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In Christmas Day message, pope decries Gaza’s ‘appalling harvest’ of civilian deaths

Pope Francis delivers his traditional Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi message to the city and the world from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, December 25, 2023. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
Pope Francis delivers his traditional Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi message to the city and the world f... Pope Francis delivers his traditional Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi message to the city and the world from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, December 25, 2023. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
Pope Francis delivers his traditional Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi message to the city and the world from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, December 25, 2023. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
Pope Francis delivers his traditional Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi message to the city and the world f... Pope Francis delivers his traditional Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi message to the city and the world from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, December 25, 2023. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

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In a Christmas Day message, the pope decries Gaza’s ‘appalling harvest’ of civilian deaths. During his Christmas message, which was delivered on Monday, Pope Francis stated that children who are dying as a result of wars, like those that are taking place in Gaza, are the “little Jesuses of today.” He also stated that Israeli strikes in Gaza were resulting in an “appalling harvest” of innocent people.

Additionally, in his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and globe) message that he delivered on Christmas Day, Pope Francis referred to the attack that Hamas terrorists carried out on Israel on October 7 as “abominable” and once more pleaded for the release of about one hundred captives who are still being held in Gaza.

Taking another jab at the arms business, he said that it ultimately controlled the “puppet strings of war” when speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to thousands of people in the square below this building.

While marking the eleventh Christmas of his pontificate, Pope Francis, who is 87 years old, called for an end to hostilities, whether they be political, social, or military, in several countries, including Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. He also supported the rights of migrants all over the world.

The number of innocent people that are being killed on our planet is staggering! In the wombs of their mothers, in the odysseys that they have made in desperation and quest for hope, and in the lives of all those children whose childhoods have been ruined by war. The phrase “they are the little Jesuses of today” was said by him.

In particular, he focused on the Holy Land, including Gaza. According to Palestinian health authorities, Israeli air strikes were responsible for the deaths of at least 78 individuals in Gaza on one of the worst nights of Israel’s 11-week-long conflict with Hamas.

I hope that peace will prevail in Israel and Palestine, where the ongoing conflict is wreaking havoc on the lives of innocent people. “I embrace every one of them, especially the Christian communities located in Gaza and throughout the Holy Land,” Francis stated.

Speaking from the same balcony where he made his initial public appearance on the night of his election, which was on March 13, 2013, he said his “heart grieves for the victims of the abominable attack of October 7” and once more demanded that the hostages be released.

The phrase “APPALLING HARVEST”

“I plead for an end to the military operations with their appalling harvest of innocent civilian victims and call for a solution to the desperate humanitarian situation through an opening to the provision of humanitarian aid,” stated the president.

In a study that was released the previous week, an organization that the United Nations supports stated that the whole population of Gaza, which is around 2.3 million people, was experiencing crisis levels of hunger and that the risk of famine was growing every day.

Even though it maintains diplomatic relations with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Vatican thinks that the only way to resolve the protracted conflict is through the establishment of two separate states. Pope Francis advocated for “persevering dialogue between the parties, sustained by strong political will and the support of the international community.”

Francis said, “And how can we even speak of peace when arms production, sales, and trade are rising?” He devoted a whole paragraph of his address to the topic of the trafficking of weapons.

He advocated for more inquiries to be conducted into the trade in weapons. “It should be talked about and written about to bring to light the interests and profits that move the puppet strings of war,” added the politician.


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