Pope Francis Prays for an End to Coronavirus Plague as He Calls for Healthcare for All and Vaccines for the Poor in Christmas Day Balcony Message as Thousands Stay Away in Fear of Catching Virus

Pope Francis prayed today for an end to the coronavirus pandemic, using his Christmas Day address to urge health care for all, vaccines for the poor and for dialogue to prevail in resolving the world’s conflicts.

Amid a record-setting rise in COVID-19 cases in Italy this week, only a few thousand people flocked to a rain-soaked St. Peter’s Square for Francis’ annual ‘Urbi et Orbi’ (To the city and the world) Christmas address.

Normally the square would be packed with tens of thousands of holiday well-wishers, but many will be grateful they were able to visit the square at all this Christmas, after last year’s lockdown forced Francis to deliver a televised address from inside the Apostolic Palace.

Although Italy this week counted more than 50,000 cases in a single day for the first time, the government has not ordered another lockdown.

The pope’s Christmas Day speech gives him an opportunity to draw a global audience’s attention to conflicts big and small, and this year was no different.

Francis lamented ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, newly flaring tensions in Ukraine and Ethiopia, and an ‘unprecedented crisis’ in Lebanon.

‘We have become so used to them (conflicts) that immense tragedies are now being passed over in silence; we risk not hearing the cry of pain and distress of so many of our brothers and sisters,’ he said from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica as Swiss Guards stood at attention in the square below.

Francis warned of the pandemic tendency to withdraw and isolate, urging instead dialogue to try to resolve the world conflicts.

He prayed in particular for those most affected by the virus, including women and children who have suffered increased abuse during lockdowns.

‘Son of God, comfort the victims of violence against women, which has increased in this time of pandemic. Offer hope to young children and adolescents suffering from bullying and abuse,’ he said.

He prayed for ‘consolation and warmth’ for older adults who are alone, as well as for health care workers who ‘generously devote themselves’ to caring for the sick.

Click here to read more.
Source: Daily Mail