Tens of hundreds of worshippers gathered on the Vatican to listen to the pontiff’s fifth “Urbi et Orbi” (To the Metropolis and The World) message. It was delivered hours after a Christmas Eve mass the place he spoke on how migrants had been “pushed from their land” due to leaders prepared to shed “harmless blood”.
On Monday, Francis’s message sought “peace for Jerusalem and for all of the Holy Land.
“We see Jesus within the youngsters of the Center East who proceed to endure due to rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians,” he stated.
“Allow us to pray that the desire to renew dialogue could prevail between the events and negotiated resolution can lastly be reached, one that might enable the peaceable coexistence of two states inside mutually agreed and internationally recognised borders.”
The pontiff’s plea got here as contemporary tensions simmered within the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution after US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Following Trump’s declaration, Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales stated Sunday his nation would transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Trump’s announcement on December 6 triggered demonstrations and clashes, together with in Bethlehem within the West Financial institution the place Christians marked the delivery of Jesus at a midnight mass.
“Might the Lord additionally maintain the efforts of all these within the worldwide group impressed by good will to assist that stricken land to seek out, regardless of grave obstacles the concord, justice and safety that it has lengthy awaited,” the pope stated.
The pontiff additionally talked about different international flashpoints similar to Syria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan and Venezuela, after stressing that the “winds of battle are blowing in our world”.
“Allow us to pray that confrontation could also be overcome on the Korean peninsula and that mutual belief could improve within the curiosity of the world as an entire,” the 81-year-old stated.
Fewer vacationers in Bethlehem
Earlier, celebrating midnight mass within the historical city, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, used his homily to lambast the wars that “the Herods of as we speak combat day-after-day to develop into higher, to occupy more room”.
Criticising Trump’s announcement, Pizzaballa insisted “Jerusalem is a metropolis of peace, there’s not peace if somebody is excluded. Jerusalem ought to embody, not exclude,” stressing the precept that the town is for each peoples and the three Abrahamic faiths.
A whole lot had gathered within the chilly on Bethlehem’s Manger Sq. to observe the annual scout parade in the direction of the Church of the Nativity, constructed over the spot the place custom says Mary gave delivery to Jesus.
However the sq. was noticeably quieter following current violence between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli military.
Twelve Palestinians have been killed since Trump’s declaration, together with a 19-year-old who died of his wounds on Sunday 9 days after he was shot throughout a Gaza protest.
Israel seized east Jerusalem within the 1967 Center East battle and later annexed it, in strikes by no means recognised by the worldwide group.
Palestinians view east Jerusalem because the capital of their future state, and interpreted Trump’s assertion as rejecting their proper to a capital in east Jerusalem, though the Individuals deny this.
First Xmas in Homs in years
Christmas decorations have in the meantime develop into extra seen in Christian areas of Syria’s capital Damascus this 12 months.
Within the central Syrian metropolis of Homs, Christians will have fun Christmas with nice fanfare for the primary time in years after the tip of battles between regime and insurgent forces — with processions, reveals for youngsters and even decorations among the many ruins.
In Iraq too, this 12 months marks a constructive turning level for the Christian group within the northern metropolis of Mosul.
In Europe, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II paid tribute to the cities of London and Manchester which this 12 months suffered what she known as “appalling” terror assaults.
“This Christmas, I consider London and Manchester, whose highly effective identities shone by means of over the previous 12 months,” the 91-year-old monarch stated within the pre-recorded televised message.
And simply two hours earlier than the pope delivered his conventional message Monday, there was a disruption on St Peter’s Sq. as a bare-breasted lady shouting “God is a girl” stormed the Christmas Nativity show and seized the infant Jesus statue.
Police stated a 25-year-old Ukrainian lady, reportedly a member of the feminist motion Femen, was arrested. Femen, based in Ukraine, has staged anti-Kremlin protests and now in western Europe has targeted on the Catholic Church which it accuses of suppressing ladies’s rights.
Elsewhere, a tragic Christmas weekend within the Philippines was compounded Monday by the deaths of 20 folks in a bus collision whereas travelling to mass.
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)