Pope Francis has wished Christmas peace on people scarred by wars and those who lost loved ones to terrorism that he says is sowing “fear and death” in many cities and countries.
Speaking from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Sunday, Francis cited those suffering through the Syrian war, especially during the “most awful battles” in Aleppo.
He pressed the international community to find a negotiated solution. He urged Israelis and Palestinians to abandon hate and revenge.
He also lamented that in Nigeria “fundamentalist terrorism exploits even children”, a reference to child suicide-bombers.
He decried conflicts and tensions in Africa, eastern Ukraine, Burma, the Korean peninsula, Colombia and Venezuela.
Tens of thousands of faithful entering St Peter’s Square endured long lines for security checks.