Pope hopes ‘peaceful coexistence’ will prevail in Americas

Pope Francis looks at the crowd before delivering the Urbi et Orbi Christmas day blessing
Associated Press/Gregorio Borgia

Pope Francis on Saturday said he hopes “peaceful coexistence” will prevail in the Americas during his Christmas message.

“Grant that through dialogue, mutual respect and recognition of the rights and cultural values of every human being, the values of solidarity, reconciliation and peaceful coexistence may prevail in the hearts of the peoples of the Americas,” Francis said, according to the Catholic News Agency.

The pope, who spoke from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in a change from the previous year after the pandemic forced changes to the annual holiday address, also called for increased dialogue in personal relationships and on the world stage, arguing that “only those paths can lead to the resolution of conflicts and to lasting benefits for all.”

“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,” the pope said.

“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,” he added. 

The pope on Saturday said that “a great number of conflicts, crises and disagreements” continue to persist amid the pandemic, adding that they “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 added.

The pontiff also pointed to conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon and continued tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

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