Tens of thousands of people turned out to hear the Pope’s Christmas Day message in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
Pope Francis spoke about Ebola, the Pakistan school tragedy and called for an end to conflicts in African countries and between Israelis and Palestinians.
He also condemned the “brutal persecution” of minorities by Islamic State insurgents.
“My thoughts go to all children that are killed and abused today. Children displaced because of wars and persecution, abused and exploited under our eyes and our complicit silence”, he declared.
It was the Pontiff’s second “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing since his election last year.
On Christmas eve, the 78-year-old made a surprise phone call to Christian refugees in a camp in Ankawa in Iraq telling them “You are like Jesus on Christmas night. There was no room for him eithe .”