Pope Francis calls for dialogue to resolve disputes in Christmas Day address

Pope Francis urged world leaders to be more open to dialogue to heal the world's many "conflicts, crises, and disagreements" during his annual Christmas address Saturday at the Vatican.

Once again speaking outdoors from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica after last year's speech was moved indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Francis said in his Urbi et Orbi address the world needs dialogue to solve multiple ongoing crises, especially during a pandemic that has intensified physical and spiritual isolation.


"Sisters and brothers, what would our world be like without the patient dialogue of the many generous persons who keep families and communities together?" he said. "In this time of pandemic, we have come to realize this more and more.

"Our capacity for social relationships is sorely tried; there is a growing tendency to withdraw, to do it all by ourselves, to stop making an effort to encounter others and do things together."

Even among nations, the Pope added, "there is the risk of avoiding dialogue, the risk that this complex crisis will lead to taking shortcuts rather than setting out on the longer paths of dialogue. Yet only those paths can lead to the resolution of conflicts and to lasting benefits for all."

On the crisis in Syria, he said that the country has  experienced war for more than a decade, which has resulted in many victims and an untold number of displaced persons.

He also touched on Yemen where “an enormous tragedy, overlooked by everyone, has silently gone on for years, causing deaths every day.”

“Let us recall, too, the continuing tensions between the Israelis and the Palestinians that drag on without a resolution, with ever more serious social and political consequences,” he said.