Pope Prays That Political Leaders Receive ‘Wisdom And Courage’ To End Conflicts Around Globe

Pope Prays That Political Leaders Receive ‘Wisdom And Courage’ To End Conflicts Around Globe

By Gerard O’Connell, Special Correspondent in Rome.

VATICAN CITY (UCAN) — On Christmas Day, Pope Benedict asked Christ to “bring relief to those who are suffering” because of armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other countries worldwide.

For this he asked the Lord to “bestow upon political leaders the wisdom and courage to seek and find humane, just and lasting solutions” to problems.

Pope Benedict mentioned the word “peace” fourteen times in the traditional Urbi et Orbi address popes give on Christmas day to the city (urbi) of Rome and to the world (orbi). By becoming man in Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem, God brought “light,” “hope” and a “message of peace” for “everyone,” the pope said.

“In the shadows and silence of that holy night, a great and inextinguishable light shone forth for every man; the great hope that brings happiness entered into the world,” he said.

Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, the pope delivered his 15-minute address under a clear blue sky and bright sun. Television, radio, the Internet and the press brought his words to an estimated global audience of 2 billion people, in addition to the 100,000 people listening in St. Peter’s Square.

As he spoke, he drew international attention not only to numerous armed conflicts across the globe, but also to other serious problems — political, religious, social, ethnic, environmental — that destroy peace and harmony in the world.

He mentioned only three Asian countries explicitly in relation to ongoing armed conflicts, but prayed that “the light of Christ” would “shine forth and bring consolation to those who live in the darkness of poverty, injustice and war” wherever they are.

Without naming any country, he implored Christ to shine his light and bring consolation also to “those who are still denied their legitimate aspirations for a more secure existence; for health, education, stable employment; for fuller participation in civil and political responsibilities, free from oppression and protected from conditions that offend against human dignity.”

In particular he pointed out that women, children and the elderly “are so often the victims of brutal armed conflicts, terrorism and violence of every kind, which inflict such terrible sufferings on entire populations.”

Again without identifying any country, he warned: “Ethnic, religious and political tensions, instability, rivalry, disagreements, and all forms of injustice and discrimination are destroying the internal fabric of many countries and embittering international relations.”

Meanwhile, not only armed conflicts but “frequent natural disasters, often caused by alarming environmental upheavals,” are increasing the number of migrants, refugees and evacuees worldwide.

The theologian-pope’s increasingly public concern for the environment and peace, as expressed clearly in his message, his homily at the Christmas Eve midnight Mass and his message for the World Day of Peace on Jan. 1, 2008, also is expected to feature strongly in his upcoming third encyclical. Vatican sources told UCA News the encyclical on contemporary social justice issues is due for publication in mid-March.

During the midnight Mass at St. Peter’s, Pope Benedict drew attention to contemporary environmental problems when he spoke about “the abuse of energy and its selfish and reckless exploitation.” We are living, he observed, “in a polluted world whose future is at risk.”

In his Christmas Message he focused directly on peace and mentioned “the tortured regions of Darfur, Somalia, the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia.”

He also drew attention to conflicts in West Asia — especially Iraq, Lebanon and the Holy Land — and in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, as well as the lack of peace in the Balkans and Pakistan. But he also reminded people of “many other crisis situations that unfortunately are frequently forgotten.”

Pope Benedict urged “individuals” and “nations” not to be afraid “to recognize and welcome” Jesus Christ, the “shining light” that “brightens the horizon of humanity” in whom “a holy day dawns that knows no sunset.”

The pope, who will turn 81 in April, concluded his worldwide address by extending Christmas greetings to peoples in 63 languages, 15 Asian tongues among them: Bengali, Chinese, Filipino, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Malay, the Myanmar language, Sinhalese, Tamil, Thai, Urdu and Vietnamese.

Sumber: UCAN, Union of Catholic Asian News

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  1. It is interesting that no one has picked up on the pope’s citation of Origen in the homily–namely, Origen’s insistence that pagans such as Hindus can’t love or reason. I’m surprised India hasn’t objected to the insult.
    Source: http://deligentia.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/ratzinger-at-the-vatican-hindus-cant-love/

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