Video: Frail Pope calls for an end to violence
A frail Pope Benedict called for an end to violence in Syria yesterday but his Christmas day peace appeal was marred by the bombs at Catholic Churches in Nigeria which the Vatican condemned as blind "terrorist violence".
The leader of the world's 1.3 billion Roman Catholics delivered his twice-yearly "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message and blessing to thousands of people in St Peter's Square on a crisp day as millions of others watched on television around the world.
At the end of his address, the 84-year-old pope, celebrating the seventh Christmas season of his pontificate, delivered Christmas greetings in 65 languages.
"May the Lord come to the aid of our world torn by so many conflicts which even today stain the earth with blood," he said, speaking in a firm voice from the balcony of St Peter's Basilica.
The pontiff was fresh off a late-night Christmas Eve Mass during which he urged humanity to see through the superficial glitter and commercialism of the season and rediscover the real significance of the humble birth of Jesus.
"Today Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God's humility, which in turn calls us to humility and simplicity," he said.
"Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light."
"... let us strip away our fixation on what is material, on what can be measured and grasped. Let us allow ourselves to be made simple by the God who reveals himself to the simple of heart," he said.