Pope Francis condemned human greed and exaggerated consumption during the Christmas night mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. He reminded that “not material wealth but love feeds life”.

“In our time many people find meaning for their lives, in having an abundance of material objects,” said the Pope in his homily. “An insatiable greed characterizes the entire human history. That is also the case today. It is paradoxical that a few dine luxuriously, while too many others do not even have the daily bread to survive.”

“When we think of the manger where Jesus was born, we understand that not material wealth but love feeds life, not greed but charity, no pompousness but simplicity,” says Pope Francis

©REUTERS – Cardinals in golden robes attend the Christmas night Mass of the Pope in Rome.

Full basilica

The service of the Pope on Christmas Eve, when the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated, is one of the most important in the Catholic liturgy. Francis entered the full basilica shortly before 9:30 PM. He was preceded by a procession of about forty cardinals in golden robes.

©REUTERS – Pope Francis kisses the image of the baby Jesus at the beginning of the Christmas night mass in St. Peter’s in Rome.

Before the Mass the Pope took away a canvas that lay over a statue of the baby Jesus, after which he kissed the statue. Ten children from Italy, China, Panama, Congo, Romania and Japan added flowers.

“Love feeds life, not material wealth”

At the end of the one-and-a-half-hour service, the Pope picked up the Jesus statue the size of a doll. Accompanied by the children, he brought the statue to an image of Christ’s birth in the basilica. “When we think of the manger where Jesus was born, we understand that not material wealth but love feeds life, not greed but charity, not pompousness but simplicity,” the Pope preached.

“At Christmas we should not lose our foundations or slip into the worldly and excessive consumption drive”, according to the Pope. “We have to ask ourselves: do I share my bread with those who do not have bread?”

©REUTERS – The Pope leads the Christmas night mass in St. Peter’s in Rome.

No pomp and protocol

As a pope Francis makes a point of avoiding pomp and protocol. Instead, he devotes his time to the poor. He visits prisons, hospitals, migrant or refugee camps, and invites homeless people to the Vatican for a meal.

At the same time that the Pope presided over the night mass in Rome, Cardinal-State Secretary Pietro Parolin, the highest director of the Roman Catholic Church after the Pope, led a Christmas celebration in Baghdad. The celebration symbolized solidarity with the troubled Christian minority in Iraq.

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