The pontiff, at his annual Christmas Eve Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica, called on Christians everywhere to push back against the excesses of modern society, which he said was "so often intoxicated by consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance, appearances and narcissism".
Christianity calls on believers 'to act soberly – in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential,' said the 79-year old pope, leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
In many countries across the world, Christians were fearful for their future, and some were even prohibited from celebrating the holy day, a state of affairs that did not go ignored by Francis.
"In a world which all too often is merciless to the sinner and lenient to the sin, we need to cultivate a strong sense of justice, to discern and to do God's will," the Argentine pontiff said.
Condemning a 'culture of indifference which not infrequently turns ruthless', the pope asked Catholics to combine prayer with an attitude of 'empathy, compassion and mercy' after a year of global unrest that saw one million migrants and refugees, mostly from Syria, reach Europe in search of a better life.


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