Pope Francis appeals for peace and unity in New Year's message

Pope Francis has expressed his regret over a lack of unity around the world in his first message of the new year.

In his traditional New Year's Mass at St Peter's Basilica, he lamented continued divisions between people despite having more tools than ever before to connect with each other. 

'How much dispersion and solitude there is all around us. The world is completely connected, yet seems increasingly disjointed,' he said.

He warned that while mankind's pursuits may make money, this could come at the cost of human relationships and dignity. 

'It may well increase its profits, but it will no longer see others as children. It will make money, but not for everyone. We will all dwell in the same house, but not as brothers and sisters,' he said.

His appeal for unity also extended to the Church as he told the Catholic faithful that 'unity counts more than diversity'.  He also appealed to them to keep the faith and never stop being 'amazed' by the Lord. 

In his New Year's Day Angelus delivered to a crowded St Peter's Square, the Pope emphasised peace as one of the gifts from God to humankind that came through Jesus Christ. 

January 1 is observed by Catholics each year as the World Day of Peace.  Reflecting on this year's theme of 'Good politics at the service of peace', the Pope said the responsibility for peacemaking lay not only with political leaders but with every individual. 

'We do not think that politics should be reserved only to political leaders: everyone is responsible for the life of the "city", for the common good; and even politics is good in the measure in which each one does his or her part "in the service of peace",' he said.

The Pope prayed that people would be 'artisans of peace'.  'And that begins at home in the family,' he added.