Acknowledging Latin America's predominant Christian population, he urged government leaders to carry out commitments to development and to fighting organized crime.
In Britain, the royal family was attending Christmas Day church services at St. Mary Magdelene Church on Queen Elizabeth II's sprawling Sandringham estate, though there were a few notable absences. Prince William is spending the holiday with his pregnant wife Kate and his in-laws in the southern England village of Bucklebury, while Prince Harry is serving with British troops in Afghanistan.
Later Tuesday, the queen delivered her traditional, prerecorded Christmas message, which for the first time was broadcast in 3D.
At Canterbury cathedral, Anglican leader Rowan Williams delivered his final Christmas day sermon as archbishop of Canterbury. He acknowledged how the church's General Synod's vote against allowing women to become bishops had cost credibility and said the faithful felt a "real sense of loss" over the decision.
In the U.S., the Rev. Jesse Jackson brought his message of anti-violence and gun control to a Chicago jail, using his traditional Christmas Day sermon at the facility to challenge inmates to help get guns off the streets.
"We've all been grieving about the violence in Newtown, Connecticut, the last few days," he told reporters after addressing inmates, referring to the school shooting that killed 26 children and adults. "Most of those here today ... have either shot somebody or been shot. We're recruiting them to help us stop the flow of guns."