VATICAN CITY, DEC 25, 1996 (VIS) - "On this day of joy," began the Pope in his Christmas 1996 "Urbi et Orbi" Message (To the City and the World), "the people of Rome and the whole world hear the joyful proclamation of the birth of God: Christmas is a grace to be contemplated; Christmas is a marvelous event to be shared."

"Brothers and Sisters the world over," John Paul II continued, "let us join in this song of joy, as everywhere there resound., in different tongues, the traditional melodies of Christmas. ... May these melodies bring peace and serenity, especially to those places where, as in Bosnia-Herzegovina or Guatemala, after long years of war at home and abroad, weapons have at last fallen silent and men tread anew the path of understanding and fraternity."

"But the echo of the songs of Christmas must travel mich farther! It must resound beyond walls where the clash of arms is still heard, shattering the spell of peace brought by this holy day." The Holy Father said he was "thinking of Bethlehem and all the Holy Land," of "Cyprus, still divided, and Algeria, in the throes of unjustifiable violence. ... I also look to the East, to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, where fratricidal struggles and conflicts of identity continue, spawning desolation and death."

He then referred to the Great Lakes region of Africa and to "one of the cruellest human tragedies" of this continent's history. "Thousands and thousands of people - our brothers and sisters - wander, displaced, victims of fear, hunger and disease; they - alas! - will not be able to feel the joy of Christmas."

"To resign ourselves to such violence and injustice," Pope John Paul lamented, "would be too grave a rejection of the joy and hope which Christmas brings. God becomes man a d tells us once again that hatred can be overcome, that it is beautiful to love one another as brothers and sisters."

"O Divine Child," he prayed, "by your gentle presence encourage men and women to overcome hatred and rancor, help them to return to dialogue and to walk together along the path of life."
JPII-URBI ET ORBI/.../... VIS 961230 (360)

av Webmaster publisert 31.03.2006, sist endret 10.03.2011 - 02:44