Pope Francis has said the world is experiencing a “famine of peace” in his Christmas address, known as the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world) gift and message of his pontificate.
He was speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, the same location from which he made his inaugural public appearance as Pope on March 13, 2013, when he was elected.
Pope Francis described the conflict as “senseless” and called for an end to it in Ukraine, where 10 months of violence have resulted in a global energy and food inflation crisis and at least 200,000 military casualties alone.
“May the Lord inspire us to offer concrete gestures of solidarity to assist all those who are suffering, and may he enlighten the minds of those who have the power to silence the thunder of weapons and put an immediate end to this senseless war,” Pope Francis said.
However, he also emphasized the significance of bringing to people’s prayers the suffering of those in Iran, Syria, the Sahel, and Haiti as well as the numerous other global conflicts. In light of the worst year for violence in the decades-long conflict since 2015, he called for continued dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Pope said: “Let us see the faces of all those children who, everywhere in the world, long for peace.”
Pope Francis also called for an end to global violence on Christmas Eve, highlighting how power-hungry avarice and greed were the driving forces behind unnecessary wars.
“As always, the principal victims of this human greed are the weak and the vulnerable,” he said, denouncing “a world ravenous for money, power and pleasure”.
In keeping with this theme, Pope Francis stated in his Christmas address that there was an excessive amount of waste and greed, and that many people were starving.
“On this day, as we sit around a well-spread table, may we not avert our gaze from Bethlehem, a town whose name means ‘house of bread’, but think of all those, especially the children, who go hungry while huge amounts of food daily go to waste and resources are being spent on weapons,” he said.
“The war in Ukraine has further aggravated this situation, putting entire peoples at risk of famine, especially in Afghanistan and in the countries of the Horn of Africa.”
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24 shocking global food markets. Together, the two nations export about 20% of all wheat worldwide.
Russia was alleged to have halted grain exports from occupied southern ports for months, despite Ukraine being referred to as “the breadbasket of Europe” on occasion. A progression of arrangements have been set up to continue sends out yet gathers across Ukraine are essentially more regrettable than before the contention.
Due to sanctions imposed by the US and Europe on Russia’s oil and gas industry, the war has also led to an increase in energy costs.
Countries that are almost entirely dependent on imports, such as Sri Lanka and Jordan, where rising fuel prices have led to street protests, Egypt, which imports almost all of its wheat requirements, and Pakistan, which already has a lot of debt, are among the most vulnerable to the shocks to the food and fuel markets.