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Pope rebukes those ‘ravenous’ for power in annual Christmas Eve mass | World News

The Pope has used his Christmas Eve mass to rebuke those who are “ravenous” for wealth and power and decry war, poverty and consumerism.

Speaking to around 7,000 pilgrims, tourists and Catholic faithful from St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Pope Francis spoke about the humility of the birth of Jesus.

“While animals feed in their stalls, men and women in our world, in their hunger for wealth and power, consume even their neighbours, their brothers and sisters,” he said.

Pope Francis holds a statue of Baby Jesus as he presides over Christmas Eve Mass, at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis holds a statue of Baby Jesus in St Peter’s Basilica. Pic: AP

“How many wars have we seen? And in how many places, even today, are human dignity and freedom treated with contempt?”

Without referring to a specific event, he said: “As always, the principal victims of this human greed are the weak and the vulnerable.”

He added: “This Christmas, too, as in the case of Jesus, a world ravenous for money, power and pleasure does not make room for the little ones, for the so many unborn, poor and forgotten children.

“I think above all, of the children devoured by war, poverty and injustice.”

He asked those gathered not to allow themselves to be “overcome by fear, resignation or discouragement”, adding “so much consumerism… has packaged the mystery” of Christmas that there was a danger the day’s meaning could be forgotten.

“Jesus was born poor, lived poor and died poor,” the Pope said, adding: “He did not so much talk about poverty as live it, to the very end, for our sake.”

He ended by asking the congregation to “not let this Christmas pass without doing something good.”

Pope Francis, third right, presides over Christmas Eve Mass, at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
St Peter’s Basilica. Pic: AP

Pope Francis left by being pushed in a wheelchair while he was carrying a statue of the baby Jesus, surrounded by children holding flowers.

He placed the baby in a nativity scene in the basilica.

The Pope, 86, has been using a wheelchair to travel across longer distances, while using a cane for shorter ones.

His mass is traditionally delivered at midnight on Christmas Eve, but was moved to 7.30pm two years ago, to allow the congregation to get home before the Italian government’s COVID-19-enforced curfews.

The Vatican has since kept the early start time, despite the lifting of restrictions.

Pope Francis will deliver another address on Christmas Day, where he will talk about world events and give a blessing.

Often known in Latin as Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world), the Christmas Day address is often seen as an occasion to review crises including war, persecution and hunger.

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