VATICAN CITY (AP) — Recalling Jesus’ beginning in a steady, Pope Francis rebuked these “ravenous” for wealth and energy on the expense of the weak, together with kids, in a Christmas Eve homily decrying conflict, poverty and grasping consumerism.

Within the splendor of St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis presided over the night Mass attended by about 7,000 trustworthy, together with vacationers and pilgrims, who flocked to the church on a heat night and took their place behind rows of white-robed pontiffs.

Francis drew classes from the humility of Jesus’ first hours of life in a manger.

“While animals feed in their stalls, men and women in our world, in their hunger for wealth and power, consume even their neighbors, their brothers and sisters,” the pontiff lamented. “How many wars have we seen! And in how many places, even today, are human dignity and freedom treated with contempt!”

“As always, the principal victims of this human greed are the weak and the vulnerable,’’ said Francis, who didn’t cite any specific conflict or situation.

“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,’’ the pope said, reading his homily with a voice that sounded tired and almost hoarse. “I think above all of the children devoured by war, poverty and injustice.”

Nonetheless, the pontiff exhorted individuals to take coronary heart.

“Do not allow yourself to be overcome by fear, resignation or discouragement.” Jesus’ mendacity in a manger exhibits the place “the true riches in life are to be found: not in money and power, but in relationships and persons.”

Remarking on the “so much consumerism that has packaged the mystery” of Christmas, Francis stated there was a hazard the day’s which means might be forgotten.

However, he stated, Christmas focuses consideration on “the problem of our humanity — the indifference produced by the greedy rush to possess and consume.”

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

Francis urged individuals to “not let this Christmas pass without doing something good.”

When the Mass ended, the pope, pushed in a wheelchair by an aide, moved down the basilica with a life-sized statue of Child Jesus on his lap and flanked by a number of kids carrying bouquets. The statue then was positioned in a manger in a creche scene within the basilica.

Francis, 86, has been utilizing a wheelchair to navigate lengthy distances attributable to a painful knee ligament and a cane for shorter distances.

Historically, Catholics mark Christmas Eve by attending Mass at midnight. However over time, the beginning time on the Vatican has crept earlier, reflecting the well being or stamina of popes after which the pandemic.

Two years in the past, the beginning of Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica was moved as much as 7:30 p.m. to permit trustworthy to get residence earlier than for a nighttime curfew imposed by the Italian authorities as a measure to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Though just about all pandemic-triggered restrictions have lengthy been lifted in Italy, the Vatican stored to the early begin time.

Throughout Saturday night’s service, a choir sang hymns. Clusters of potted purple poinsettia vegetation close to the altar contrasted with the cream-colored vestments of the pontiff.

On Sunday, tens of hundreds of Romans, vacationers and pilgrims have been anticipated to crowd into St. Peter’s Sq. to listen to Pope Francis ship an handle on world points and provides his blessing. The speech, identified in Latin as “Urbi et Orbi” (to town and to the world), usually is an event to assessment crises together with conflict, persecution and starvation, in lots of elements of the globe.


Related Press journalist Luigi Navarra contributed.

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