Pope likens Mary and Joseph to modern-day migrants

The late evening service was the pope’s first public Christmas appearance. Associated Press

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Pope Francis on Sunday compared the journey of Mary and Joseph to those of millions of modern-day migrants forced to leave their homeland for survival or a better life, expressing hope during his Christmas vigil Mass that that no one will feel that “there is no room for them on this Earth.”

Celebrating the late evening Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Francis said Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem brought them to a land “where there was no place for them,” adding, “So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary. … We see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away, but driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones.”

Invoking the New Testament tyrant whose vow to kill Jesus prompted Mary and Joseph to flee to Egypt, Francis said some modern-day migrants are “surviving the Herods of today, who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood.”

But Christmas, he said, is a time “for turning the power of fear into the power of charity.”

► Saturday: Are Christmas trees religious? Well, yes … and no.
► Friday: Lithuania sends Pope Francis ‘world’s smallest’ nativity scene for Christmas
► Thursday: Prayer may help relieve stress, but fewer Americans make time for it

The late evening service was the pope’s first public Christmas appearance.

His Christmas Day message “urbi et orbi” — Latin for “to the city and to the world” — is to be delivered Monday from the central loggia of the basilica overlooking St. Peter’s Square. The message trad

This week, Francis sent out a series of simple messages on Twitter suggesting that Catholics rethink the annual celebration. The messages included one Friday proclaiming: “Let us free Christmas from the worldliness that has taken it hostage! The true spirit of Christmas is the beauty of being loved by God.”

On Sunday, he tweeted: “Contemplating the Baby Jesus, with His humble and infinite love, let us say to Him, very simply: ‘Thank you for doing all this for me!’ “

Francis on Thursday used an annual Christmas greeting to denounce the “cancer” of Vatican cliques, ambition and vanity, telling cardinals, bishops and priests who work for him, “Reforming Rome is like cleaning the Egyptian sphinxes with a toothbrush. You need patience, dedication and delicacy.”

Francis has made a tradition of inviting Vatican bureaucrats each Christmas for a Jesuit-style examination of conscience. His harshest critique came in 2014 when he listed the 15 “ailments” suffered by some in the group, including the “terrorism of gossip,” “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and of living “hypocritical” double lives.

Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Greg Toppo on Twitter: @gtoppo

itionally notes world events and trouble spots while aiming to strike a hopeful note as the year winds down, The Associated Press reported.

 

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, USATODAY Published  Dec. 24, 2017

The late evening service was the pope’s first public Christmas appearance. Associated Press

4 LINKEDIN 37 COMMENTMORE

Pope Francis on Sunday compared the journey of Mary and Joseph to those of millions of modern-day migrants forced to leave their homeland for survival or a better life, expressing hope during his Christmas vigil Mass that that no one will feel that “there is no room for them on this Earth.”

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Celebrating the late evening Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Francis said Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem brought them to a land “where there was no place for them,” adding, “So many other footsteps are hidden in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary. … We see the tracks of entire families forced to set out in our own day. We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away, but driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones.”

Invoking the New Testament tyrant whose vow to kill Jesus prompted Mary and Joseph to flee to Egypt, Francis said some modern-day migrants are “surviving the Herods of today, who, to impose their power and increase their wealth, see no problem in shedding innocent blood.”

But Christmas, he said, is a time “for turning the power of fear into the power of charity.”

► Saturday: Are Christmas trees religious? Well, yes … and no.
► Friday: Lithuania sends Pope Francis ‘world’s smallest’ nativity scene for Christmas
► Thursday: Prayer may help relieve stress, but fewer Americans make time for it

The late evening service was the pope’s first public Christmas appearance.

His Christmas Day message “urbi et orbi” — Latin for “to the city and to the world” — is to be delivered Monday from the central loggia of the basilica overlooking St. Peter’s Square. The message trad

This week, Francis sent out a series of simple messages on Twitter suggesting that Catholics rethink the annual celebration. The messages included one Friday proclaiming: “Let us free Christmas from the worldliness that has taken it hostage! The true spirit of Christmas is the beauty of being loved by God.”

On Sunday, he tweeted: “Contemplating the Baby Jesus, with His humble and infinite love, let us say to Him, very simply: ‘Thank you for doing all this for me!’ “

Francis on Thursday used an annual Christmas greeting to denounce the “cancer” of Vatican cliques, ambition and vanity, telling cardinals, bishops and priests who work for him, “Reforming Rome is like cleaning the Egyptian sphinxes with a toothbrush. You need patience, dedication and delicacy.”

Francis has made a tradition of inviting Vatican bureaucrats each Christmas for a Jesuit-style examination of conscience. His harshest critique came in 2014 when he listed the 15 “ailments” suffered by some in the group, including the “terrorism of gossip,” “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and of living “hypocritical” double lives.

Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Greg Toppo on Twitter: @gtoppo

itionally notes world events and trouble spots while aiming to strike a hopeful note as the year winds down, The Associated Press reported.