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Archbishop of Canterbury to reflect on London Bridge terror attack in Christmas Day sermon | UK News



The Archbishop of Canterbury will reflect on the London Bridge terror attack in his Christmas Day sermon.

Justin Welby will tell those gathered at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent that darkness is a “monster that lies”, as he refers to the attack in the capital last month that left two people dead.

The archbishop is also expected to talk about a recent visit to the city of Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo – where there has been an outbreak of the Ebola virus.

Floral tributes for victims of the terrorist attack, including Jack Merritt, left on London Bridge in central London, after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police on Friday.
Two people died in last month’s London Bridge attack

His sermon will come during a Eucharist service at 11am on Christmas Day.

“Canterbury – a place of some 50,000 people, is a city of peace celebrating Christmas,” he is expected to say.

“Now imagine a city five times this size where its citizens face disease and war this December 25. I was there in October. It is called Beni.

“It has been at the centre of the second worst outbreak of Ebola; about three thousand people have died. Its Anglican bishop is alight with Christ, always present, always giving of himself.

“Darkness is a monster that lies. Its growling claims seem to call out with a louder volume than the love filled whispers of the light.

“We see the shadows out of the corner of our eyes. They may be violence as in the Congo or on London Bridge.”

He is expected to add: “Whether solid or illusion, they are the reality with which we live, if we believe the dark.”

Pope Francis delivers his homily during the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica
Pope Francis said the birth of Jesus was a reminder of God’s unconditional love for everyone

Pope Francis, meanwhile, assured the faithful on Christmas Eve that God loves everyone, “even the worst of us”.

The pontiff celebrated midnight mass at St Peter’s Basilica, unveiling a statue of the newborn Jesus lying in a nativity scene at the foot of the altar.

Francis said the birth of Jesus was a reminder of God’s unconditional love for everyone, “even the worst of us”.

A general view of St. Peter's Basilica during the Pope Francis' Christmas Eve Mass
The pontiff celebrated midnight mass at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican

“God does not love you because you think and act the right way,” he said.

“You may have mistaken ideas, you may have made a complete mess of things, but the Lord continues to love you.”

He called for the faithful to allow themselves to be transformed by Jesus’ “crazy love” and to stop trying to change others.

Pierbattista Pizzaballa leads Christmas Eve mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
A midnight mass was held at the Church of Nativity

“May we not wait for our neighbours to be good before we do good to them, for the church to be perfect before we love her, for others to respect us before we serve them.

“Let us begin with ourselves,” he said.

In Bethlehem, thousands of Christian pilgrims have flocked to celebrate Christmas in the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

Israel's separation barrier

Bethlehem’s struggle for peace

Visitors converged on the West Bank town’s large Christmas tree in Manger Square, which is close to the spot believed to mark Jesus’ birthplace.

The Church of the Nativity, where Christians believe Jesus was born, hosted Palestinian dignitaries and pilgrims from around the world for a midnight Mass.

An estimated 15,000 pilgrims were staying overnight in Bethlehem’s fully booked hotels.

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