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The Pope reflects on pandemic relations in his traditional Christmas speech

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Speaking from the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, the Pontiff described the pandemic as a “complex crisis” that has tested social relations and increased withdrawal trends.

“Our capacity for social relations is very tired,” Francis told the people in the square, as well as the millions of Catholics watching the speech around the world.

“There is a growing tendency to retire, to do it all on our own, to stop striving to meet others and do things together,” he added.

The traditional Christmas speech of the Pope “Urbi et Orbi” or “In the city and in the world” was affected by the pandemic for the second year in a row.

Unlike 2020, this year people were able to come to the square to hear the traditional message, but the number of attendees was only about a fifth of what it was before the pandemic, due to the current increase in coronavirus cases in Italy.

The country reported to break record On Friday, 50,599 new cases of Covid-19, the highest daily figure since the pandemic began, according to health ministry data.

Last year, the Pope delivered the speech from the Apostolic Palace instead of the balcony, without the public being able to attend.

On Christmas Eve, the Pope led a vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica with about 2,000 people in attendance, the director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Matteo Bruni, told CNN.

The pope said on Saturday that the pandemic has also affected dialogue, in relation to the international conflict, which has led people to take “shortcuts instead of taking longer paths” for talks.

“Brothers and sisters, what would our world be like without the patient dialogue of the many generous people who hold families and communities together? In this time of pandemic, we have become more and more aware,” he said.

He urged the world to “open their hearts” to ensure the necessary medical care, especially vaccines, for vulnerable people.

“God-with-us, grant health to the sick and inspire all men and women of good will to seek the best possible ways to overcome the current health crisis and its effects. Open hearts to ensure the necessary medical care and “Vaccines in particular – are provided to those people who need them most. Remunerate those who are generously cared for by relatives, the sick and the most vulnerable among us,” he said.

The leader of the Catholic Church added that the world has become so accustomed to immense tragedies that “we almost don’t realize it”. He called for an end to conflicts across the Middle East and Africa, listing several places, including Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Ethiopia.

The 85-year-old pontiff also used his Christmas message to address violence against women, which he said has increased during the pandemic. In a speech marking his ninth Christmas as pontiff, Francis also highlighted the plight of refugees and migrants.

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