Pope Francis calls for peace in his 'urbi et orbi' blessing, denounces 'desperate humanitarian situation' in Gaza

The Pope denounced Monday, December 25 in his traditional Christmas message “the desperate humanitarian situation” in Gaza, calling for the release of the hostages still being held and for an end to the war, “madness without excuses” in the Palestinian territory as elsewhere

Pope Francis calls for peace in his 'urbi et orbi' blessing, denounces 'desperate humanitarian situation' in Gaza

The Pope denounced Monday, December 25 in his traditional Christmas message “the desperate humanitarian situation” in Gaza, calling for the release of the hostages still being held and for an end to the war, “madness without excuses” in the Palestinian territory as elsewhere .

“I carry in my heart the pain for the victims of the heinous attack of last October 7 and I renew an urgent appeal for the release of those who are still held hostage,” Francis, 87, said in his urbi speech and orbi (“to the city and to the world”, in Latin) b

“I call for an end to military operations, with their appalling result of innocent civilian victims, and for the desperate humanitarian situation to be remedied by allowing the arrival of humanitarian aid,” he added in front of several thousands of pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Nearly three months after the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, humanitarian aid, whose entry into Gaza is controlled by Israel, arrives in dribs and drabs from Egypt and the Israeli border crossing of Kerem Shalom , far below the immense needs of the devastated Palestinian territory.

In his homily delivered Sunday evening during Christmas mass in St. Peter's Basilica, he already deplored "the clash of arms" in the Gaza Strip which tarnished the celebrations in Bethlehem - where, according to tradition, Jesus was born -Christ –, in the occupied West Bank.

In the long term, the sovereign pontiff called for “resolving the Palestinian question, through a sincere and persevering dialogue between the parties, supported by strong political will and the support of the international community.”

“Peace for Ukraine”

As every year during this address to humanity broadcast throughout the world, the leader of 1.3 billion Catholics invoked “the prince of peace” – Jesus Christ – to review the main conflicts and sources of tensions in the world.

He cited Syria, Yemen and Lebanon for whom he said he prayed “that they quickly regain political and social stability.” He called for "peace for Ukraine", where millions of Orthodox people participated in religious services from Sunday evening to celebrate Christmas on December 25, for the first time in their history and in a sign of defiance against - vis-a-vis Moscow.

Peace also between Armenia and Azerbaijan, engaged for decades in a territorial conflict, but also in “the Sahel region, the Horn of Africa, Sudan, as well as Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.”

He said he hoped for “pathways of dialogue and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula that could create the conditions for lasting peace.”

The Argentine Pope had a final word for the American continent, urging "the political authorities and all people of good will" to "overcome social and political dissensions" to fight against poverty and "confront the painful phenomenon of migration ".