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Pope Francis Urges Tolerance, Solidarity in New Year's Day Mass

  • VOA News

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Jan. 1, 2014.
Pope Francis called for greater tolerance and solidarity among humankind during his first New Year's day blessing as pontiff.

The 77-year-old Argentine pope spoke to tens of thousands of people Wednesday in St. Peter's Square. He urged people to become a "community of brothers" and accept each other in their diversity.

Francis called for an end to violence and expressed hope that "the gospel of brotherhood" will knock down the walls that impede enemies from recognizing they are brothers.

"It's time to stop! I, too, think it would be good for us to stop on this road of violence and look for peace. Brothers and sisters, I'll make the words of this man my own; 'What on earth is happening in the hearts of men? What on earth is happening in the heart of humanity, it is time to stop.'"

The Catholic Church dedicates January 1 to the promotion of word peace.