In his Christmas sermon in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Pope Francis stressed that the story of the nativity offers hope in our troubled times. And Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attended the service in Bethlehem, as he has for years.
Christmas begins in Rome with the inauguration of a giant Christmas tree and a larger-than-life Nativity scene in St Peter's Square, as part of the Vatican's seasonal traditions.
The pope has insisted any public criticism of the plight of the Rohingya during his Myanmar trip would have backfired. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have been forced from their homes, accused of being interlopers.
Pope Francis has so far failed to mention the Rohingya on his week-long trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh. At the Rohingya refugee camps Cox's Bazar, those familiar with the pontiff are hoping he will address their plight.
During his trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh, the pope is pushing for "the wealth of our differences" to be part of the conversations between religions. Some in Germany see the Pope's approach as part of a long-term trend.
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