VATICAN CITY – In his New Years greetings to the world, Pope Francis encouraged people on Saturday to focus on the good that unites them and condemned violence against women while recognizing that the coronavirus pandemic causes many fear and struggles amid economic inequality left behind.
“We are still living in uncertain and difficult times due to the pandemic,” said Francis. “Many are afraid of the future and are burdened by social problems, personal problems, dangers from the ecological crisis, injustices and global economic imbalances.”
Thousands of Rome residents and tourists wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus gathered in St. Peter’s Square on a mild, sunny day to hear Francis introduce his recipe for world peace and cheer his appearance.
Peace, said the Pope, “requires concrete action. It is built by paying attention to the least, promoting justice, having the courage to forgive and thus extinguishing the fire of hatred. “
Francis also advocated a positive attitude “which, in both the Church and in society, does not always see the evil that divides us, but the good that unites us.”
Earlier this Saturday, in his sermon during a mass in St. .
The Roman Catholic Church celebrates January 1st as a day dedicated to world peace, and the Basilica Ceremony honors the special place of the Virgin Mary in faith as the Mother of Jesus.
Mothers “know how to overcome obstacles and disagreements and create peace,” said Francis. “In this way, they turn problems into opportunities for rebirth and growth. They can do this because they know how to hold the different strands of life together, ”said the Pope. “We need people who are able to weave the threads of community instead of the barbed wire of conflict and division.”
He called for efforts to protect women.
“How much violence is directed against women! Enough! To hurt a woman means to offend God, who has accepted our humanity from a woman, ”said the Pope, referring to the Christian belief that Jesus was the Son of God.
He said women, including mothers, “do not look at the world to exploit it but so that it can have life. Women who see with the heart, who can combine dreams and longings with concrete reality without drifting into abstraction and sterile pragmatism. “
While he promised during his papacy to give women a greater role in the Church, Francis also made it clear that the priesthood is reserved for men.
With the exception of the Pope and members of a choir made up of boys and adults, as part of COVID-19 precautions, those attending the mass wore faces.
85-year-old Francis, vaccinated against the coronavirus, wore a surgical mask during a New Year’s Eve prayer service chaired by a Vatican cardinal in the basilica. It was a rare departure from doing without masks during public ceremonies during the two-year pandemic.
In a tweet early Saturday morning, Francis outlined his hope and strategy for peace.
“Everyone can work together to build a more peaceful world, from individual hearts and family relationships, to society and the environment, to relationships between peoples and nations,” Francis tweeted.