VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis used his traditional Christmas message to call for an end to war and terrorism, and to remember migrants, refugees and those who suffer as a result of “the economic ambitions of the few.”
The pontiff delivered his ‘Urbi et Orbi’ (To the City and to the World) blessing before an estimated 40,000 worshippers who gathered at the Vatican. Crowd numbers were down despite a heightened security presence as major roads were cordoned off around St. Peter’s Square.
Italian authorities have been on high alert since the key suspect in the Berlin Christmas Market attack, which killed 12 people, was gunned down on Friday in a shoot out with police after he fled to Milan.
“Peace to those who have been injured or have lost someone due to brutal acts of terrorism that have spread fear and death in the hearts of so many countries and cities,” the pope said.