Pope Francis calls for end to the 'famine of peace' in Christmas Day message

Pope Francis calls for end to the 'famine of peace' in Christmas Day message

POPE FRANCIS has used his Christmas Day message to call for an end to the 'famine of peace' around the world.

During his Urbi et Orbi, the pontiff also criticised the misuse of resources to fund and manipulate war and urged people to do more to help those displaced by conflict.

Addressing the thousands gathered in St Peter's Square, the Pope also lamented the increasing secularity of Christmas and a wider world that is 'severely sick with indifference' to Jesus.

"May we overcome our spiritual drowsiness and the shallow holiday glitter that makes us forget the One whose birth we are celebrating," said the Pontiff.

"Let us leave behind the hue and din that deadens our hearts and makes us spend more time in preparing decorations and gifts than in contemplating the great event: the Son of God born for us."

'Beauty of fraternal coexistence'

Dubbing the war in Ukraine 'senseless', the Pontiff said he hoped those with the power to end wars around the world would become enlightened.

"Our time is experiencing a grave famine of peace also in other regions and other theatres of this third world war," said the Pope.

"Let us think of Syria, still scarred by a conflict that has receded into the background but has not ended.

"Let us think too of the Holy Land, where in recent months violence and confrontations have increased, bringing death and injury in their wake.

The Pontiff called for an end to conflict (Image: Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"Let us beseech the Lord that there, in the land that witnessed his birth, dialogue and efforts to build mutual trust between Palestinians and Israelis may resume.

"May the Child Jesus sustain the Christian communities living in the Middle East, so that each of those countries can experience the beauty of fraternal coexistence between individuals of different faiths."

The Pope also called for stability in other regions affected by conflict, adding that the hope of peace might 'inspire the political authorities and all people of goodwill in the Americas to attempt to calm the political and social tensions experienced by various countries'.

Reach out to the marginalised

Finally, addressing the effects of conflict, the Pope said that, beginning with this season of goodwill to all, he hoped people would extent help to those less fortunate.

"On this day, as we sit around a well-spread table, may we not avert our gaze from Bethlehem, a town whose name means 'house of bread', but think of all those, especially children, who go hungry while huge amounts of food daily go to waste and resources are being spent on weapons," he said.

"The war in Ukraine has further aggravated this situation, putting entire peoples at risk of famine, especially in Afghanistan and in the countries of the Horn of Africa.

Pope Francis delivers his Christmas Urbi et Orbi from the central balcony overlooking St Peter's Square (Image: Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

"We know that every war causes hunger and exploits food as a weapon, hindering its distribution to people already suffering."

He added: "Dear brothers and sisters, today as then, Jesus, the true light, comes into a world severely sick with indifference, a world that does not welcome him and indeed rejects him, as it does with many foreigners, or ignores him, as we all too often do with the poor.

"Today, may we not forget the many displaced persons and refugees who knock at our door in search of some comfort, warmth and food.

"Let us not forget the marginalised, those living alone, the orphans, the elderly — who are wisdom for their people — who risk being set aside, and prisoners, whom we regard solely for the mistakes they have made and not as our fellow men and women."