earth.

    Only spirit persons inhabit the heavens. God, Jesus’ Father, is a Spirit (John 4:24); the angels are spirit persons (Psalm 104:4; Hebrews 1:13,14), and all 144,000 humans who inherit God’s heavenly kingdom to rule with Jesus (Rev. 14:1-5; 20:4-6) over earth also become spirit persons in the heavens.

    The apostle Paul wrote that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom
    (1 Corinth. 15:50-52); why the physical body is changed, in the blink of an eye, to a spirit body, or a born-again Christian.

    Jesus confirmed a spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39), when appearing to the 11 apostles after his resurrection before ascending to heaven. Only humans with physical bodies will reside on the earth, God’s gift to us and our forever home (Psalm 37:10,11; 115:16). I love the earth!

  • Billysees

    Max,
    ” …why accept a dangerous
    primitive practice which is shown to kill or injure and innocent person? ”

    You’ve made a very good point. But I would imagine that your ten ‘instances’ are in the extreme minority, but…even in the minority, they are bad stuff.