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Pope Issues Christmas Indulgences to Spread Message of Mercy

Francis said he hoped the indulgence would encourage the faithful in his Holy Year of Mercy.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has issued a Christmas Day indulgence for Catholics around the globe in hopes they spread the church's message of mercy in a world torn by "murderous evil," war and poverty.

Speaking Friday from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, Francis said he hoped the indulgence would encourage the faithful in his Holy Year of Mercy "to welcome God's mercy in our lives, and be merciful with our brothers to make peace grow."

An indulgence is an ancient church tradition related to the forgiveness of sins.

Francis announced the indulgence after delivering his annual "Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world)" speech listing global hotspots and his prayers for an end to human suffering.

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