Pope Francis’ Christmas message: God loves ‘even the worst of us’

by Editorial Team

Merry Christmas to all — even if you have made “a complete mess of things,” said Pope Francis during Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

This year, the Holy Father’s Christmas message was one of acceptance in face of darkness: don’t you worry if you’ve been naughty, because God loves everyone, “even the worst of us,” he said.

Christmas reminds us that God’s love is unconditional, the 83-year-old pontiff said to a crowd of devout Christians who attended the traditional holiday service.

“To me, to you, to each of us, He says today: ‘I love you and I will always love you, for you are precious in my eyes,'” said Francis.

The message appeared to be a subtle nod to clergy involved in the ongoing crisis of sexual abuse cases that has engulfed the Roman Catholic Church as of late.

“You may have mistaken ideas,” said the pope, “but the Lord continues to love you.”

Last week, in an unprecedented move, the supreme leader of the Catholic faith abolished the “pontifical secret,” a longstanding sexual-abuse secrecy rule which critics viewed as a tool used to protect sexual predators within the Church by not allowing victims to report crimes to authorities.

Another change in church policy upped the age — from 14 to 18 — that the Vatican considers a material to be considered child pornography.

The announcements were celebrated as a follow-up to a summit held by the pope in February, when presidents of bishops conferences from around the world met for four days to discuss the sexual abuse within the Catholic church — and ways to prevent it.

On Christmas Day, Francis returned to St Peter’s Basilica to deliver the traditional papal message to the world and emphasized the need for increased attention to migrants around the world, calling for a softening of “stony and self-centered hearts.”

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