CHRISTMAS: FATHER LOMBARDI (HOLY SEE), "WISHES SHOULD NOT BE A COURTESY RITE"

"I must admit that the many ‘Season’s greetings’ or intentionally-neutral wishes that are becoming increasingly frequent, even if I obviously receive them gratefully for the nice thought they want to express, do not touch me very deeply or at least they seem to me to be rather a courtesy rite. On my part, I wish you may see a Child in His Mother’s arms": these are the wishes that father Federico Lombardi, spokesman of the Newsroom of the Holy See, gave to the press in a Christmas letter. Father Lombardi mentions the trips made by Benedict XVI in 2008 (United States and UN, Australia and WYD, Paris and Lourdes in France), as occasions on which "very many people – not just the most traditional devotees – received the Pope’s message with an open heart and mind and perfectly appreciated and understood it". But 2008, he goes on, has also been "a year with shadows and darkness": "The Mumbai terror and the pity for so many violent deeds – he writes – add up to the worry for an economic crisis of which we have not yet understood or measured the consequences on the world and perhaps even in our daily life". "Whatever your situation – he concludes –, may you listen to this good news that is offered to you: the Lord wants to be close to you!".

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