İrem UZUN -TDO- On Wednesday, Pope Francis shared his Christmas message from the Vatican balcony in St Peter's Square. In his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) Christmas Day message, the 83-year-old Pope called for peace in the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Venezuela, Ukraine and several African countries caught up in conflicts. "There is darkness in personal, family and social relationships, but the light of Christ is greater. There is darkness in economic, geopolitical and ecological conflicts, yet greater still is the light of Christ," the Pope said. For change to happen for the better, he said, people had to be more compassionate. "May [God] soften our often stony and self-centered hearts and make them channels of His love. May He bring His smile, through our poor faces, to all the children of the world: to those who are abandoned and those who suffer violence."
The Pope prayed for those hit by conflict, natural disasters and disease, listing several countries. The Pope urged "comfort to those who are persecuted for their religious faith, especially missionaries and members of the faithful who have been kidnapped, and to the victims of attacks by extremist groups, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria". On refugees and migrants, he said: "It is injustice that makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries. It is injustice that forces them to endure unspeakable forms of abuse, enslavement of every kind and torture in inhumane detention camps". He added: "It is injustice that turns them away from places where they might have hope for a dignified life, but instead find themselves before walls of indifference".