Pope addresses tough economic times

Traditional Christmas Day message covers global hotspots besides financial crisis.

    Benedict dedicated part of his message to Africa and lamented the Middle East's bleak prospects [Reuters]

    But this year Benedict also addressed the economic conditions worrying many across the planet amid near-daily news of layoffs, failing companies and people losing homes.

    Benedict said his Christmas message applied to "wherever an increasingly uncertain future is regarded with apprehension, even in affluent nations".

    "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," Benedict said.

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

    Survival basics

    Benedict said he hoped the light of Christmas would radiate to places where "the basics needed for survival are missing".

    He dedicated part of his message to Africa, singling out Zimbabwe, where hunger is spreading and deepening. 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 region of Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in Darfur, Sudan, Benedict said.

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

    Middle East 'bleaker'

    Benedict spoke of violence and tensions in the Middle East, lamenting that "the horizon seems once again bleak for Israelis and Palestinians".

    He denounced what he called the "twisted logic of conflict and violence" and said he hoped dialogue and negotiation would prevail to find "just and lasting solutions to the conflicts troubling the region".

    Benedict also cited Lebanon and Iraq.

    Without naming any particular groups, the pope called for an end to "internecine conflict" dividing ethnic and social groups and disrupting peaceful coexistence. He also denounced terrorism "wherever" it continues to strike.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?