Highlights

  • Pope reflects anguish amid Gaza war
  • Our hearts are in Bethlehem: Pope
  • 'We think of Palestine, Israel, Ukraine'

Latest news

France becomes first country in the world to enshrine abortion as constitutional right

France becomes first country in the world to enshrine abortion as constitutional right

Ex-Twitter execs sue Musk for unpaid severance

Ex-Twitter execs sue Musk for unpaid severance

Break-in at Nizampet house, intruder flees when confronted by woman | Watch

Break-in at Nizampet house, intruder flees when confronted by woman | Watch

'No headway' on statehood demand, say Ladakh leaders

'No headway' on statehood demand, say Ladakh leaders

Jeff Bezos surpasses Elon Musk as world's richest person amidst Tesla's 7.2% stock fall

Jeff Bezos surpasses Elon Musk as world's richest person amidst Tesla's 7.2% stock fall

I won't return to competitive wrestling: Sakshi Malik

I won't return to competitive wrestling: Sakshi Malik

WPL 2024: Smriti Mandhana and Ellyse Perry fifties carry RCB to 23-run win over UP Warriorz

WPL 2024: Smriti Mandhana and Ellyse Perry fifties carry RCB to 23-run win over UP Warriorz

Israel and UN trade allegations of terrorism, torture

Israel and UN trade allegations of terrorism, torture

Our hearts are in Bethlehem: Pope on Christmas Eve amid war on Gaza

Referring to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war that has left thousands dead, Pope Francis said, "Our hearts are in Bethlehem, where the Prince of Peace is once more rejected by the futile logic of war." 

Our hearts are in Bethlehem: Pope on Christmas Eve amid war on Gaza

Recalling Jesus’ birth in a stable in Bethlehem, Pope Francis in a Christmas Eve homily said that “the clash of arms even today" prevents Jesus “from finding room in the world.” The pontiff presided on Sunday over the evening Mass attended by about 6,500 faithful who took their place amid the splendour of St. Peter’s Basilica behind rows of white-clad prelates.

“Our hearts are in Bethlehem, where the Prince of Peace is once more rejected by the futile logic of war, ” the pope said, referring to the war sparked by Hamas’ deadly October 7 rampage and hostage-taking in Israel.

As Mass began, a statuette of the Christ child was unveiled before the altar bedecked in greenery and white flowers, and children representing all corners of the globe placed flowers around a gilded throne.

Francis, draped in white robes, led the Mass standing at the foot of one of St. Peter’s grand columns.

Recalling that Jesus was born during a census meant to reinforce King David’s power, Francis warned against “the quest for worldly power and might, fame and glory, which measures everything in terms of success, results, numbers and figures, a world obsessed with achievement.” By contrast, Jesus entered the world humbly, taking human flesh. “Here, we see not a god of wrath and chastisement, but the God of mercy, who takes flesh and enters the world in weakness,’’ the pope said.

A pagan deity is linked to “power, worldly success and idolatry of consumerism,” the pope said. “God, on the other hand, waves no magic want; he is no god of commerce who promises everything all at once. He does not save us by pushing a button, but draws near us, in order to change our world from within.” When the Christmas Eve Mass ended, the pope, pushed in a wheelchair, moved down the basilica with the life-sized statue of Baby Jesus on his lap and flanked by children carrying bouquets. The statue was placed in a manger in a nativity scene in the basilica.

Francis, 87, has been using a wheelchair to navigate long distances due to a painful knee ligament and a cane for shorter distances.

During the traditional Angelus blessing overlooking St. Peter’s Square at midday, the pontiff remembered those suffering from war, recalling specific fighting in Ukraine and Israel’s bombardment and siege of the Gaza Strip in response to Hamas’ attack.

“We are close to our brothers and sisters suffering from war. We think of Palestine, Israel, Ukraine. We also think of those who suffer from misery, hunger, slavery,’’ Francis said. “May the God who took a human heart for himself infuse humanity into the hearts of men,” he added.

Speaking from the window of his studio to the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, the pontiff also invited the faithful “not to confuse celebration with consumerism. One can and, as a Christian, must celebrate in simplicity without waste and by sharing with those who lack necessities or lack companionship.” Traditionally, Catholics mark Christmas Eve by attending Mass at midnight. But over the years, the starting time at the Vatican has crept earlier, reflecting the health or stamina of popes and then the pandemic. The Vatican has kept a 7:30 p.m. time originally set during a pandemic curfew.

On Christmas Day, tens of thousands of Romans, tourists and pilgrims were expected to crowd into St. Peter’s Square to hear Pope Francis deliver an address on world issues and give his blessing. The speech, known in Latin as “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and to the world), is traditionally an occasion to review crises including war, persecution and hunger, in many parts of the globe.


Up Next

Our hearts are in Bethlehem: Pope on Christmas Eve amid war on Gaza

Our hearts are in Bethlehem: Pope on Christmas Eve amid war on Gaza

France becomes first country in the world to enshrine abortion as constitutional right

France becomes first country in the world to enshrine abortion as constitutional right

Israel and UN trade allegations of terrorism, torture

Israel and UN trade allegations of terrorism, torture

Super Tuesday, America's multi-state voting bonanza

Super Tuesday, America's multi-state voting bonanza

Over 140 Greenland women are suing Denmark, here's why

Over 140 Greenland women are suing Denmark, here's why

Indian killed in Hezbollah strike in Israel: media reports

Indian killed in Hezbollah strike in Israel: media reports

More videos

Big relief for Donald Trump, US Supreme Court allows his name on presidential ballot

Big relief for Donald Trump, US Supreme Court allows his name on presidential ballot

 Ferrari stolen from Formula 1 driver in 1995 found nearly 30 years later

Ferrari stolen from Formula 1 driver in 1995 found nearly 30 years later

American-Russian crew flies to International Space Station for 6-month stay

American-Russian crew flies to International Space Station for 6-month stay

India to build naval base in Lakshadweep after Maldives demands troop withdrawal

India to build naval base in Lakshadweep after Maldives demands troop withdrawal

Galapagos volcano erupts after 4 years, blazing lava expelled into sea | Watch

Galapagos volcano erupts after 4 years, blazing lava expelled into sea | Watch

Hundreds of prisoners break out as gangsters storm Haiti jail; curfew imposed

Hundreds of prisoners break out as gangsters storm Haiti jail; curfew imposed

Nikki Haley posts first win in Republican primaries, in Washington DC

Nikki Haley posts first win in Republican primaries, in Washington DC

Gaza ceasefire negotiations in Cairo as heavy fighting rages

Gaza ceasefire negotiations in Cairo as heavy fighting rages

Newly 'elected' Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif rakes up Kashmir in maiden speech

Newly 'elected' Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif rakes up Kashmir in maiden speech

Thousands of dead starfish wash up on British beach, authorities on alert

Thousands of dead starfish wash up on British beach, authorities on alert

Editorji Technologies Pvt. Ltd. © 2022 All Rights Reserved.