Pope Francis Wishes Christmas Peace To Those Suffering Through War

VATICAN CITY (CBSNewYork/AP) — Pope Francis has wished Christmas peace for people scarred by wars and those who lost loved ones to terrorism that he says is sowing “fear and death” in many cities and countries.

Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica Sunday, Francis cited those suffering through the Syrian war, especially during the “most awful battles” in Aleppo. He pressed the international community for a negotiated solution. He urged Israelis and Palestinians to abandon hate and revenge.

He also lamented that in Nigeria “fundamentalist terrorism exploits even children,” a reference to child suicide-bombers.

*EN: The power of this Child, Son of God and Son of Mary, is the power of love. It is the power which created the heavens and the earth, which gives life to all creation. It is the power which gives new birth, pardons faults, reconciles enemies, and transforms evil into good. It is the power of God. *PT: O poder deste Menino, Filho de Deus e de Maria, é o poder do amor. É o poder que criou o céu e a terra, que dá vida a toda a criatura. É o poder que regenera a vida, que perdoa as culpas, reconcilia os inimigos, transforma o mal em bem. É o poder de Deus. *ES: El poder de un Niño, Hijo de Dios y de María, es el poder del amor. Es el poder que creó el cielo y la tierra, que da vida a cada criatura. Es el poder que regenera la vida, que perdona las culpas, reconcilia a los enemigos, transforma el mal en bien. Es el poder de Dios. *IT: Il potere di questo Bambino, Figlio di Dio e di Maria, è il potere dell’amore. E’ il potere che ha creato il cielo e la terra, che dà vita ad ogni creatura. E’ il potere che rigenera la vita, che perdona le colpe, riconcilia i nemici, trasforma il male in bene. E’ il potere di Dio. *FR: Le pouvoir de cet Enfant, Fils de Dieu et de Marie, c’est le pouvoir de l’amour. C’est le pouvoir qui a créé le ciel et la terre, qui donne vie à toute créature. C’est le pouvoir qui régénère la vie, qui pardonne les fautes, réconcilie les ennemis, transforme le mal en bien. C’est le pouvoir de Dieu. *DE: Die Herrschaft dieses Kindes, des Sohnes Gottes und Marias, ist die Herrschaft der Liebe. Sie ist die Macht, die Himmel und Erde erschaffen hat, die jedem Geschöpf Leben gibt. Sie ist die Macht, die das Leben erneuert, Schuld vergibt, Feinde versöhnt, das Böse in Gutes verwandelt. Das ist die Herrschaft Gottes.

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He decried conflicts and tensions in Africa, eastern Ukraine, Myanmar, the Korean peninsula, Colombia and Venezuela.

Tens of thousands of faithful entering St. Peter’s Square endured long lines for security checks.

The Pope also gave a somber message during midnight mass at the Vatican, urging Catholics to celebrate the birth of Jesus by thinking about the plight of today’s children. Francis spent most of this year appealing to people around the world to better protect the innocent caught in the crossfire of war.

Thousands also gathered in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, to celebrate Christmas. Outside Manger Square, the Christmas festivities brought a boost of holiday cheer as the faithful listened to holiday songs and sang carols.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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