LAST UPDATE: 21:00
Pope Francis is celebrating his 84th birthday today.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church in March 2013 and since then, as the Italian press emphasizes, he has always sought direct contact with his faithful and associates: next Monday he will meet with his supreme Vatican clergy for the Christmas wishes, to whom he is expected to reiterate that the Church must always be at the service of the poor and marginalized and not be seen as a means of personal promotion.
In March 2021, Francis will pay a visit to Iraq, where he will meet and support the local Christian minority.
These days, the Pope called on the faithful to discover the deeper content, the true message of Christmas and to understand that everyone must make some sacrifices to overcome the great ordeal of the coronavirus.
The Italian president of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, in his greeting message to Pope Francis, underlined that “people with different religious beliefs, in times of trial and difficulty, have always been able to feel the support and encouragement of the Pope.”
Moreover, Pope Francis, who discreetly celebrated his 84th birthday today, called on all countries today to ensure that the world’s poorest people have access to the vaccine, which could be considered as “a gift” for his birthday.
“I reiterate my call on politicians and the private sector to take appropriate measures to ensure access to vaccines against Covid-19 and the technologies needed to help patients, the poor and most vulnerable people,” he said in his World Day of Peace message.
In this text, which was published today, the pope also notes a surge in various forms of nationalism, racism and xenophobia, and wars and conflicts that bring only death and destruction in their wake.
“Unfortunately, many areas and communities no longer remember the time when they lived peacefully and safely” and “hunger is deeply rooted in [societies] in which it was once unknown,” he said.
Pope Francis also proposed that all money earmarked for military spending be given to a “Global Fund” to permanently eradicate hunger and help the poorest countries to develop.