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The ITV News presenter left viewers in shock after mistakenly saying Pope Francis had died on Christmas Day. The newsreader was discussing the Holy Father’s annual Urby et Orbin homily when she seemingly fell victim to a Freudian slip and announced the Pope had died. Viewers were left in shock despite the news host quickly apologising for the mishap.

The ITV Evening News presenter said: “He said vaccines should be made available to those most in need.

“His death was announced…excuse me.”

The blunder sparked a frenzy on social media, with social media consultant Matt Navarra commenting: “ITV News just announced the death of the pope on Christmas Day. Classic. *the pope is not dead.”

@samalam shared footage of the mishap on Twitter with the comment: “did they just accident announce the pope was dead on ITV?! #itvnews #thepope.”

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The Pope delivered his annual Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) Christmas speech from St Peter’s Basilica.

Francis called on individuals and world leaders to talk to each other rather than dig in their heels, a distancing he said has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pope said: “Our capacity for social relationships is sorely tried; there is a growing tendency to withdraw, to do it all by ourselves, to stop making an effort to encounter others and do things together.

“On the international level too, there is the risk of avoiding dialogue, the risk that this complex crisis will lead to taking shortcuts rather than setting out on the longer paths of dialogue. Yet only those paths can lead to the resolution of conflicts and to lasting benefits for all.

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He listed conflicts, tensions, or crises in Syria, Yemen, Israel, The Palestinian Territories, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Ukraine, Sudan, South Sudan, and elsewhere.

The Pope asked God to “give serenity and unity to families”, praising those who strive to keep them and communities together in such divisive times.

He added: “Let us ask him for the strength to be open to dialogue. On this festive day, let us implore him to stir up in the hearts of everyone a yearning for reconciliation and fraternity.”

Francis asked God to “prevent fresh outbreaks of a long-festering conflict” in Ukraine, which has accused Russia of massing tens of thousands of troops in preparation for a possible large-scale military offensive.

Russia denies planning any attack and accuses Ukraine and the United States of destabilising behaviour, saying it needs security guarantees for its own protection.

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