At midday today, the Pope gave his traditional Christmas message to the faithful present in St. Peter's Square and to give his "Urbi et Orbi" blessing. Some extracts of the message are given below: "Christmas is a mystery of love! The love of the Father, who has sent into the world his only-begotten Son, to bestow on us the gift of his own life. ... In the cold stable, wrapped in silence, the Virgin Mother, with prophetic intuition, already tastes the violent drama of Calvary, the traumatic struggle between darkness and light, between death and life, between hatred and love. The Prince of Peace, born today in Bethlehem, will give his life on Golgotha, so that love may reign on earth." "Christmas is a mystery of peace! From the cave of Bethlehem there rises today an urgent appeal to the world not to yield to mistrust, suspicion and discouragement, even though the tragic reality of terrorism feeds uncertainties and fears. Believers of all religions, together with men and women of good will, by outlawing all forms of intolerance and discrimination, are called to build peace: in the Holy Land, above all, to put an end once and for all to the senseless spiral of blind violence, and in the Middle East, to extinguish the ominous smouldering of a conflict which, with the joint efforts of all, can be avoided; in Africa too, where devastating famines and tragic internal conflicts are aggravating the already precarious conditions of entire peoples, although here and there signs of hope are present; in Latin America, in Asia, in other parts of the world, where political, economic and social crises disturb the serenity of many families and nations. May humanity accept the Christmas message of peace!" "Adorable mystery of the Incarnate Word! Together with you, O Virgin Mother, may we stop and reflect at the manger where the Child lies. ... Teach us to recognize his face in the children of every race and culture. Help us to be credible witnesses of his message of peace and love, so that the men and women of our own time, still torn by conflicts and unspeakable violence, may also recognize in the Child cradled in your arms the one Saviour of the world, the endless source of that true peace for which every heart profoundly yearns." The Pope extended Christmas greetings in 62 languages after the message. Source: Vatican Information Service
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