BE NOT AFRAID
His Eminence The Lord Cardinal
Archbishop of Sydney
Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria Domenica Mazzarello
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2012
His Eminence The Lord Cardinal George Pell
"Like every other priest and bishop I bring Christ's message of peace and goodness once again this Christmas. Where there is evil, there is less peace, sometimes no peace.
My heart, the hearts of all believers, of all people of good will go out to all those who cannot find peace at this time, especially those who have suffered at the hands of fellow Christians; Christian officials, priests, religious, teachers.
I am deeply sorry this has happened. It is completely contrary to Christ's teachings and I feel too the shock and shame across the community at these revelations of wrong doing and crimes.
We need our faith in God's goodness and love to cope with these disasters, to help those who have been hurt. We need the hope that comes to us from Christ's birth with his call to conversion, to sorrow for sins and the necessity of reparation.
St. Francis of Assisi was an Italian who died in 1226, perhaps the most remarkable follower of Christ in 2000 years. One of his most important contributions was the invention of the Christmas crib, which changed the way we look at God and life.
Mary's son Jesus was not born as a prince, not even in a good middle class home, but in a cave used as a stable at the back of a small residence. Tradition, not the Scriptures, placed an ox and an ass there, but a stable remains a place for animals even when it has been cleaned up.
Francis gave us a greeting which is still used today "peace and goodness"; pax et bonum. These two qualities are linked together inescapably, and best found by following the baby in the stable who grew up to be crucified and rise again.
Christianity is offered to everyone in every age and culture, especially those who are suffering and disadvantaged among us today.
We now know much more about the immensity and age of the universe (13.7 billion years) and, at the other end of things, we understand better how the brain works. This knowledge has also reminded us of how much we do not know, of the oceans of mystery which remain undiscovered.
Christ's message comes at a different level. We do not simply follow the beautiful ideals and abstractions of knowledge and truth, beauty, motherhood. The great truths are simple, open to all, rooted in history, in time and place. We all recognize peace and goodness and St. Francis told us these are linked together and found in a vulnerable powerless baby, whose birth triggered Herod's slaughter of the innocent baby boys around Bethlehem.
The light of Christ shines through this darkness, brings us peace and calls us to goodness and love. It offers strength and healing to every person who suffers. We should never forget this, especially at Christmas.
The ancient hymn is right about Bethlehem.
"Above thy deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy darkness shineth,
The everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight".
A happy and peaceful Christmas to everyone."
+ Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney
24 Dec 2012