The 180 ambassadors to the Vatican gathered for a traditional New Year greeting by the Pope to the diplomatic corps.
Speaking in Italian, the Pope expressed hope the crisis in Syria will end and the next week's scheduled conference in Geneva, Switzerland, will mark the beginning of the peace process, and praised neighboring countries that have welcomed Syrian refugees, Vatican Radio reported.
He urged that "the moral force of law" must prevail over "the material force of arms," using the same words his predecessor, Pope Benedict XV, used in 1914 at the start of World War I.
The Pope added the Catholic Church would continue to work for reconciliation and peace in the Central African Republic, and called on all parties to seek reconciliation on the Korean peninsula, noting with concern the "growing attitudes of prejudice, for allegedly religious reasons...that deprive Christians of their liberties and jeopardize civil coexistence."
Millions of Getty images now available for free via embed tool
NBC reportedly holds celebs hostage to Jimmy Fallon's show