With a focus on the impact of war, conflict, and inequality on the world’s children, Pope Francis delivered a Christmas Day sermon in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square on Monday that catalogued a multitude of concerns with policies pushed by President Donald Trump as well as previous U.S. presidents.
The Pope restated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was inflamed earlier this month by Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—implicitly siding with the Israelis in the decades-long dispute over the ancient city.
Noting that children “suffer because of growing tensions” in the region, he expressed hope that “the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two states within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders.”
The pontiff’s speech came days after the U.S. was left nearly isolated in its stance at the United Nations, with only seven relatively small countries expressing approval of Trump’s decision, compared with 128 countries that voted to reject the move and 35 that abstained from voting.
The vote came after threats from Trump and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley threatened to pull funding from countries that voted against the U.S.
In addition to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Pope Francis made an appeal for peace on behalf of children living in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, all of which have been engulfed in conflict in recent years.
Civilian deaths have surged under Trump in the U.S. fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, while U.S.-backed Saudi airstrikes in Yemen have left the country in a state of chaos, grappling with a cholera epidemic and a state of near-famine for eight million people.
The Pope addressed the plight of refugees all over the world, without directly calling out Trump’s ban on travelers from several countries and his pledge to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border to keep immigrants out of the country but making a veiled reference to policies that close borders off to refugees.
“Today, as the winds of war are blowing in our world,” the Pope told a crowd of worshippers, “Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the child and to recognize him in the faces of little children, especially those for whom, like Jesus, ‘there is no place in the inn.'”
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