Talk to each other, instead of withdrawing, Pope Francis says in his Christmas message

(Photo: Vatican News)Pope Francis delivers Christmas greetings and his Urbi et Orbi blessing in St. Peter's Square on Dec. 25, 2021.

Pope Francis called on the people of the world and their leaders to talk to one another rather than taking uncompromising stands and distancing that has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our capacity for social relationships is sorely tried; there is a growing tendency to withdraw, to do it all by ourselves, to stop making an effort to encounter others and do things together," Francis said in his traditional Christmas message.

"On the international level too, there is the risk of avoiding dialogue, the risk that this complex crisis will lead to taking shortcuts rather than setting out on the longer paths of dialogue," said the pontiff who turned 85 last week.

"Yet only those paths can lead to the resolution of conflicts and to lasting benefits for all."

Pope Francis disparaged increasing polarisation in personal and international relationships, stresing that only dialogue can resolve conflicts ranging from family feuds to threats of war, reported.

The Pope spoke before a crowd of only a few thousand people on the pandemic on a wet and windy day at the Vatican delivering his 2021 "i" ("To the city and the world") Christmas address, on /dec. 25.

He referred to the pandemic which has now claimed more than 5.37 lives worldwide with more than 276 million cases confirmed according to the World Health Organization.

"On this festive day, let us implore him to stir up in the hearts of everyone a yearning for reconciliation and fraternity."

The live-streamed ceremony began with musical accompaniment by Italy's Carabinieri Band, Catholic News Agency reported.

The Pope mentioned conflicts, tensions or crises in Syria, Yemen, Israel, The Palestinian Territories, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Ukraine, Sudan, South Sudan and elsewhere.

"We continue to witness a great number of conflicts, crises and disagreements.

"These never seem to end; by now we hardly even notice them.

"We have become so used to them that immense tragedies are now being passed over in silence; we risk not hearing the cry of pain and distress of so many of our brothers and sisters," he said.

Francis used the word "dialogue" 11 times in a speech of little more than two pages, Aljazeera reported.

He urged people not to be indifferent to the plight of refugees, migrants, the displaced, political prisoners and female victims of violence, and called on leaders to protect the environment for future generations.


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