Christmas Day : Francis called the world of 1.2 billion Catholics feel compassion for children, in particular, victims of war, migration and homelessness in the mass on Christmas Eve, but also those “not allowed to be born.” Speaking at the 10,000-strong crowd on Saturday, the pontiff urged the faithful to celebrate the “authentic” by recognizing “the fragile simplicity of the little newborn” and “gentle love of diapers.” “Let’s allow the child in the manger, to challenge us, but let’s allow ourselves to be challenged by the children of the modern world,” he said, speaking at St. Peter’s Square. Many children have died this year while attempting a risky Mediterranean migrant moving to Europe, which has claimed more than 5,000 lives in 2016 alone. Thousands of injured Syrians, including children, meanwhile, left the former rebel enclave of Aleppo this week after four months of a suffocating blockade. Children “are hiding under the ground to avoid the bombing” or “on the pavement of a large city at the bottom of a boat overloaded with immigrants,” the pontiff said, before reiterating his opposition to abortion. “Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the children who are not allowed to be born, those who weep, because no one fills their hunger, those who have no toys in their hands and arms,” he said. And the echo of its well-established critique of materialism, Francis also urged the faithful to avoid indifference “when Christmas becomes a feast, where the protagonists are themselves rather than Jesus.” Pope, who celebrated his 80th birthday a week ago, made a simple and modest living hallmarks of his papacy. On Sunday, Francis put his fourth Christmas message to the faithful massed in St. Peter’s Square.
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