Christmas has been taken hostage by materialism and commerce: Pope Francis

Pope Francis said Christmas has been �taken hostage� by dazzling materialism that puts God in the shadows and blinds many to the needs of the hungry.

Christmas has been taken hostage by materialism and commerce: Pope Francis

Pope Francis said Christmas has been “taken hostage” by dazzling materialism that puts God in the shadows and blinds many to the needs of the hungry.

Speaking to an audience in Rome of thousands of people and a worldwide audience of millions, the 80-year-old pontiff the pope on Sunday said, “If we want to celebrate Christmas authentically, we need to contemplate this sign — the fragile simplicity of a small newborn, the meekness of where he lies, the tender affection of the swaddling clothes. God is there.”


Pope said that the world often obsessed with gifts, feasting and self-centredness needed more humility.

The Pope called for an end to the fighting in Syria saying "far too much blood has been spilled" in the conflict. He spoke of those caught up in violence in Syria, and those that have been forced to leave their homes. On Syria, the pontiff said the international community must "actively seek a negotiated solution" to the five-year war.

He said Israelis and Palestinians must come together to "write a new page of history" amid heightened tension after Friday's UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements on occupied land.

He also denounced global terrorism, which he said, "had sown fear and death into the hearts of so many countries and cities".

“Jesus was born rejected by some and regarded by many others with indifference,” he added in his Christmas Eve message. “Today also the same indifference can exist, when Christmas becomes a feast where the protagonists are ourselves, rather than Jesus. When the lights of commerce cast the light of God into the shadows; when we are concerned for gifts, but cold toward those who are marginalised.”

In remarks that were not included in the original transcript, the pope, told the audience, “This worldliness has taken Christmas hostage,” adding that we need to be “freed” from it.