Urbi et Orbi: Christmas 2006

Here is an excerpt from the Holy Father’s message for the blessing Urbi et Orbi.  He is speaking directly to us, I think.  My emphasis:

[D]oes a "Saviour" still have any value and meaning for the men and women of the third millennium? Is a "Saviour" still needed by a humanity which has reached the moon and Mars and is prepared to conquer the universe; for a humanity which knows no limits in its pursuit of nature’s secrets and which has succeeded even in deciphering the marvellous codes of the human genome? Is a Saviour needed by a humanity which has invented interactive communication, which navigates in the virtual ocean of the internet and, thanks to the most advanced modern communications technologies, has now made the Earth, our great common home, a global village? This humanity of the twenty-first century appears as a sure and self-sufficient master of its own destiny, the avid proponent of uncontested triumphs.

So it would seem, yet this is not the case. People continue to die of hunger and thirst, disease and poverty, in this age of plenty and of unbridled consumerism. Some people remain enslaved, exploited and stripped of their dignity; others are victims of racial and religious hatred, hampered by intolerance and discrimination, and by political interference and physical or moral coercion with regard to the free profession of their faith. Others see their own bodies and those of their dear ones, particularly their children, maimed by weaponry, by terrorism and by all sorts of violence, at a time when everyone invokes and acclaims progress, solidarity and peace for all. And what of those who, bereft of hope, are forced to leave their homes and countries in order to find humane living conditions elsewhere? How can we help those who are misled by facile prophets of happiness, those who struggle with relationships and are incapable of accepting responsibility for their present and future, those who are trapped in the tunnel of loneliness and who often end up enslaved to alcohol or drugs? What are we to think of those who choose death in the belief that they are celebrating life?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Paul Haley says:

    s this a Merry Christmas? Some might say no because of all the problems in the church and in the world. One only has to read the news to know that serious problems do exist but the difference between us and the rest of the world is that we have Hope, holy Hope and not only that but confidence that Our Lord will come again, as he did in Bethehem, to rescue us from this perverse world. He will come again in glory to gather to Himself all those who believe in Him and give them joy unending and, as He said: “So also you now indeed have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you”. (John, Ch 16, v 22) This is the true meaning of Christmas in the 21st century.

    So, yes my dear colleagues, ours is truly a Merry Christmas and may your hearts be lifted and your tears wiped away in the knowledge that Our Lord will come again in glory to gather us into His Loving Embrace. As the saying goes: “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle see His banners go!” God bless you all.


  2. Paul Haley says:

    Text of previous message shoud read; “Is this a Merry Christmas… Sorry for the missing character.

  3. fabrizio says:

    “What are we to think of those who choose death in the belief that they are celebrating life?”

    These words had a special echo here in Italy. The other day a well known radical militant – Piergiorgio Welby – was killed/helped to commit suicide after a heated debate due to the declared intention of the governement to introduce euthanasia (and civil/homosexual unions).

    With an unprecedented – at least in the last 40 years – act of defense of doctrine, the diocese of Rome – through the office of the Cardinal Vicar Camillo Ruini – has denied the religious funeral requested by the man’s “Catholic” family. You can imagine the reactions. “Uncharitable”, “cruel”, “medieval” “pre-conciliar” yadda yadda yadda. The Church is now under heavy fire. In the last week the Pope has hardly ever spoken without a reference to the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, and the media are saying that he is throwing gasoline on the fire by being so “rigid” and by sending “threatening messages” to the political community, and that it is time to do something with these arrogant Catholic hierarchies. Benedict doesn’t seem that scared, but pray for the Holy Father and the Bishops in communion with him nonetheless. Non praevalebunt!

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