Pope Benedict XVI

Concern, mixed with joy and hope, were expressed in the words of Pope Benedict XVI this Christmas, during Vigil Mass Christmas eve and again in the Urbi et orbi message, addressed Christmas Day from the central balcony of St. Peter’s basilica to 50 thousand people in St Peter’s Square . The Pope spoke of the Middle East and Africa and launched an appeal to the new leaders of China. “Where God is not glorified, – he said during the Vigil Mass – where he is forgotten or even denied, there is no peace either.” During the Christmas day message he added: ” May the King of Peace turn his gaze to the new leaders of the People’s Republic of China for the high task which awaits them. I express my hope that, in fulfilling this task, they will esteem the contribution of the religions, in respect for each, in such a way that they can help to build a fraternal society for the benefit of that noble People and of the whole world. ”

On Christmas Eve, the Pope had asked for prayers ” that Israelis and Palestinians may be able to live their lives in the peace of the one God and in freedom”. But also for “Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and their neighbours: that there may be peace there, that Christians in those lands where our faith was born may be able to continue living there, that Christians and Muslims may build up their countries side by side in God’s peace. ”
Again during his Christmas to the world broadcast globally on television, radio and on line, he appealed for the people of Syria, and the conflicts innocent victims, for “easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict”.
The Pope also spoke of Egypt, a land “blessed by the childhood of Jesus – may citizens work together to build societies founded on justice and respect for the freedom and dignity of every person. ”
He prayed for the return of peace in Mali and that of concord in Nigeria and Kenya, plagued by terrorism often targeting Christians and for the refugees from the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
But this Christmas, In the Year of Faith, Benedict XVI spoke chiefly of believing. “God cannot enter my heart unless I open the door to him”. And he asked the question “what would happen if Mary and Joseph were to knock at my door. Would there be room for them? “.
In today’s world, will people find room in their hectic, technology-driven lives for children, the poor and God?”. “We are so “full” of ourselves”, he noted “that there is no room left for God. And that means there is no room for others either, for children, for the poor, for the stranger”.
What’s more, today ” widespread currents of thought” accuse religions, and monotheism in particular, of being ” the cause of the violence and the wars in the world”. “It is true” the Pope said “that religion can become corrupted and hence opposed to its deepest essence, when people think they have to take God’s cause into their own hands, making God into their private property. We must be on the lookout for these distortions of the sacred. While there is no denying a certain misuse of religion in history, yet it is not true that denial of God would lead to peace. If God’s light is extinguished, man’s divine dignity is also extinguished”.
Pope Benedict XVI concluded Christmas Day, “Christ’s birth is a flowering of new life for all humanity. May every land become a good earth which receives and brings forth kindness and truth, justice and peace. Happy Christmas to all of you!

A greeting he proceeded to repeat in 65 languages, to the joy of those at the Vatican this Christmas. (www.news.va)