Friday, December 26, 2008

Pope's Urbi et Orbi 2008 - To the City to the World

Pope Benedict XVI waved to faithful during the "Urbi et Orbi" (to the City and to the World) message in St. Peter's square at the Vatican. The Pope addressed the economic gloom in his Christmas message.

Benedict XVI warned that the world was headed toward ruin if selfishness prevails over solidarity during tough times for both rich and poor nations.

'If people look only to their own interests, our world will certainly fall apart.'

Benedict dedicated part of his message to Africa, singling out Zimbabwe, where hunger is deepening and cholera is raging. He said that people there were 'trapped for too long in a political and social crisis which, sadly, keeps worsening'.

Suffering also continues in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo and in Darfur, Sudan, the Pope added.

And in Somalia, people are weighed down with 'interminable sufferings' as 'the tragic consequences of the lack of stability and peace,' he said.

Benedict said Roman Catholics had to 'do everything in our power to put an end to the suffering of these children'.

In the past year the Pope has repeatedly addressed the issue of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, but did not raise it in his Christmas homily.

Bless you my child: The Pope urged the world to stop abuse against children across the world during his Midnight Mass address

Benedict apologized for sexual abuse of minors by clergy and met victims during a July trip to Australia. He also met victims in the U.S. in April.

Pope Benedict said he hoped Christmas would bring hope to those suffering from war, terrorism, injustice and poverty and appealed for peace in Israel.

In his 'Urbi et Orbi' (to the city and the world) Christmas Day message, the Pope also turned his thoughts to some of the world's wealthiest countries, which have been hard hit by the world financial crisis.

'In each of these places may the light of Christmas shine forth and encourage all people to do their part in a spirit of authentic solidarity,' he said from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica to tens of thousands of people below.

'If people look only to their own interests, our world will certainly fall apart.'

He acknowledged that 'an increasingly uncertain future is regarded with apprehension, even in affluent nations'.

In his greeting to Italians, he called for solidarity during a 'considerable economic crisis' that economists forecast could plunge Italy into its longest recession since World War Two.

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