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    Monday, December 25, 2006

    Blind to need


    "Does a 'Saviour' still have any value and meaning for the men and women of the third millennium?" he asked in his address to tens of thousands of people in a sunny St. Peter's Square.

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    "Is a 'Saviour' still needed by a humanity which has reached the moon and Mars and is prepared to conquer the universe; for a humanity which knows no limits in its pursuit of nature's secrets and which has succeeded even in deciphering the marvelous codes of the human genome?"

    "Is a Saviour needed by a humanity which has invented interactive communication, which navigates in the virtual ocean of the Internet and, thanks to the most advanced modern communications technologies, has now made the Earth, our great common home, a global village?"

    In his midnight mass for some 10,000 people in St. Peter's Basilica earlier on Monday, he said the image of the baby Jesus in a manger should remind everyone of the plight of poor, abused and neglected children the world over.

    "People continue to die of hunger and thirst, disease and poverty, in this age of plenty and of unbridled consumerism," he said from the central balcony of Christendom's largest church.

    "Some people remain enslaved, exploited and stripped of their dignity; others are victims of racial and religious hatred, hampered by intolerance and discrimination, and by political interference and physical or moral coercion with regard to the free profession of their faith," he said.

    "Others see their own bodies and those of their dear ones, particularly their children, maimed by weaponry, by terrorism and by all sorts of violence, at a time when everyone invokes and acclaims progress, solidarity and peace for all," he said.

    "What are we to think of those who choose death in the belief that they are celebrating life?" he said.

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