Dec. 25 - The Pope conducts his first Christmas Eve midnight mass but events elsewhere took place in the shadow of conflict. Paul Chapman reports.
This was Pope Francis's first Christmas Eve midnight mass. About 10, 000 packed St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Others watched on large screens in the square outside. The leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics used the event to urge people to shun pride and selfishness. In Iraq Christmas Eve midnight mass was celebrated in the capital for the first time in ten years. Some of the congregation in Baghdad were in optimistic mood. (SOUNDBITE)(English) IRAQI CHRISTIAN WILLIAM WARDA SAYING: "This year was different in that it was a holiday for all Iraqis, because for others like Muslims and the Yazidis and Sabians, now they are on vacation. They feel that they are participating with the Christians in this day." Here in Karachi about 300 members of Pakistan's small Christian community celebrated Christmas under a shadow of fear. The country has seen bomb attacks by Sunni Muslims against those they see as heretical and churches have been among the targets. A similar mass in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, revered as the birth place of Jesus, drew hundreds of worshippers. The Palestinian president and prime minister, and European Union Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton were among them. The Palestinian tourism ministry said there'd been a boost as 50, 000 foreign and local pilgrims descended on the town on Christmas Eve.