Spokesman: Pontiff Lives True Meaning of Christmas

Notes Benedict XVI’s Concern for Poor, Children

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 9, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI affirms with his own example that Christmas is a time to show solidarity with those whose lives are most fragile, says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, spoke of the Pope’s example during the most recent edition of Vatican Television’s “Octava Dies.”

“In the Christmas season,” the Vatican spokesman said, “the Pope does not fail to dedicate time to an encounter and celebration with the poor and with children. He did this again this year — having lunch on Dec. 26 with those assisted by the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and on Jan. 5 visiting the children hospitalized at the Gemelli Polyclinic.”

“It is a small sign but it says a great deal,” Father Lombardi stated. “It is not a hasty formality. It is something that pertains to the essence of the life of the Church and so also to the service of the Pope.”

“God is charity. God is love,” the Jesuit priest continued. “This was the title of Benedict XVI’s first major writing. And along his way Jesus often cared for the poor and the sick; he welcomed and embraced the children who came to him.

“The Christmas season spontaneously recalls the demand of solidarity; the God who becomes a child helps us to recognize his image in every infant, to welcome with affection and concern every life that is born, and that in its fragility requires care and protection. But the message is valid for every day of the year.”

“The Church prays, listens to the Word and celebrates in the Eucharist the encounter with God, but she lives by active love, and in this love the little ones and those who humanly and socially run the risk of being forgotten have a privileged place,” Father Lombardi concluded. “The Pope’s path, too, therefore naturally has this stage in every time and in each pilgrimage upon which he embarks.”

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