Pope Francis has urged Roman Catholics not to ignore the plight of millions of migrants “driven from their land”, during Christmas Eve Mass.
The pontiff compared them to Mary and Joseph, recounting the Biblical story of how they travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem but found no place to stay.
Many migrants, he said, were being forced to flee from leaders who “see no problem in shedding innocent blood”.
He has made defence of migrants around the world a major theme of his papacy.
The number of refugees worldwide exceeds 22 million, with the latest cross-border influx being the Rohingya fleeing violence in Myanmar.
The Pope will give his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and to the world”) Christmas address later on Monday.