By Victor Ochieng
When Pope Francis gave his annual “Urbi et Orbi” message on Friday during Christmas, he rallied for peace in the Holy Land and across the world.
“Where God is born, peace is born,” the Pope said. “And where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war. Yet precisely where the incarnate Son of God came into the world, tensions and violence persist, and peace remains a gift to be implored and built.”
Although the Pope called for peace across the globe, he also made specific reference to the Middle East conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, saying that the two should “reach an agreement which will enable the two peoples to live together in harmony.” He called for direct dialogue between the two nations so as to reach a lasting solution.
The Pope also mentioned the war that’s currently raging Syria. He made reference to the U.N. agreement on Syrian conflict, praying that it brings the devastating civil war to a halt and finds a solution to the “extremely grave humanitarian situation of its suffering people.”
He then extended his prayer to other nations, including Iraq, Columbia, Libya, Ukraine, and Yemen as well as Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly mentioning South Sudan, Burundi, and Democratic Republic of Congo; countries that have been faced with serious political and ethnic conflicts. The pope expressed his sincere hope that “dialogue may lead to a strengthened common commitment to the building of civil societies animated by a sincere spirit of reconciliation and of mutual understanding.”
Also notable was the pope’s prayer for children who’re being signed up as soldiers and human trafficking victims. He called for unbiased acceptance of those seeking asylum away from war ravaged countries.
“Nor may our encouragement be lacking to all those fleeing extreme poverty or war, traveling all too often in inhumane conditions and not infrequently at the risk of their lives,” Francis said. “May God repay all those, both individuals and states, who generously work to provide assistance and welcome to the numerous migrants and refugees, helping them to build a dignified future for themselves and for their dear ones, and to be integrated in the societies which receive them.”