Pope marks first Christmas as crowds flock to Bethlehem

Pope Francis held his first Christmas Eve mass in the Vatican by highlighting the role played by humble shepherds in the Nativity, as thousands flocked to the historic site of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem.
At the service in St Peter’s Basilica, the 77-year-old leader of the world’s Catholics said local shepherds were the first to witness the holy birth “because they were among the last, the outcast”.
The Argentine pope, who was elected this year after his predecessor Benedict XVI’s momentous resignation, also called on Catholic believers to open their hearts and struggle against the “spirit of darkness”.

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