Pope Francis used part of his much-awaited annual Christmas speech to condemn ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, for its “brutal persecution” of minorities in Iraq and Syria.
St. Peter’s Square was jam-packed with the faithful, as it always is at this time of year, to listen to the Argentinian Pope deliver his “Urbi et Orbi” blessing and message, marking the second Christmas since his election last year.
Yahoo! reported that the pope also spoke about the plight of millions of people in Africa, as well as calling for end to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
The pontiff continued by condemning the Taliban for its brutal massacre of 130 students at a Pakistani military school, while thanking people who have helped victims of the Ebola epidemic.
In condemning the Islamic State, Pope Francis said to the packed crowd the following.
“I ask him, the Saviour of the world, to look upon our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria, who for too long now have suffered the effects of ongoing conflict, and who, together with those belonging to other ethnic and religious groups, are suffering a brutal persecution.”
In bestowing positive blessings, the pope added, as reported by the BBC today, the following.
“May Christmas bring them hope, as indeed also to the many displaced persons, exiles and refugees, children, adults and elderly, from this region and from the whole world. May indifference be changed into closeness and rejection into hospitality, so that all who now are suffering may receive the necessary humanitarian help to overcome the rigors of winter, return to their countries and live with dignity.”
Pope Francis is looking at a busy year ahead, as he plans to travel to Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the United States, spreading his message of peace and good tidings.
Pope Francis will also be very occupied in the Vatican in 2015 as he plans to implement major reforms to the Curia, the Vatican’s central administration, which will no doubt be accompanied by the usual dose of controversy and arguments.