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Pope Urges Need for 'Renewed Humanism'

Associated Press | January 6, 2007
FRANCES D'EMILIO

VATICAN CITY -- Religious leaders of all faiths must play a role in ensuring that the spiritual and cultural aspects of life are not forgotten as mankind tackles the challenges of globalization, Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday.

In his homily during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, the pope said recent decades have seen a "challenge to global civilization, where the center can no longer be Europe and not even that which we call the West or the North of the world."

"The need emerged to elaborate a new world political and economic order, but at the same time and above all, a spiritual and cultural one _ that is, renewed humanism," he said.

"At the start of the Third Millennium we find ourselves smack in the middle of this phase of human history, that has been for some time dubbed 'globalization.'"

The pope said that while politicians, scientists and researchers play important roles in the modern world, "today, more than ever, it is necessary to place at their side the leaders of the great non-Christian religious traditions" as well as Christian leaders.

Benedict appeared to be building on a theme often stressed by his predecessor, John Paul II, who worried that modernization was coming at the cost of spirituality.

He made the remarks during the Epiphany Mass, which recalls the journey of the Magi, the three wise men guided by a star to pay homage to the baby Jesus.

A festive air reigned in St. Peter's Square. Italians celebrate the Epiphany as a day to bring gifts to children, and thousands of families streamed to the square to receive the pope's blessing at noon, when he appeared at his studio window.

A life-sized Nativity scene and a towering Christmas tree decorated the square. A parade of faithful from Italian towns, dressed in ancient costumes, including that of the Magi astride horses, arrived to the rousing beat of a marching band.

Benedict noted that Eastern Rite Catholics celebrate Christmas on Sunday and offered them "an affectionate wish" for peace and prosperity.

 

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