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Pope urges 'closed nationalism' be set aside so that vaccines reach the most vulnerable first

Catholic church leader uses Christmas Day speech to urge fraternity, survey the pandemic's toll on the world.

Updated: December 25, 2020 - 9:37am

 Pope Francis made a Christmas Day admonition for world leaders to "promote cooperation and not competition" in the race to stop the pandemic, imploring that the most vulnerable be first to get vaccines.

“We can’t let closed nationalisms impede us from living as the true human family that we are,” Francis said Friday in a speech from the Vatican just hours after he celebrated Christmas Eve Mass that was sparsely attended because of COVID restrictions across Europe.

The goal, he said, is "vaccines for everybody, especially for the most vulnerable and needy."

The pope surveyed the toll that COVID-19 has taken in the world, from sickness and death to isolation and domestic violence. He urged citizens to set aside personal interests for a global compassion that spreads to those in need "even though they do not belong to my family, my ethnic group or my religion."

“At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis and grave economic and social imbalances only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for us to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters,” the pope added.

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