A leading Catholic cleric has warned of the threat of the "darkest night" facing the world in the face of the global economic crisis.
Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool, said the world was suffering from a "terrible hangover" of debt and it was already "night" for hundreds of thousands of people.
"The reality we face this Christmas is the threat of a morning after the night before - such a morning that becomes darkest night," he told the congregation at Liverpool's Catholic Cathedral.
"The mountain of debt touching families, cities, countries, continents is a terrible hangover and it is night for hundreds of thousands."
The archbishop said the Christmas story brought hope and ensured that the darkness would not "overcome" the light.
His remarks were made in a shared homily at Midnight Mass with contributions from church leaders around the Merseyside region.
Organisers said the event had been arranged as an attempt to show the churches' concern and to provide hope and comfort for people affected by the crisis.
Those taking part included the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones and representatives from the Salvation Army, Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed churches.
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