Pope condemns the power-hungry and refers to Ukraine’s conflict at Christmas Eve mass | Pope Francis

Pope Francis warned at a festive Christmas Eve mass that the level of greed and hunger for power was such that some wanted to “consume even their neighbours”, an apparent reference to the war in Ukraine.

Francis celebrated the 10th birthday of his pontiff, presiding over a crowd of nearly 7,000 at St Peter’s Basilica after several years of limited attendance due to Covid.

About 4,000 other people participated outside in St Peter’s Square on a relatively warm night.

As had been the case for the past several months, a knee ailment had prevented Francis from standing for long periods, and the cardinal’s mandate was to be the chief celebrant in the altar of Christendom’s largest church.

He sat altar-side for most of the Mass, speaking about greed and consumerism on different levels, asking people to look beyond the consumerism that “packaged” the feast, rediscover its meaning, and remember those who suffer from war and poverty. .

He said, “The men and women of our world, in their hunger for wealth and power, consume even their neighbors and their brothers and sisters.” “How many wars have we seen! And how many places, even today, human dignity and freedom are treated with disdain!”

Since Russia invaded its neighbor in February, Francis has spoken out against the war at almost every public event, denouncing what he describes as atrocities and unjustified aggression.

Not specifically mentioned Ukraine Saturday evening.

“As usual, the main victims of this human greed are the weak and the weak,” he said.

“I think above all of the children who have been devoured by war, poverty and injustice.”

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The Pope said a comparison between the infant Jesus born in a manger and today’s poverty: “In the manger of rejection and discomfort, God makes himself present. He comes there because we see the problem of our humanity: the indifference generated by the greedy impulse to possess and to consume.”

Earlier this month, the pope urged people to spend less on Christmas celebrations and gifts and to send the difference to Ukrainians to help them get through the winter.

The Pope celebrated his 86th birthday last week, and aside from a knee ailment, he appears to be in good health in general.

On Sunday he is scheduled to deliver his twice-a-year “Urbi et Orbi” (for the city and the world) blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to tens of thousands of people in the square below.

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