Vatican, Dec. 19 ( – At his weekly public audience on December 19, Pope Benedict XVI said that a secular Christmas celebration is impossible.

“If we do not recognize that God was made man, what sense does it have to celebrate Christmas?” the Holy Father asked. “We Christians must reaffirm with profound and heartfelt conviction the truth of Christ’s Nativity.”

Speaking to about 5,000 people in the Paul VI auditorium, the Pope acknowledged that many people make the effort to separate the Christmas celebration from the message of the Incarnation. He added that the Christian joy at the Nativity encounters opposition in a secular society that has “formed a view of tolerance and pluralism such that to believe that Truth has been effectively manifested appears to constitute an attack on tolerance and the freedom of man.”

Nevertheless Christians have a duty to proclaim the truth, and speak out about the reason for Christmas joy. That duty, he said, “arises from the duty of evangelization.” In his final Wednesday audience before Christmas, Pope Benedict encouraged the faithful to pray “more intensely for the realization of hopes of peace and salvation.” Breaking from his prepared text, he reflected that the world is longing to see justice done. “In this context,” he said, “we pray to Jesus Christ to come as a Judge.”

While praying for justice, the Pope continued extemporaneously, Christians should also do their best at “creating justice in our own lives” as they prepare to celebrate Christ’s coming.

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