'Tis the Season for Conversion, not Consumerism

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BERLIN, DEC. 10, 2002 (Zenit.org).- A leading German prelate warns of the growth use of the "truth of Christmas in just one direction" -- that "of consumption."



"Christmas is certainly the Christian feast that is most abused, the one that is most secularized and emptied of meaning," said Cardinal Karl Lehmann, president of the German bishops' conference, in a report by the SIR agency.

"For many, it coincides with the great business fair, in which a consumer world celebrates the salient event of the year," he said.

Or, he lamented, Christmas "seems to be a feeling of cheap devotion, where a vague nostalgia of childhood memories arises, a return to a now collapsed, distant and lost homeland."

Although there are no easy solutions to these tendencies, "at least each one, especially families, can go against the current," the cardinal said. To do so, "the Church helps us with the liturgical year and many practices," he stressed.

"During Advent, we must learn to wait," the cardinal continued, inviting the faithful to prepare for the Christian celebration. "Its secret is profound: Many centuries demonstrate this. And it always allows for conversion, inviting us to it. It is never too late."