«May the Eternal Word of the Father be a source of hope for the American continent, particularly affected by the coronavirus, which has exacerbated the many sufferings that oppress it, often aggravated by the consequences of corruption and drug trafficking,» Pope Francis said in his Christmas message that, as he rebukes every year, the evils and crises in the world.
From the hall of blessings inside St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis referred to Chile and asked that the baby Jesus «help overcome recent social tensions.» And he also prayed that it would put an end to «the suffering of the Venezuelan people.»
With an Italy in full confinement, the pope’s message was not made by addressing, as usual, through the windows the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Francis also quoted other international crises. The faces of children in Syria, Iraq or Yemen, who are «paying the high price of war,» have to «touch the consciences of people of goodwill,» he said. In his traditional panorama of the planet’s conflicts, followed by the blessing ‘Urbi et orbi’, the pope insisted on the hope that Christmas will be «the right time to dissolve tensions throughout the Middle East and in the eastern Mediterranean.»
The speech, delivered this year inside the basilica and not overlooking the balcony of the central lodge due to the pandemic, stressed that «at this time in history, marked by the ecological crisis and by the serious economic and social imbalances, aggravated by the pandemic of the coronavirus, we need more than ever fraternity».
He also urged those with responsibilities to guarantee the vaccine to all «especially the most vulnerable.» And he prayed that closed nationalisms, individualism, and market law would not prevent vaccines from reaching everyone. «Vaccines for all, » asked Francis.