Pope Benedict has led the world’s one point one billion Roman Catholics in midnight Christmas mass at the Vatican, calling for everyone to make space for God, the needy, and the suffering in their lives. Broadcast live to 42 countries, it was a chance for the Pope to again try and drag Christmas away from materialism, a particular theme this year as he attempts to reassert the festival’s religious significance:
“Do we have time for our neighbour who is in need of a word from us, from me, or in need of my affection? For the sufferer in need of help? For the fugitive or refugee seeking asylum?” he said.
Later today at lunchtime the Pope will deliver his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing, and Christmas greetings in 60 languages.