Despite the belief by Christians that the fact that Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day is cause for celebration, Pope Francis has taken a contrary view by saying that the combination of hatred and war has rendered the overall message of Christmas to be useless.
The Pope made these statements on November 19 at the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta in response to recent terrorist attacks in both Paris and Beirut, as well as the bombing of a Russian plane that killed over 200 people earlier this month. The references to Christmas came because his comments were in conjunction with the presentation of the Vatican’s 82-foot Christmas tree.
Deriding the buildup that will see a combination of parties, bright lights and scenes of the Nativity, Pope Francis stated that such activities were what he called a charade. His belief is that because peace hasn’t been at the forefront of the philosophy of every world leader, the joy surrounding the holiday should be replaced by weeping.
Using even stronger language to describe those who end up profiting from war, the Pope specifically targeted arms dealers, who he said have chosen riches over God. Then, including all those who commit terrorism or leaders who begin wars, he indicated that they were cursed and referred to them as criminals.
Since being elevated to the papacy in March 2013 following the resignation of Pope Benedict, Pope Francis hasn’t shown any inclination toward softening his opinions about the topic of war.
Nearly one year ago, he decried spending money on nuclear weapons, since he stated that it was squandering the wealth of every country that makes such purchases. Instead, that money should be directed at eradicating the most severe forms of poverty, allowing education to flourish and helping keep all people healthy.
His comments about arms dealers are similar to those that he made to a crowd of approximately 7,000 children this past May. In that instance, he referred to companies that offer weapons for war as an “industry of death.”
Then, during his speech before Congress during his September visit to the United States, the Pope reiterated his opposition to all aspects of war and hate. This was particularly notable, given the fact that the United States has been a partner in a number of arms deals.
For example, the previous $60 billion arms deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia was indirectly mentioned by the Pope. He commented that weapons were now being used on innocent victims of the conflict in Syria, as well as other contentious areas like Yemen.
Previous, current and future sales from the United States to Israel, in order for the latter to defend themselves, could also be perceived to be connected to the Pope’s comments before American politicians.