Spe Salvi is an invitation to be messengers of hope to the world, says Mgr Saldanha
by Qaiser Felix
The archbishop of Lahore and chairman of the Pakistan Catholic bishops Conference talks to AsiaNews about Benedict XVI’s new encyclical, which reminds Christians of their role as messengers of hope and invites them to look up to Christ, symbol of new life.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI’s new encyclical “is an outstanding message for the whole world in the present situation,” said Archbishop Lawrence John Saldanha of Lahore about the encyclical Spe Salvi “because our lives are full of depression.” The Pope “stressed that ‘hope’ should be a necessary act in our present life and we should not be depressed.”

“These days,” the chairman of the Pakistan Catholic bishops Conference noted, “we should be certain that Christmas is a symbol of new life and hope because Jesus came to give us eternal life and light.

The document “reminds Christians of their role of messengers of hope. In Pakistan “in the present situation when we are facing a deteriorating law and order situation, extremism and intolerance, there is a need to be more confident in Jesus for His light and hope in this dark and hopeless world.”

These factors of instability “can affect the atmosphere of this Christmas season. Christians must be careful of what they do because we live under emergency rule and this could influence Advent and Christmas preparations. Moreover, prices are high and this is a hindrance for the poor who are so many.”

Still “there are signs of hope. First of all, there is prayer which nothing influences and which remains an unchanging fact for us all. Secondly, for the first time Christians will receive some media coverage. Even state-run television will report on Christmas activities with 30 minutes for the Catholic Church and for Protestant denominations.”