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Pope’s Christmas Day Message: Beat Swords Into Ploughshares; Ceasefire in Gaza

Garden at the United Nations Headquarters, New York City. CC/

In his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican on Christmas day, Pope Francis demanded the world’s public be informed of the countless billions spent on weapons, called for beating “swords into plowshares,” and again insisted on a lasting ceasefire in tortured Gaza.

“The eyes and the hearts of Christians throughout the world turn to Bethlehem; in these days, it is a place of sorrow and silence, yet it was there that the long-awaited message was first proclaimed: `To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’ (Lk 2:11)…

“To say `yes’ to the Prince of Peace, then, means saying `no’ to war, to every war and to do so with courage, to the very mindset of war, an aimless voyage, a defeat without victors, an inexcusable folly. This is what war is: an aimless voyage, a defeat without victors, an inexcusable folly. To say `no’ to war means saying `no’ to weaponry. The human heart is weak and impulsive; if we find instruments of death in our hands, sooner or later we will use them. And how can we even speak of peace, when arms production, sales and trade are on the rise?... People, who desire not weapons but bread, who struggle to make ends meet and desire only peace, have no idea how many public funds are being spent on arms. Yet that is something they ought to know! It should be talked about and written about, so as to bring to light the interests and the profits that move the puppet-strings of war.

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