Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 16 September |
Saint of the Day: Sts Cornelius and Cyprian
home iconChurch
line break icon

How many of the most-suffering regions of the world can you name?

POPE BLESSING

HO - OSSERVATORE ROMANO - AFP

This handout picture released by the Vatican press office shows Pope Francis standing on a balcony of St Peter's basilica during the traditional "Urbi et Orbi" Christmas message to the city and the world, on December 25, 2015 in Vatican. AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO/HO

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 12/26/17

Pope Francis turns his prayer to the children who reflect the Christ Child's face in their affliction

Following a Christmas tradition, Pope Francis on Monday gave his “urbi et orbi” blessing from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica — his blessing to the city and to the world.

The Holy Father reflected: “Today, as the winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline, Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the Child and to recognize him in the faces of little children, especially those for whom, like Jesus, ‘there is no place in the inn.'”

He went on to mention a handful of regions around the globe most plagued by conflict.

The blessing urbi et orbi (to the city and the world) is traditionally given by the Bishop of Rome on Christmas Day and Easter Day. On this occasion, the Swiss Guard and the Gendarmerie of the Vatican are stationed on the steps of the basilica, to the right of the pontiff. Soldiers and police of the Italian Republic face them. This blessing is an opportunity for the pope to deliver a message of peace.

This year, the Middle East was particularly mentioned. His list began with the Holy Land – including Jerusalem – and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Bishop of Rome expressed his hopes for the resumption of dialogue so this “wounded land” can finally achieve peace with a two-state solution. The pontiff also called for the “good will” of the international community.

Francis mentioned Syria, asking for a commitment to rebuild the social fabric of the country, irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliation. He spoke of Iraq, “wounded and divided” for 15 years, and then moved on to Yemen. This country suffers from a conflict “largely forgotten” by the rest of the world, causing famine and disease.

“We see Jesus in the children of Africa,” continued the pontiff, including those of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, two countries the pope wants to visit, though any plans for such a trip have been postponed indefinitely due to the unrest. The pontiff also spoke of other African countries: Somalia, Burundi, the Central African Republic and Nigeria.

The face of Christ is also where peace and security are threatened, insisted Pope Francis. He named the Korean peninsula, calling for rebuilding “mutual trust.” Venezuela was then at the heart of the pontiff’s prayer, and then Ukraine.

Migrant children, “easy prey”

Jesus is also present in children whose parents can not offer them a safe and serene future because of lack of work, as well as in those who suffer from human trafficking or as child soldiers.

Migrant children, traveling alone in inhumane conditions, are also the face of the Lord, he said.

The Sovereign Pontiff ended by mentioning the children from Burma and Bangladesh, countries he visited in November-December. He urged the international community to adequately protect the dignity of minorities in this region, a clear allusion to the Rohingya, but also other minorities, including Christians, who are also victims of abuses of the Burmese army.

In concluding this Christmas message, Pope Francis invited the faithful to welcome Christ, God made man, to commit to “make the world more worthy of the children of today and tomorrow.”

Tags:
Pope Francis

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
CELEBRITIES
Cerith Gardiner
Our favorite stories of celebrities who inspire us in daily life
2
communion
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
3
As irmãs biológicas que se tornaram freiras no instituto Iesu Communio
Francisco Veneto
The 5 biological sisters who joined the religious life in just tw...
4
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
5
Mychal Judge
John Burger
The priests of 9/11
6
CROSS
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
7
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.