Pope Francis on Tuesday stressed the need for unity and connection in his first address of 2019, largely steering clear of the controversies that plagued the Catholic Church in the previous year.

The Associated Press reported that the pope cited motherhood as an example for others to follow, and warned against the pursuit of selfish profits while noting that "unity counts more than diversity."

“How much dispersion and solitude there is all around us. The world is completely connected, yet seems increasingly disjointed,” Pope Francis said during his traditional New Year’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.


The pope paid tribute to motherhood in his address, saying the world must "learn from mothers that heroism is shown in self-giving, strength in compassion, wisdom in meekness,” he said.

He reportedly did not specifically mention the scandals of the past year but urged Catholics to remain committed to the church.

The Catholic Church dealt in 2018 in with a fresh wave of sexual abuse allegations against priests. 

Earlier this year, a conference of German bishops released a report detailing alleged abuse against 3,677 people between 1946 and 2014, including numerous victims younger than 13.

The German report came roughly a month after a separate grand jury report detailed alleged sexual abuse by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania dating back decades.

The Vatican heard testimony last Thursday from a man who said ex-cardinal and former D.C. Archbishop Theodore McCarrick sexually abused him as a child.

On Monday, the director and deputy director of the Vatican press office resigned abruptly.