Remember Christ with a crib this Christmas: Benedict

Wishing pilgrims in St Peter's Square "Happy Christmas" in seven languages, Pope Benedict has encouraged Catholics to set up Yuletide cribs as "a simple and eloquent way of remembering Christ".

"It is my hope that such an important element (of Christmas) not only part of our spirituality, but also of our culture and art continue to be a simple and eloquent way of remembering Christ," Pope Benedict said at his General Audience on Wednesday, according to an International Herald Tribune report.

Pope Benedict also urged Christians to defend the spirit of Christmas against secular trends.

"False prophets continue to offer cheap salvation which ends up in deep delusions," Pope Benedict said.

"It is the duty of Christians to spread through a witness of life the truth of Christmas, which Christ brings to every man and woman of good will."

"Today many consider God irrelevant. Even believers sometimes seek tempting but illusory shortcuts to happiness. And yet perhaps even because of this confusion humanity seeks a saviour, and awaits the coming of Christ," the pope said.

Although he warned against being distracted by what he called the "trappings of Christmas," Benedict offered thanks for the 33-meter Christmas tree set up in St Peter's Square, and the one in his private apartment in the Vatican, both gifts from the mountains of Calabria in southern Italy.

Regensburg speech recognised

Meanwhile, Zenit reports that Pope Benedict controversial lecture at Regensburg in September has been chosen as "Address of the Year" in the German language.

The decision was made by the Seminar der Allgemeine Rhetorik, the renowned School of General Rhetoric of the University of Tuebingen.

According to this honour, one of the most prestigious prizes in the German language, Pope Benedict's address "is magisterially constructed in its direct composition" and multileveled.

The school defended the "courage and determination with which the Pope produced his address, without the disposition to please and be accommodating, which often passes as dialogue."

Pope warns of threats to Christmas celebration from secular trends (International Herald Tribune, 21/12/06)
Benedict XVI's Regensburg Address Hailed (Zenit, 21/12/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Christmas crib (Wikipedia)

Benedict's Christmas tree breaks record (CathNews, 14/12/06)
Mercy Sisters launch Christmas charity gift appeal (CathNews, 12/12/06)
Pope commends crib as key to understanding Christmas (CathNews, 12/12/05)

22 Dec 2006