Pope laments suffering of children around the world
Pope Francis is recognizing that this isn't a joyous holiday season for people in many parts of the world.
In his Christmas Day speech, delivered to a crowd of tens of thousands in St. Peter's Square, he spoke of children who are "made objects of trade and trafficking" or who are forced to become soldiers.
The pontiff voiced anguish for children who suffer maltreatment or violence -- including the recent terrorist attack on a Pakistani military school.
And he decried the persecution of ancient Christian communities in Iraq and Syria, along with those from other ethnic and religious groups.
While much of his message concerned poor countries, Francis had harsh words for some in affluent nations. He prayed for an end to the hardened hearts "of so many men and women immersed in worldliness and indifference."