Pope Francis calls for peace in Nigeria in Christmas message, urges nations to share COVID-19 vaccine

Pope Francis calls for peace in Nigeria in Christmas message, urges nations to share COVID-19 vaccine

Pope Francis has prayed for peace in Nigeria in his 2020 annual Christmas message delivered at the Vatican.

The Pope made the call on Thursday night, December 24, 2020.

Further, the Vicar of the Catholic Church has called on nations to share Covid-19 vaccines; even as he added that walls of nationalism could not be built to stop a pandemic that knows no borders.

In addition to Nigeria, Pope Francis prayed for peace and reconciliation in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Sudan, Cameroon and Iraq; which he is due to visit in early March. Also, he sought comfort for those suffering from humanitarian crises or natural disasters in Burkina Faso; as well as Mali, Niger, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope 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 Pope 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.

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Pope Francis

Further, the head of the Roman Catholic Church appeared to criticise so-called ‘vaccine nationalism’; which UN 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 co-operation; 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.

Pope Francis stated that Christmas is above all a time to help others because Jesus himself was born a poor outcast.

“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 Thursday night at his Christmas Eve Mass, which started two hours early so the few participants could get home in time before a 10pm curfew.



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