(From CNN International) – Pope Francis pleaded for fraternity “among individuals of every nation and culture” in his annual Christmas message at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
“My wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity. Fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture. Fraternity among people with different ideas, yet capable of respecting and listening to one another. Fraternity among persons of different religions,” he said during the “Urbi et Orbi,” or “to the city and the world” address Tuesday.
The pontiff added that he hoped that Israelis and Palestinians would find common ground and renew peace talks.
“May this Christmas help us to rediscover the bonds of fraternity linking us together as individuals and joining all peoples. May it enable Israelis and Palestinians to resume dialogue and undertake a journey of peace that can put an end to a conflict that for over seventy years has rent the land chosen by the Lord to show his face of love,” he said.
Pope Francis specifically prayed for Syria and Yemen, where long-standing conflicts have bred humanitarian disasters and devastated civilian life.
“May the international community work decisively for a political solution that can put aside divisions and partisan interests, so that the Syrian people, especially all those who were forced to leave their own lands and seek refuge elsewhere, can return to live in peace in their own country,” he said.