Christmas Eve: Pope Francis calls for humility at scaled-down mass

Rome, Italy - Pope Francis extolled the virtues of humility during a sermon he gave at St Peter's Basilica in Rome on Friday evening to celebrate Christmas Eve.

Pope Francis led the Christmas Holy Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Friday night, Christmas Eve.
Pope Francis led the Christmas Holy Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Friday night, Christmas Eve.  © IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

"Let us not weep for greatness we do not have. Let us stop complaining ... and let us refrain from the greed that always leaves us unsatisfied," the head of the Catholic Church urged in his annual Christmas mass address.

"Christmas is a time when each of us needs to find the courage to take off our armor, discard the trappings of our roles, our social recognition and the glitter of this world and adopt ... humility," the pontiff preached.

The 85-year-old celebrated Christmas Eve in accordance with coronavirus pandemic restrictions for the second year in a row, something Vatican experts speculate he will not have been happy about.

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About 1,500 faithful attended the mass, wearing masks and staying socially distanced as they sat around the central papal altar.

With the strict limits on attendance numbers, the mass on Friday evening was a far cry from the usual Vatican Christmas celebrations.

Pope Francis held a figurine of baby Jesus during the Christmas Holy Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Friday night.
Pope Francis held a figurine of baby Jesus during the Christmas Holy Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Friday night.  © imago/ZUMA Press

The church service was broadcast live from Italy to kick off Christmas Eve celebrations around the world.

Cover photo: IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

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