Pope issues Christmas indulgence to spread message of mercy

Pope Francis delivers his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and to the world) blessing from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Dec. 25, 2015. 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 their refugees in. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis has issued a Christmas Day indulgence for Catholics around the globe in hopes they spread the church’s message of mercy in a world torn by “murderous evil,” war and poverty.

Speaking Friday from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis said he hoped the indulgence would encourage the faithful in his Holy Year of Mercy “to welcome God’s mercy in our lives, and be merciful with our brothers to make peace grow.”

An indulgence is an ancient church tradition related to the forgiveness of sins.

Francis announced the indulgence after delivering his annual “Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world)” speech listing global hotspots and his prayers for an end to human suffering.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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