VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Latest on Pope Francis’ Christmas celebrations (all times local):
Pope Francis has offered his Christmas wish for fraternity among people of different faiths, races or ideas, urging the world to put aside “partisan interests” to find a political solution to wars in Syria and Yemen and conflicts in Ukraine and on the Korean peninsula.
Addressing tens of thousands of tourists, pilgrims and Romans in St. Peter’s Square, Francis says Tuesday that the universal message of Christmas is that “God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters.”
Without fraternity, the pope says “even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.” He adds that “our differences, then, are not a detriment or a danger; they are a source of richness.”
Francis made his appeal as trends toward nationalism, fueling suspicion of migrants and refugees, have gained traction in much of the developed world.
Thousands of tourists and Romans have gathered in St. Peter’s Square for Pope Francis’s Christmas message to the world.
Police waved metal-detecting wands as the faithful waited patiently to enter the vast square on a sunny, mild day ahead of the Tuesday noon appearance. Metal-detecting machines were also deployed under the colonnade embracing the square, as part of tight Vatican City security measures.
The Pope’s traditional “Urbi et Orbi” speech — (“to the city of Rome and the world”) — often is an occasion for the pope to speak about the globe’s trouble spots and other violence.
Francis celebrated Christmas Eve Mass on Monday for the faithful in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Awaiting Tuesday’s papal speech from the basilica’s central balcony, tourists admired a life-sized Nativity scene.
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