December 27, 2005
Benedict, in his first Christmas address, on Sunday urged
humanity to unite against terrorism, poverty and environmental blight and
called for a "New
World Order" to correct economic imbalances.
The Pope made his comments to tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered under
umbrellas in a rainy St Peter square for his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and
the world) message and blessing.
In his address, telecast live from the central balcony of St. Peter's
Basilica to tens of millions of people in nearly 40 countries, he also urged
his listeners not to let technological achievements blind them to true human
He said humanity should look to the Christ child for encouragement in
times of difficulty and fear.
"A united humanity will be able to confront
the many troubling problems of the present time: from the menace of
terrorism to the humiliating poverty in which millions of human beings
live, from the proliferation of weapons to the pandemics and the
environmental destruction which threatens the future of our planet," he
"Do not fear; put your trust in him! The life-giving power of his light
is an incentive for building a new world order based on just ethical and
economic relationships," he said, speaking in Italian.
The address by the leader of the world's some
1.1 billion Roman Catholics was different in style than those of his
predecessor John Paul, who died last April.
John Paul wrote his Christmas addresses in free-style verse and resembled
poetry, whereas Benedict's was in prose like a normal homily or speech.
Since his election, the Pope has repeatedly reminded Catholics not to give
in to an "ethical relativism" where circumstances can be used to justify
actions that should be considered wrong in all cases.
The Pope, wearing a gold cape and with a gold mitre, continued in
that line on Sunday by beaming in on the dangers of technology and progress,
implying that it should not be allowed to become tantamount to a God
in its own right.
"Today we can dispose of vast material
resources. But the men and women in our technological age risk becoming
victims of their own intellectual and technical achievements, ending up
in spiritual barrenness and emptiness of heart," he said.
"That is why it is so important for us to open our minds and hearts to
the birth of Christ, this event of salvation which can give new hope to
the life of each human being," he said.
In other parts of the address he appealed for
respect for the rights of people suffering a humanitarian crisis in the
Darfur region of Sudan.
He made another appeal for peace in the Holy Land and called
for "actions inspired by fairness and wisdom" in Iraq and Lebanon. The Pope
asked God to favor dialogue on the Korean peninsula so that
"dangerous disputes" there and elsewhere in Asia can be solved peacefully.
The Urbi et Orbi followed a solemn Christmas eve midnight mass
attended by a congregation that packed St Peter's Basilica. In his homily at
that mass he urged the world's Catholics to be beacons of peace in a
troubled world and offered a special prayer for an end to strife in the
The next major event on the Pope's Christmas season calendar is a mass on
the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. Two days later he will baptize
children. In early January, the Pope is due to publish his first encyclical,
a major writing addressed to all Church members.
The encyclical, believed to be called "God is Love", deals with the
individual's personal relationship with God.