Religious leaders reflect on 'our imperfections' in their Christmas messages

The Pope delivers his homily during the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. (Getty)

The world’s religious leaders have spoken of the need to reflect on “our imperfections” in their Christmas messages.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is expected to make reference to the recent London Bridge terror attack in his Christmas sermon.

While Pope Francis alluded to the scandals within the Catholic church and said God continues to love even those who have “made a complete mess of things”.

"Christmas reminds us that God continues to love us all, even the worst of us. To me, to you, to each of us, he says today: 'I love you and I will always love you, for you are precious in my eyes,'" the 83-year-old pontiff said.

Justin Welby is expected to make reference to the London Bridge terror attack in his Christmas sermon on Wednesday. (Getty)

"God does not love you because you think and act the right way. He loves you, plain and simple. His love is unconditional; it does not depend on you."

Appearing to address the current sexual abuse scandals within the Catholic church, Pope Francis said: "Whatever goes wrong in our lives, whatever doesn't work in the Church, whatever problems there are in the world, will no longer serve as an excuse."

During a service at Canterbury Cathedral on Christmas Day, Justin Welby is expected to speak about the influence of “darkness” and the importance of recognising “our imperfections”.


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"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,” he will say.

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

"Whether solid or illusion, they are the reality with which we live, if we believe the dark.

"The closer we get to the light the more our imperfections are revealed.”

Meanwhile in his homily on Christmas Eve, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, encouraged worshippers to find "the goodness of God in every person".

And Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis posted a message on Twitter in which he wished those celebrating Christmas “peace and fulfilment”.

“May all those who are celebrating #Christmas together with their family and loved ones, be blessed with peace and fulfilment,” he tweeted.