Pope stresses importance of dialogue

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Pope Francis addressed numerous international conflicts in his traditional message on Christmas Day before the solemn blessing “Urbi et orbi” (“To the city and the world”). Many people are affected by sometimes forgotten political crises, the pandemic and natural disasters, the head of the Church said. He stressed the importance of dialogue.

The capacity for social relationships is being severely tested – there is a growing tendency to close oneself off, to want to do everything alone, the pope said. “People refrain from going out, meeting each other and doing tasks together. At the international level, there is a danger of a lack of willingness to dialogue.”

The pandemic, he said, leads to taking shortcuts instead of the longer paths of dialogue. “Dialogue alone, however, leads to conflict resolution and benefits that benefit all and last,” stressed the pontiff, who also pointed to the many trouble spots around the world, including Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.

Francis recalled consequences of Middle East conflict
“Let us remember the continuing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, which drag on unresolved and have ever greater social and political consequences. Let us not forget Bethlehem, the place where Jesus saw the light of day. There, also because of the economic problems caused by the pandemic, people are going through hard times. Because pilgrims are prevented from reaching the Holy Land, and this has a negative impact on the lives of the population,” the pontiff explained to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square under the rain. The number of pilgrims allowed into St. Peter’s Square was limited to prevent excessive crowding.

The pope asked for comfort for the Afghan people, who have been sorely tested for more than 40 years by conflicts that have led many to leave the country, and he called for prayers for Ukraine so that “the metastases of a simmering conflict do not spread.”

Francis also prayed for women affected by violence and for children and young people who suffer bullying and abuse. “Give comfort and affection to the elderly, especially to those who are most lonely. Give serenity and unity to families, the first place of education and the foundation of the social fabric,” the pontiff said.

  • source: orf.at/picture:pixabay.com
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