POPE FRANCIS CALLS FOR ISRAEL TO BE DIVIDED IN XMAS DAY SERMON AT THE VATICAN
- Francis, 73, spoke to thousands inside the grand St Peter’s Basilica during his only public mass over Christmas
- Argentina born Pontiff urged Christians to abandon their superficial desires and embrace the ‘essential ways of life’
- Children from countries that Francis has visited as pontiff were invited to watch him speak at 16th Century church
- As the bells of the basilica rang out, Francis started the mass by unveiling and gently kissing statue of baby Jesus
Pope Francis used his Christmas message to urge Israelis and Palestinians to formulate a two state solution by sitting down at the negotiation table and agreeing a peace deal to allow both sides ‘to live together in harmony’.
He also called for peace in a world torn apart by ‘brutal acts of terrorism’ while thanking the generosity of countries for showing mercy and offering shelter to desperate refugees.
Speaking from the loggia of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Francis issued a Christmas Day peace appeal Friday against poverty and extremist attacks.
He said: ‘Only God’s mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst.’
‘Where God is born, hope is born. He brings hope. Where God is born, peace is born. And where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war.’
He asked that Israelis and Palestinians resume direct dialogue which would ‘enable two people to live together in harmony and end a conflict which has caused great conflict for the entire region’, before praying for an end to the civil war in Syria and ‘in remedying the extremely grave humanitarian situation of its suffering people’.
Pope Francis then turned his thoughts to those affected by ‘brutal acts of terrorism’, mentioning the recent attacks that left hundreds dead in the likes of Egypt, Paris and Tunisia. He also called for the international community to end the atrocities taking place in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa, and called for peace and concord across Africa and in Ukraine.
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