12/29/2008, 00.00
TURKEY
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Bartholomew I: the Nativity, the only reality against falsehood and illusions

by NAT da Polis
The Nativity message of the ecumenical patriarch stresses that "the hopes" of men - including finance - have now been unmasked and humiliated. Young people are also suffering and protesting over the uncertainty of their future. The Church proclaims the only way to dispel the darkness enveloping the planet.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - The celebrations of the Nativity are "the only response to the evils that afflict the world," crushed by the falsehoods of the financial world and by the illusions fed to the young, genuine "secularized divinities," "unmasked" by history. These are the statements of Bartholomew I, Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, in his message for the Nativity addressed to the entire world.

"The birth of our Lord," the message emphasizes, "does not promise us a chimerical beatitude or an abstract eternity, but offers us the possibility of participating in the divine life . . . In a world in full crisis and confusion, these words imbued with truth sound strange. The hopes of most men, based mainly on secularized truth and divinity, have been unmasked and humiliated. The human personality has been crushed by statistics, surveys, computers, and finance: things devoid of content. Nature is constantly offended, and the environment suffers; the young have been deceived and are rebelling, protesting against the injustices of the present and the uncertainty of their future. A veil of darkness envelops our planet, and one gets the impression that there is a desire to conceal the message that comes from Bethlehem."

"But the Church," asserts Bartholomew I, "calls everyone to a more wise consideration of everything, and to a reevaluation of the priorities in our lives, in respect of the person and of God. And it will never stop proclaiming in a loud voice, thanks in part to its millennia-old experience, that the Child born in the crib in Bethlehem is the only hope for all, he is the Word and the entelechia [editor's note: fulfillment] of life, he is the liberation sent by our God for his entire people."

"The incarnation of the Son of God," the ecumenical patriarch says, "is not a symbolic event, like the incarnations professed by the various mythologies, but is a historical reality that took place at a precise historical moment. This event, the incarnation of the Word, gives us the possibility of overcoming our limitations, not in the sense of an attainment of virtue, as proclaimed by the Greek philosophers, nor with the serenity professed by Buddhism or by other elements of Eastern spirituality, like karma or reincarnation."

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