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In Christmas message curbed by Covid, pope calls on nations to share vaccines

GlobalDec 25, 2020 12:30
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© Reuters.

* Pope delivers traditional message virtually due to
Covid-19
* Urges all nations to share Covid-19 vaccines
* Calls for peace, reconciliation in global hot spots

By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY, Dec 25 (Reuters) - Pope Francis called in his
Christmas message on Friday for nations to share Covid-19
vaccines, saying walls of nationalism could not be built to stop
a pandemic that knows no borders.
In a sign of the times, Francis delivered his traditional
"Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message virtually
from a lectern inside the Vatican instead of from the central
balcony of St. Peter's Basilica before tens of thousands.
The pandemic and its social and economic effects dominated
the message, in which Francis called for global unity and help
for nations suffering from conflicts and humanitarian crises.
"At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis
and grave economic and social imbalances only worsened by the
coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for us to
acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters," he said.
Stressing that health is an international issue, he appeared
to criticise so-called 'vaccine nationalism', which U.N.
officials fear will worsen the pandemic if poor nations receive
the vaccine last.
"May the Son of God renew in political and government
leaders a spirit of international cooperation, starting with
health care, so that all will be ensured access to vaccines and
treatment. In the face of a challenge that knows no borders, we
cannot erect walls. All of us are in the same boat," he said.
Italians are under a nationwide lockdown for much of the
Christmas and New Year holiday period. The restrictions mean
people are not be able to go to St. Peter's Square or the
basilica for papal events, all of which have been moved indoors.

CURFEW
Christmas is above all a time to help others because Jesus
himself was born a poor outcast, Francis said on Thursday night
at his Christmas Eve Mass, which started two hours early so the
few participants could get home in time before a 10 p.m. curfew.
"May the Child of Bethlehem help us, then, to be generous,
supportive and helpful, especially towards those who are
vulnerable, the sick, those unemployed or experiencing hardship
due to the economic effects of the pandemic, and women who have
suffered domestic violence during these months of lockdown," he
said in his Friday address.
Francis called for peace and reconciliation in Syria, Yemen,
Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Sudan, Nigeria and Cameroon and
Iraq, which he is due to visit in early March.
He also asked to comfort those suffering from humanitarian
crises or natural disasters in Burkina Fasso, Mali, Niger, the
Philippines and Vietnam.

In Christmas message curbed by Covid, pope calls on nations to share vaccines
 

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