From Benedict XVI's homily given at the Midnight Mass on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord:
Linked to God’s glory on high is peace on earth among men. Where God is not
glorified, where he is forgotten or even denied, there is no peace either.
Nowadays, though, widespread currents of thought assert the exact opposite: they
say that religions, especially monotheism, are the cause of the violence and the
wars in the world. If there is to be peace, humanity must first be liberated
from them. Monotheism, belief in one God, is said to be arrogance, a cause of
intolerance, because by its nature, with its claim to possess the sole truth, it
seeks to impose itself on everyone. Now it is true that in the course of
history, monotheism has served as a pretext for intolerance and violence. It is
true that religion can become corrupted and hence opposed to its deepest
essence, when people think they have to take God’s cause into their own hands,
making God into their private property. We must be on the lookout for these
distortions of the sacred. While there is no denying a certain misuse of
religion in history, yet it is not true that denial of God would lead to peace.
If God’s light is extinguished, man’s divine dignity is also extinguished. Then
the human creature would cease to be God’s image, to which we must pay honour in
every person, in the weak, in the stranger, in the poor. Then we would no
longer all be brothers and sisters, children of the one Father, who belong to
one another on account of that one Father. The kind of arrogant violence that
then arises, the way man then despises and tramples upon man: we saw this in all
its cruelty in the last century. Only if God’s light shines over man and within
him, only if every single person is desired, known and loved by God is his
dignity inviolable, however wretched his situation may be. On this Holy Night,
God himself became man; as Isaiah prophesied, the child born here is “Emmanuel”,
God with us (Is 7:14). And down the centuries, while there has been
misuse of religion, it is also true that forces of reconciliation and goodness
have constantly sprung up from faith in the God who became man. Into the
darkness of sin and violence, this faith has shone a bright ray of peace and
goodness, which continues to shine.
So Christ is our peace, and he proclaimed peace to those far away and to those
near at hand (cf. Eph 2:14, 17). How could we now do other than pray to
him: Yes, Lord, proclaim peace today to us too, whether we are far away or near
at hand. Grant also to us today that swords may be turned into ploughshares (Is
2:4), that instead of weapons for warfare, practical aid may be given to the
suffering. Enlighten those who think they have to practise violence in your
name, so that they may see the senselessness of violence and learn to recognize
your true face. Help us to become people “with whom you are pleased” people
according to your image and thus people of peace.
Read the entire homily on the Vatican site. I
suspect it won't be long before there are media reports stating, "The Pope
bashes on pantheism and polytheism", and, "Benedict XVI says atheists
are prone to violence." Regardless, Merry Christmas to one and to all!
Christ is born! Glorify Him!