Pope Francis addressed the world during his Christmas speech and used it as an opportunity to highlight the plight of the people in Syria.
This was the first Christmas speech from Pope Francis and thousands of people came to St Peter’s Square in the Vatican to listen to his words and to pray for an end t the violence in Syria.
The speech from the Pope at Christmas time is one of the most important made by the Pope through the year as it is made during a time when the birth of Christ is marked by the Christian world.
The Pope said during his speech: “To many lives have been shattered in recent times by the conflict in Syria, fuelling hatred and vengeance, Let us continue to ask the Lord to spare the beloved Syrian people further suffering.”
This will be the third Christmas speech which has highlighted the terrible conflict in Syria which has left thousands dead and many more displaced.
During the speech the Pope continued to focus on ending conflict in the world and also drew attention to the case of Iraq and called for peace in the country.
“True peace is not a balancing of opposing forces. It is not a lovely facade which conceals conflicts and division. Peace calls for daily commitment.”
He then turned his attentions to violence currently taking place in the Cental African Republic, a place which he described as “often forgotten and overlooked” and “torn apart by a spiral of violence and poverty”.
While Sudan was also highlighted as another country where violence was causing great problems and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in both these countries the Pope called for “social harmony”.
It is believed that the crowd who came to listen to the Christmas speech by the Pope this year was one of the largest in recent years and could be partially die to the fact that this was the first speech from Pope Francis for this time of the year.
There have been many recent reports about Christian people being persecuted in various parts of the world, including in Africa and the Middle East and the Pope made reference to this in his speech stating that “Lord of life, protect all who are persecuted in your name.”
The more modern approach of Pope Francis to non believers was also evident in his speech according to BBC reporter Alan Johnston who noted that he did make “one significant departure from the words on the paper in front of him.
“It came when he reached out, on this Christmas Day, to “non-believers”; to atheists. He called on them to join with people of faith in the pursuit of peace and a better world.
“Let us all unite, with prayer or with desire – but everyone – for peace,” he said.”
Alan Johnston continued: “It was perhaps another small example of this new Pope’s willingness to reach beyond the confines of Catholicism as he contemplates solutions to the world’s troubles. And judging by the warmth of the applause his gesture received in St Peter’s Square, many of the faithful are very much with him as he takes this route.”