Dec 25, 7:57 AM (ET)
By FRANCES D'EMILIO
VATICAN CITY (AP) - QUOTE Pope Benedict XVI in his Christmas message Thursday warned that the world was headed toward ruin if selfishness prevails over solidarity during tough economic times for both rich and poor nations.
Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on the day Christians commemorate Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, Benedict declared that the "heart of the Christian message is meant for all men and women."
The traditional papal Christmas Day message "Urbi et Orbi" - Latin for "to the City and to the World" - usually covers the globe's hot spots, but this year Benedict also addressed the gloomy economic conditions worrying many across the planet.
Amid near daily news of layoffs, failing companies and people losing homes they can no longer afford in many parts of the world, Benedict's words seemed tailored in part to the global economic crisis.
He said his Christmas message also applied to "wherever an increasingly uncertain future is regarded with apprehension, even in affluent nations."
"In each of these places may the light of Christmas shine forth and encourage all people to do their part in a spirit of authentic solidarity," Benedict said. "If people look only to their own interests, our world will certainly fall apart." UNQUOTE
Entire text of Pope Benedict's Urbi et Orbi 2008 Christmas message here.
art credit: Jimbone79