December 17, 2013

The Pope, Christmas and the Holy Land

In my previous post, I was less than complimentary to the Pope.  I thought I'd counterbalance it with some positive words about the Pontiff.  After all, it is his birthday today.  In the same article in The Guardian that talked about the Pope standing by his comments on capitalism as though all of capitalism were the incarnation of Ebenezer Scrooge, the Pope also spoke about Christmas and the Holy Land:
He said that his thoughts during that time went above all to Christians living in the Holy Land, where he is expected to go next year.

He said he would like to mark the 50th anniversary of Paul VI's pioneering visit in 1964 – the first papal pilgrimage to the Holy Land and the first time a reigning pontiff had flown on a plane – along with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christian church.

He added that violence targeted at Christians in some parts of the world was forming the basis of what he called a new ecumenism of blood. "In some countries they kill Christians because they wear a cross or have a Bible, and before killing them they don't ask them if they're Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic or Orthodox," he said.

"Those who kill Christians don't ask you for an identity card in order to know what church you were baptised in. We must take this reality into account."

Christmas, said Francis, was a time of hope and tenderness that should shake people from indifference when they are confronted with suffering in the world.
That is good and worthy of applause.  

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