Pontiff Offers More Than Good Luck in '09

Says Hope Is Anchored by Christian Faith

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Holiday best wishes are made "reliable" by the Christian faith, which anchors the traditional greetings to the incarnation of Christ, says Benedict XVI.



The Pope affirmed this when he greeted the New Year with an address before praying the midday Angelus on Jan. 1 with thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square.

After expressing his "fervent best wishes for peace and every good thing," the Holy Father said that "with the grace of the Lord -- and only with it -- we can always hope anew that the future will be better than the past."

And this hope, he affirmed, is not based on good luck or the "secrets of the markets," but instead in "we ourselves making the effort to be a little better and more responsible, so as to be able to count on the Lord's benevolence."

"And this is always possible because 'God has spoken to us through a son' and he continually speaks to us, through the preaching of the Gospel and through the voice of our conscience," the Pontiff continued. "In Jesus Christ, he has shown to all people the path of salvation, which is above all a spiritual redemption, but which takes in everything human, also including the social and historical dimension."

Then noting that Jan. 1 is World Peace Day, Benedict XVI referred to his message for the celebration: "Fighting Poverty to Build Peace."

He explained that his message is a way to "enter into dialogue with the leaders of nations and international groups, offering the contribution of the Catholic Church for the promotion of a world order worthy of man."

"At the beginning of a new year, my first objective is precisely that of inviting everyone -- political leaders and simple citizens -- to not become discouraged in the face of difficulties and failures, but to renew their commitments," the Pope said.

Finally, referring to the global financial crisis, the Holy Father encouraged that it be "interpreted in its depths, as a grave symptom that requires intervention at the level of the causes."

"It is not enough -- as Jesus would say -- to put a new patch on an old cloak," the Bishop of Rome affirmed. "To put the poor in first place means to decidedly move to this global solidarity that John Paul II had already indicated as a necessity, harmonizing the potential of the market with that of civil society, in constant respect for legality and always taking into account the common good."