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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Noël. Le pape François appelle à l’hospitalité envers les migrants


Christmas. Pope Francis calls for us to open our arms to migrants.

During his Christmas homily, Pope Francis asked 1.3 million Catholics around the world to be more sympathetic to the plight of migrants.

Translated Saturday 6 January 2018, by Hannah Smith

Jorge Bergoglio was born in Argentina to Italian immigrant parents. His background has aided many of the fundamental themes in his now five-year pontificate. “No one should feel like they do not belong on this earth”, he said in his traditional Christmas Eve homily “Urbi and Orbi” (to the city and the world), which took on a rather political tone.

Midnight mass in old Bethlehem, situated in Jordan - a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel - did not escape the current tensions.

Pierbattista Pizzaballa, a senior Roman Catholic official in the Middle-East, did not take up his expected discourse on Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Traditional chaplains have already expressed their disapproval, but Mr Pizzaballa insisted “Jerusalem is a city of peace and it cannot be peaceful if it is excluded”. He reiterated his point that Jerusalem must be a city in which two groups and three religions reside.

“Jerusalem is our mother” and if a mother loses one of her children she “cannot find peace, therefore let us pray for Jerusalem”, he said in his homily, in the presence of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Mr Trump, who attended a Christmas service on Sunday evening in Florida with his wife Melania, has sparked demonstrations in the Territories following his decision, and tainted the Christmas season for Christians in Palestine.

For Palestinians, Christians and Muslims alike, Washington’s declaration of Jerusalem as capital of Israel, while eastern Jerusalem is where Arabs have been occupied and annexed, undermines the aspiration of creating a capital for their future state. In a press statement, the Palestinian president called for the “Christians of the world to listen to the voices of Christians in the Holylands, who categorically reject Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”.

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