Advent a Time to Hope for Renewal, Says Pope

Mentions «Gaudium et Spes» in Angelus Address

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 27, 2005 ( Upon embarking on the liturgical season of Advent, Benedict XVI invited Christians to renew their confidence in the possibility of building a better world.

Speaking from the window of his study on the first Sunday of Advent, the Pope appealed for the building of a «new earth,» an appeal launched 40 years ago by the Second Vatican Council.

Advent is an «extremely evocative time from the religious point of view, as it is full of hope and spiritual expectation,» the Pope said before praying the midday Angelus with the crowds in St. Peter’s Square.

«Every time the Christian community prepares to remember the birth of the Redeemer, it feels a tremor of joy, which is communicated, in a certain measure, to the whole society,» he added.

The Bishop of Rome was heard by thousands who defied sudden rains as they gathered in the square, where scaffolding is already in place for the construction of the Nativity scene.

Forward and backward

«In Advent,» Benedict XVI said, «the Christian population relives a double movement of the spirit: On one hand, it raises its gaze to the final goal of its pilgrimage in history, which is the glorious return of the Lord Jesus; on the other, recalling his birth in Bethlehem with emotion, it bends down before the crib.»

«The hope of Christians is directed to the future, but always remains well rooted in the past,» explained the Pontiff.

For this reason, Benedict XVI added, in this liturgical period of preparation for Christmas, «Christians must awaken in their hearts the hope of being able, with the help of God, to renew the world.»

On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the closing of Vatican II, the Pope commented on the pastoral constitution «Gaudium et Spes» on the Church in the modern world, which states that the expectation of heaven must not lead to neglect of the commitment to transform the earth.

When taking leave of the crowds, the Holy Father said he hoped Advent would become «a privileged occasion to rediscover family prayer, to lead young people to the Lord.»

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