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Interpreting political aspects of Pope Francis Christmas speech
“True peace is not a balance of opposing forces. It is not a lovely "façade" which conceals conflicts and divisions. Peace calls for daily commitment, starting from God's gift, from the grace which he has given us in Jesus Christ.

Looking at the Child in the manger, our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think too of the elderly, to battered women, to the sick. Wars shatter and hurt so many lives!

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Too many lives have been shattered in recent times by the conflict in Syria, fueling hatred and vengeance. Let us continue to ask the Lord to spare the beloved Syrian people further suffering, and to enable the parties in conflict to put an end to all violence and guarantee access to humanitarian aid. We have seen how powerful prayer is! And I am happy today too, that the followers of different religious confessions are joining us in our prayer for peace in Syria. Let us never lose the courage of prayer! The courage to say: Lord, grant your peace to Syria and to the whole world.

Grant peace to the Central African Republic, often forgotten and overlooked. Yet you, Lord, forget no one! And you also want to bring peace to that land, torn apart by a spiral of violence and poverty, where so many people are homeless, lacking water, food and the bare necessities of life. Foster social harmony in South Sudan, where current tensions have already caused numerous victims and are threatening peaceful coexistence in that young state.

Prince of Peace, in every place turn hearts aside from violence and inspire them to lay down arms and undertake the path of dialogue. Look upon Nigeria, rent by constant attacks which do not spare the innocent and defenseless. Bless the land where you chose to come into the world, and grant a favorable outcome to the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq, once more struck by frequent acts of violence.

Lord of life, protect all who are persecuted for your name. Grant hope and consolation to the displaced and refugees, especially in the Horn of Africa and in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Grant that migrants in search of a dignified life may find acceptance and assistance. May tragedies like those we have witnessed this year, with so many deaths at Lampedusa, never occur again!,” as reported by the Associated Press.

Given above was the part of Pope Francis’s Urbi et Orbi message 2013 concerning foreign matters:

Truly Catholic and mastery of words! Since Pope Francis is considered a completely different Pope, let’s read the equivalent part of Pope Benedict’s speech he delivered on Christmas day 2012 at St. Peter’s Basilica:

“Yes, may peace spring up for the people of Syria, deeply wounded and divided by a conflict which does not spare even the defenseless and reaps innocent victims. Once again I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict.

May peace spring up in the Land where the Redeemer was born, and may he grant Israelis and Palestinians courage to end to long years of conflict and division, and to embark resolutely on the path of negotiation.

In the countries of North Africa, which are experiencing a major transition in pursuit of a new future – and especially the beloved land of Egypt, blessed by the childhood of Jesus – may citizens work together to build societies founded on justice and respect for the freedom and dignity of every person.

May peace spring up on the vast continent of Asia. May the Child Jesus look graciously on the many peoples who dwell in those lands and, in a special way, upon all those who believe in him. May the King of Peace turn his gaze to the new leaders of the People’s Republic of China for the high task which awaits them. I express my hope that, in fulfilling this task, they will esteem the contribution of the religions, in respect for each, in such a way that they can help to build a fraternal society for the benefit of that noble People and of the whole world.

May the Birth of Christ favor the return of peace in Mali and that of concord in Nigeria, where savage acts of terrorism continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians. May the Redeemer bring help and comfort to the refugees from the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and grant peace to Kenya, where brutal attacks have struck the civilian population and places of worship.

May the Child Jesus bless the great numbers of the faithful who celebrate him in Latin America. May he increase their human and Christian virtues, sustain all those forced to leave behind their families and their land, and confirm government leaders in their commitment to development and fighting crime, ” as reported by Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Equally inspiring and Catholic in nature! Probably this has been the Papal consistent stand to talk about all possible global issues in the post-conscious postmodern era. The fact is that the Vatican addresses all global issues affecting humanity. The Vatican is an institution which is parallel to the West but still complementary to it. Pope and Papal community matter and they extend the horizons of the West and its institutions though they are mostly non-political in beliefs.

However, Anglo Protestantism and Anglicanism equally matter. The affiliation by a majority of Christians to the Vatican and separation of many from it both matter. The fact is that the way Pope addresses the global issues no other head of religious community can address them. They appear simple and polite though in reality they are not simple at all although they may be somewhat polite in behavior.

Pope Francis specifically considered Syria just like his predecessor Pope Benedict did. Even though there are significant numbers of Druze Christians living there and the Syrian land has great importance in Biblical history, the fact is both Pope and Pope Emeritus talked about it on the humanitarian ground and both of them prayed for peace among all communities in Syria. The same is true about Egypt, Central African Republic and South Sudan. Pope Benedict in 2012 courageously talked about China and religious freedom there.

Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict proved that all global concerns are Christian concerns even though the Anglican world is more dominant than the non-Anglican one. Therefore, Vatican matters as much for the US and the UK as it matters for the Catholic-majority nations. In fact Papal positions help in the dominance of the Western nations.

There is growing closeness among Christians and Muslims in disputed Palestinian territory but no one should expect the Vatican to be unfriendly towards Israel ever. They just cannot be. After all, their Father was born on the holy land though Bethlehem would come under the control of future Palestine state. No matter what the real story about Jesus be, the fact is that after living so closely with Jews for more than two millennia, the Judeo-Christianity axis would survive all conscious-driven assaults.

There are so many Christians in the world today because Jesus’ first disciples converted Jews all around the globe after the evangelization ordered by their Lord. The Vatican would be thankful to Jews and Jewish state of Israel and would always wish them well.       

But non-Christians should not interpret universality with nihilism or with excessive relativism. The fact is that Papal constitutes the biggest Christians in the world and only people who can challenge their commitment to Christianity are Western leaders and marketeers. The Vatican would always uphold and spread Catholic values and its job would be to see that Christian interests are served first then others. The Vatican’s Lord is Jesus and Gospel is the final word for them till Jesus himself changes so.

Any departure from that is definite atheism, which they can never support. Though homosexuality is damned in Bible, the fact is that Pope Francis has to deal tenderly with homosexuals to promote other non-sexual parts of theism. All need to know that Jesus promised his return and the Vatican definitely believes in that. The present positioning on many matters could be termed as adaptation to that future possibility as Jesus’ supposed second coming would be completely different than his first.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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