Friday, December 28, 2012

Bartholomew: Christmas to overcome fanaticism and economic abuses

"Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax homínibus bonæ voluntatis" sang the angels to announce the birth of Our Lord. Sadly, our Earth is still a battleground because humans continue to reject the message of the Lord, which urges us to obey his will and message of peace.

In his Christmas homely, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said that humans continue to stand out for the fanaticism of their religious and political beliefs and greedy quest for material goods. This explains why political action and behaviour are aggressive and the root of so many conflicts.

Although the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great issued an Edict of Toleration in 313 in matters of religious faith, granting Christians freedom of worship, Christian minorities continue to be persecuted nowadays.

Economic conflict and the ephemeral pursuit of wealth as the goal of human existence continue to grow, Bartholomew said. Sadly, the consequence is the concentration of wealth in the hands of a small minority and the ensuing impoverishment of most of the world's population.

What some see as an unfair distribution of resources is actually a moral crisis, which is not justly taken into account. In fact, some have tried to justify it in the name of free markets.

However, for Bartholomew, free markets should not allow crimes even if they do not fall under criminal law. Anyone who takes what belongs to others, whatever their means or pretext, commits a crime, undermining peace and social cohesion.

Speaking from the Fanar, historic headquarters of Orthodox Christianity, Bartholomew said that Christians are concerned witness of the times and of their growing conflicts. For this reason, our wish is for the New Year to be characterised by human solidarity, as the Great Fathers of the Church always taught us.

Every person of goodwill must look in that direction, the ecumenical patriarch said, first and foremost spiritual leaders, so that the peace of our Lord, who was born today, may reign, because the charity and peace that have always characterised the action of the disciples of our Lord may contribute to human solidarity and coexistence.