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Pope, World Leaders Give Christmas Messages

Posted December. 26, 2008 03:57,   


Pope Benedict XVI and world leaders yesterday delivered messages preaching peace and hope to a world suffering from war and economic hardship.

The pope celebrated midnight Mass early in St. Peter`s Basilica by sending out an appeal for children who are denied love from their parents and peace in the Middle East.

Delivering his homily, he spoke of the plight of street children “who do not have the blessing of a family home, of those children who are brutally exploited as soldiers, of the minors who are victims of the pornography industry and every other form of abuse, and thus are traumatized in the depths of their soul.”

He mentioned the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians at Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, prayed for an end to the hatred and violence, and establishment of peace in the Holy Land.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, who is spending his holidays in Hawaii, urged the American people to forge brighter days to come, saying he believes Americans can overcome uncertainty and hardship from the economic crisis.

He promised that his incoming administration will help start a "new chapter" in American history through new thinking and innovation, urging the American people to do their part by putting their "shoulder to the wheel of history."

British Queen Elizabeth II in her Christmas message expressed her worry over economic difficulty, saying, “Christmas is a time for celebration, but this year it is a more somber occasion for many."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also offered season`s greetings, but also criticized the West, saying, “If Jesus were alive, he would oppose bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers."