December 25, 2012 in Nation/World

Pope: Remember poor, young in sped-up world

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Pope Benedict XVI walks past the statue of baby Jesus in St. Peter’s Basilica.
(Full-size photo)

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI marked Christmas Eve with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and a pressing question: Will people find room in their hectic, technology-driven lives for children, the poor and God?

The pontiff also prayed that Israelis and Palestinians live in peace and freedom, and asked the faithful to pray for strife-torn Syria.

The ceremony began at 10 p.m. Monday with the blare of trumpets, to symbolize Christian joy over the news of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. The start time was moved up years ago to give the 85-year-old pontiff more time to rest before his Christmas Day speech.

In his homily, Benedict cited the Gospel account of Mary and Joseph finding no room at an inn and ending up in a stable that sheltered the baby Jesus. He urged people to reflect upon what they find time for in their busy, technology-driven lives.

“The faster we can move, the more efficient our time-saving appliances become, the less time we have. And God? The question of God never seems urgent,” Benedict lamented.

The pope worried that “we are so ‘full’ of ourselves that there is no room left for God. … That means there is no room for others either – for children, for the poor, for the stranger.”

Benedict decried that history has suffered through “misuse of religion,” when belief in one God became a pretext for intolerance and violence. Still, he insisted that where God is “forgotten or even denied, there is no peace either.”

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