Speed Reads

The Light Shines in the Darkness

In Christmas message, Pope Francis warns against becoming desensitized to suffering and strife

Pope Francis delivered his annual Urbi et Orbi ("to the city and the world") Christmas address from a balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square Saturday, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The pope highlighted the social costs of the COVID-19 pandemic — including loneliness and increased rates of domestic violence — as well as ongoing conflicts in the Syria, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and elsewhere, according to BBC News.

"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," he said. "We continue to witness a growing number of conflicts, crises, and disagreements. These never seem to end and by now we hardly even notice them."  

Friday evening, Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica before a congregation of about 2,000 worshippers. Only around 200 people were permitted last year due to COVID restrictions.

"God does not rise up in grandeur but lowers himself into littleness," the pope said during his homily. God "makes himself little in the eyes of the world while we continue to seek grandeur in the eyes of the world, perhaps even in his name." He urged his flock to remember that God's love is unconditional and that God is with them even in the most seemingly mundane and insignificant moments of their lives.