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Pope has NOT cancelled Christmas
In his brief introduction to Jesus of Nazareth – the Infancy Years, Pope Benedict describes his hope:
“that this short book ... will be able to help many people on their path toward and alongside Jesus.”
Available on bookshelves in Ireland since Monday 03 December and online, the book contains just over 120 pages with four chapters and an epilogue. The reader travels through a scholarly and gentle exploration of the infancy narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Certain suggestions aired on radio and in print recently highlight the fact that researchers explored less than a few paragraphs in the book before broadcasting their observations.
Some articles and commentaries portray Pope Benedict as an author who is trying to banish certain animals from the crib scene and who would prefer if the angels were less musical! Nothing could be further from the heart of the pope.
Such interpretations display a less-than-diligent approach to journalism and are highlighted in an article written by Kevin M. Clarke which was published in First Things:
• No representation of the crib is complete without the ox and the ass (see Isaiah 1:3).
• Choir rehearsals have not been cancelled for the angels in the parish nativity play!
• Enjoy unwrapping your family crib this year and setting out the crib-figures.
• Take some time to read the infancy accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
• Buy the book and read it!
In his message for World Day of Communications 2012, Pope Benedict XVI described a good environment for communication:
"Deeper reflection helps us to discover the links between events that at first sight seem unconnected, to make evaluations, to analyze messages; this makes it possible to share thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an authentic body of shared knowledge. For this to happen, it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of ‘eco-system’ that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds."
Kevin M. Clarke's article highlights how this “eco-system” needs to be developed in the current "soundbyte climate".
Might our journey back to Bethelehem in company with Pope Benedict, our families and our parish communities help us to build this eco-system through Christmas and the New Year?
Fr Robert McCabe