Vatican, Dec. 26 (CWNews.com) - In his first Christmas message, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) warned against spiritual atrophy in a technological era. The Holy Father exhorted Christians to bring the Gospel of salvation and the message of peace to a weary world.
Speaking from the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica on Christmas day, Pope Benedict delievered his Urbi et Orbi message to the world, and offered Christmas greetings in 33 different languages.
The Pope's midday appearance gave him a second opportunity to speak to the Christian world on the feast of the Nativity. The previous evening, he had celebrated the midnight Mass of Christmas in the Vatican basilica. In his homily, the Pontiff had said: "The true mystery of Christmas is the inner light radiating from this Child. May that inner light spread to us, and enkindle in our hearts the flame of God's goodness."
Both in his homily at midnight Mass and in his noontime appearance on Christmas day, the Pope made a special appeal for peace, particularly in the Holy Land. He observed that there are hopeful signs of movement toward an end to hostilities, and pleaded for prayers to support peace efforts.
Pope Benedict was appearing on the loggia of St. Peter's for the first time since April 19, when he was first introduced as the 265th Roman Pontiff. He spent about 30 minutes delivering the traditional message to the city and the world (Urbi et Orbi) and extending his Christmas greetings to the people of Rome and-- by live television broadcasts on 55 different networks-- the world.