Pope Francis: As Christmas approaches, 'the whole world is at war'

A Vatican official says a statement made by Pope Francis about Christmas festivities happening while the world is at war has been "grossly mistranslated" by media.

Media reports that the Pope called Christmas a 'charade' were 'grossly mistranslated,' Vatican says

Pope Francis, pictured at an event earlier in November, contrasted the festive celebrations of Christmas with the sadness of a 'world at war' while speaking at a mass in Vatican City on Thursday. (Gregorio Borgia/Associated Press)

A Vatican official says a statement made by Pope Francis about Christmas festivities happening while the world is at war has been "grossly mistranslated" by media.

Several media reports have said that the Pope called Christmas "a charade" during a mass at Vatican City last Thursday. 

But Rev.Thomas Rosica, the English-language media attaché for the Holy See press office, told CBC News in an email on Monday that the Pope, speaking in Italian, "never used the word 'charade'" 

"The word that has been badly translated by many in the media has been truccato in Italian," Rosica wrote. "[The word] literally means 'made up,' i.e., with makeup."   

Rosica, who works with the Vatican but is based in Toronto, said in this context, truccato meant "festively bedecked." 

In his homily on Thursday, the Pope 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," according to an English-language Vatican Radio report.

"The Pope referred to the sad state of the world at present and how even in the midst of all the decorations of the season, the world has not learned the way of peace," Rosica said. "In light of the serious situation and crisis situation of the world, we should not cover over everything with tinsel and garlands and external decorations."

'Jesus weeps'

The Pope made the remarks six days after the Nov. 13 Paris shootings and suicide bombings that left 130 people dead. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the deadliest attacks on France since the Second World War. 

At the time, the Pope called the attacks "not human."

ISIS also claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings that killed dozens of people and wounded hundreds more in Beirut the day before the Paris attacks, and for downing a Russian charter jet over Egypt. 

France reacted swiftly to the Paris attacks with airstrikes on the city of Raqqa, ISIS's de facto capital in Syria. French President François Hollande has also called on the U.S. and Russia to join a global coalition to destroy ISIS, declaring that "France is at war."

During the mass on Thursday, the Pope also lamented the world's choice of "the way of war [and] the way of hatred."

"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, and everywhere, there is no justification," the Pope said. "God weeps. Jesus weeps."   

With files from Vatican Radio


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