12/25/2012, 00.00
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Pope calls on world to give space to the Lord of Peace, born in a cave, rejected now as then

The conflicts in the world are in Benedict XVI’s the thought Christmas Eve and his Christmas Urbi et orbi message, in particular the Middle East. An appeal to the "new leaders" of China to enhance the contribution of religions. Contemporary culture tends to exclude the "question of God" and to accuse monotheistic religions of being the root cause of violence.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - With the birth of Jesus, "the truth has sprung from the earth," in the event " kindness and truth have indeed met; justice and peace have kissed; truth has sprung out of the earth and justice has looked down from heaven. " But it is a peace that the world does not know, because, somehow, it will not accept it, as shown by too many conflicts and wars that still bloody the earth.

There was concern, mixed with joy and hope, in the words of Benedict XVI during the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass and Urbi et Orbi message, addressed today from the central balcony of St. Peter's basilica to 50 thousand people in St Peter's Square . His words spoke of the Middle East and Africa and an appeal to the new leaders of China. " Where God is not glorified, - he said last night - where he is forgotten or even denied, there is no peace either." " the King of Peace -  he said today - May 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. "

A world in which conflicts are present and already yesterday evening the Pope asked for prayers " that Israelis and Palestinians may be able to live their lives in the peace of the one God and in freedom. Let us also pray for the countries of the region, 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. "

"May peace - he said today - spring up for the people of Syria, deeply wounded and divided by a conflict which does not spare even the defenceless and reaps innocent victims. Once again I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict. "

"May peace spring up in the Land where the Redeemer was born, and may he grant Israelis and Palestinians courage to end to long years of conflict and division, and to embark resolutely on the path of negotiation. In the countries of North Africa, which are experiencing a major transition in pursuit of a new future - and especially the beloved land of Egypt, 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. "

"May peace spring up on the vast continent of Asia. May the Child Jesus look graciously on the many peoples who dwell in those lands and, in a special way, upon all those who believe in him".

Believing. In the Year of Faith, the Pope's words remind us that "God has done everything; he has done the impossible: he was made flesh. His all-powerful love has accomplished something which surpasses all human understanding: the Infinite has become a child, has entered the human family. And yet, this same God cannot enter my heart unless I open the door to him".

"Again and again- he had said last night - it astonishes us that God makes himself a child so that we may love him, so that we may dare to love him, and as a child trustingly lets himself be taken into our arms." " I am also repeatedly struck by the Gospel writer's almost casual remark that there was no room for them at the inn. Inevitably the question arises, what would happen if Mary and Joseph were to knock at my door. Would there be room for them? ".

A question that is extended to the question of whether "in today's world, there is no place for God." "Do we have time and space for him? Do we not actually turn away God himself? We begin to do so when we have no time for him. The faster we can move, the more efficient our time-saving appliances become, the less time we have. And God? ". " Even if he seems to knock at the door of our thinking, he has to be explained away. If thinking is to be taken seriously, it must be structured in such a way that the "God hypothesis" becomes superfluous. There is no room for him. Not even in our feelings and desires is there any room for him. We want ourselves. We want what we can seize hold of, we want happiness that is within our reach, we want our plans and purposes to succeed. We are so "full" of ourselves 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 " are the cause of the violence and the wars in the world. If there is to be peace, humanity must first be liberated from them. Monotheism, belief in one God, is said to be arrogance, a cause of intolerance, because by its nature, with its claim to possess the sole truth, it seeks to impose itself on everyone. Now it is true that in the course of history, monotheism has served as a pretext for intolerance and violence. It is true 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. Then the human creature would cease to be God's image, to which we must pay honour in every person, in the weak, in the stranger, in the poor. Then we would no longer all be brothers and sisters, children of the one Father, who belong to one another on account of that one Father. The kind of arrogant violence that then arises, the way man then despises and tramples upon man: we saw this in all its cruelty in the last century. Only if God's light shines over man and within him, only if every single person is desired, known and loved by God is his dignity inviolable, however wretched his situation may be".
The birth of Jesus, the Pope concluded today, " 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 wish that Benedict XVI repeated in 65 languages, including Russian, Mongolian, Kazakh, Georgian, Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Armenian, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Burmese, Urdu, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Sinhalese, Thai, Indonesian, Filipino and Cambodian.



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