Pope Francis has declared in a sermon that Christmas this year will be a “charade” because “the whole world is at war”.
The pontiff’s speech at the Vatican came after terrorist attacks in France claimed the lives of 129 people; a Russian plane was bombed and dozens of people were killed in a double suicide attack in Lebanon.
Speaking during Mass at the Casa Santa Maria, he said: “We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes - all decked out - while the world continues to wage war.
“It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war.
“A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be - a little here, a little there - there is no justification.”
The sermon cast a serious note on the beginning of the festive season at the Vatican where a giant Christmas tree was unveiled - set to be decorated by December 8 - the start of the the Vatican’s Holy Year.
Pope Francis also spoke of the “innocent victims” of war and also condemned arms dealers for their role in world conflicts.
“What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now?” he asked. “What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers.
"We should ask for the grace to weep for this world, which does not recognise the path to peace,” he said. To weep for those who live for war and have the cynicism to deny it,” he added. “God weeps, Jesus weeps”.