The 85-year-old read his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message to tens of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square and to millions of others watching around the world.
“This good earth exists, and today too, in 2012, from this earth truth has sprung up! Consequently, there is hope in the world, a hope in which we can trust, even at the most difficult times and in the most difficult situations,” he said.
The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics also condemned conflicts in Mali and Nigeria, where Islamist groups have waged violent campaigns.
“May the birth of Christ favor the return of peace in Mali and that of concord in Nigeria, where savage acts of terrorism continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians,” he said.
In Nigeria, the Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed hundreds in the North, targeting mostly churches.
The Pope further said societies had reached the point where many people’s thinking processes did not leave any room even for the existence of God.
“There is no room for him. Not even in our feelings and desires is there any room for him. We want ourselves. We want what we can seize hold of, we want happiness that is within our reach, we want our plans and purposes to succeed. We are so ‘full’ of ourselves that there is no room left for God.”