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Pope Francis laments ‘winds of war’ blowing around the world

Pope Francis waves to the faithful during the Urbi et Orbi (Latin for "to the city and to the world") Christmas Day blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) (Caption amended by RNS)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Lamenting “the winds of war” blowing around the world, Pope Francis in his traditional Christmas message called for a two-state solution to find peace in the Middle East and prayed that confrontation can be overcome on the Korean Peninsula.

The pope took particular aim at areas of global tension where President Trump is playing a critical role. Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has ignited fresh violence in the Middle East, while confrontation with North Korea over its nuclear tests has escalated tensions in Asia.

“The winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline,” the pope said Monday (Dec. 25) in his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and to the world”) Christmas message and blessing from the central balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

As Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, the pope depicted suffering reflected “in the faces of little children,” citing war and other tensions in the Middle East and Africa.

He asked for peace for Jerusalem and the Holy Land and prayed “that the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two states within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders.”

Francis also prayed for an end to confrontation on the Korean Peninsula and that “mutual trust may increase.”

The Christmas message has become an occasion for popes to survey suffering in the world and press for solutions. Francis urged that “our hearts not be closed” as the inns of Bethlehem were to Mary and Joseph before Jesus’ birth.

The pontiff lamented that Syria remains “marked by war,” that Iraq has been “wounded and torn” by fighting over the last 15 years and that ongoing conflict in Yemen “has been largely forgotten.”

Recalling his recent trip to Bangladesh and Myanmar, the pope urged the international community to work “to ensure that the dignity of the minority groups present in the region is adequately protected.”

The pontiff also recalled children who risk their lives at the hands of human traffickers to migrate to safer lands, who suffer because their parents don’t have work or who are forced into labor themselves, sometimes fighting as child soldiers.

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The Associated Press

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  • The media doesn’t want to admit it, but Donald Trump has succeeded in showing Pope Francis that indeed he’s a President to be reckoned with. Acknowledging that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel (which Mr. Francis should have been doing all along!), is but one example.

  • It would be best to pray for God’s kingdom, or heavenly government (Matthew 4:17) to come and for God’s will to be done, as in heaven, also upon earth (Matthew 6:9,10)!

    That is the only government that will provide true peace to all meek mankind on earth (Isaiah 11:1-5; Micah 4:3,4) after it soon replaces all human governments (Daniel 2:44)! ???☝️

  • I did go to chapel services today on base. I prefer our priest. He didn’t stick his nose into politics but stuck to talking about God’s love as seen in the baby Jesus. He also said something about Jesus saying His kingdom is not of this world, which I found ironic coming from a priest given the existence of the Vatican. I’ve got to have him come by the office sometime soon and explain more about what he meant.

  • No lament for, nor mention of, the hundreds of thousands of children around the world who are victims and survivors of being sexually tortured by the pope’s minions. The perpetrators are still protected and sheltered by “His Holiness.”

  • LMAO! Trump just made a total fool of himself in front of the UN, on the issue he created for himself. Even childish threats of cutting off financial aid were entirely ignored.

    What was the purpose of moving the embassy to Jerusalem and the statement if the Israelis weren’t even asking us to do it? To throw evangelicals an eschatological bone at the expense of anyone else and US interests.

  • Yes, God’s love in the abstract, as in the sweet form and innocent face of the baby Jesus, is so much less messy than stubborn, sacrificial love concretely demonstrated to actual human beings. That man lying on the road as the Samaritan passed by was, after all, dirty, bloody, incoherent, foreign, “different.” Passing by is a much cleaner, nicer option than sticking your nose into the smells, dirt, gore, and possible contagion to actually help and possibly save a life that looks, from the outside, far different from your own. Passing by on the other side allows us to avoid sticking our nose into “politics,” a nasty undertaking that complicates and contaminates our harmonious, blissful visions of “God’s love.”

  • Hmmm… yes, I’ve noticed Pope Francis quaking in his Fisherman’s shoes recently. It’s very clear he’s much impressed and intimidated by the man who has now finished making America great again and has begun working on the whole world. (Take that, United Nations!!!!!) I’m sure Francis will soon just timidly retire and allow the obviously superior competitor to get on with it.

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