VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is praying that recent U.N.-backed peace agreements for Syria and Libya will quickly end the suffering of their people while praising the generosity of those countries that have taken in their refugees.
Speaking from the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Francis issued a Christmas Day peace appeal Friday for a world torn by war, poverty and extremist attacks. The sun-soaked St. Peter's Square was under heavy security, as it has been since the Nov. 13 Paris attacks.
Francis referred to the "brutal acts of terrorism" that struck the French capital this year as well as conflicts in Africa, the Mideast and Ukraine.
He says "only God's mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst."