Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Christmas Message From A Christian Leader

Cardinal Pell, originally uploaded by ddbsweasel.

RELIGION has been unfairly blamed for conflicts around the world in recent years, but Christians should remember the benefits of their devotion, Sydney Catholic Archbishop George Pell has said.

In his Christmas message, the archbishop reminds Christians that the birth of Jesus is a symbol of helplessness and hope.

"Christians believe that the almighty God has visited us, not just through prophets, saints and humanitarian heroes, but through sending his son to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem...," Cardinal Pell has said.

"Babies are vulnerable, more helpless initially than any of the animals.

"So too was the son of God, but every birth inspires hope, even when it is only hope against hope."

The archbishop has said God and his believers are not to blame for the world's wars or crimes and Christians should remember the benefits of their devotion.

"...God has been attacked angrily here and there in the English-speaking world and believers have been accused of causing most of the wars and crimes in history," Cardinal Pell has said.

"This is an exaggeration as the moral monsters of the twentieth century Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were atheists and Hitler bitterly hated Jews and Christians.

"But all believers have to acknowledge the downside of their long story, while asking that their positive contributions are also recorded."

In July, more than 500,000 Christians will descend upon Sydney in celebration of World Youth Day and a papal visit.

Cardinal Pell has said followers would travel much further than Mary and Joseph did for the birth of their baby son Jesus in Bethlehem.

"I ask you all to welcome them into your hearts and perhaps, as at the Olympics, into your homes," he said.

"As we celebrate again the birth of the helpless newly-born Christ child, we should remember the sick and the sad, the lonely and the angry and reach out to help them."

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