The Vatican insisted the Pope’s Christmas schedule would not be changed as a result of the security scare.
He appeared in front of the crowds in St Peter’s Square at midday to deliver his traditional Urbi and Orbi message and blessing.
He told those gathered that while the world was hit by a serious financial crisis, it was affected even more by a moral crisis and the pain of war and conflict. Immigration was also a subject.
The pontiff said: “In the face of the exodus of those forced to migrate from their homelands because of hunger, intolerance or environmental degradation, the church calls for them to be made welcome.”