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Pope Francis, in his second Christmas Mass since becoming pontiff, used his Christmas Day blessing to give an emotional speech to thousands of people at St. Peter’s Basilica Thursday, denouncing the current brutal conflict, hatred and violence around the world.
The pope appealed for compassion for refugees “so that all who now are suffering may receive the necessary humanitarian help to overcome the rigors of winter.” and condemned ISIS, the abuse of children, hostages in Nigeria, and Ebola, while spreading a message of peace.
The Pope has used his influence as the spiritual leader of all Catholics around the world to affect political outcomes this year. His blessing Thursday included hope for peaceful resolutions of other conflicts around the world. He prayed for reconciliation in Ukraine and for peace in Nigeria, where Islamic militants are killing and kidnapping people in the northern part of the African country.
“May Christ the Savior give peace to Nigeria, where more blood is being shed and too many people are unjustly deprived of their possessions, held as hostages or killed,” he said. He also noted other African countries dealing with a rise in Islamic militant attacks and those fighting the Ebola crisis.