Christmas Message, 1944

At a time when the peoples find themselves with duties such as perhaps they have never met before in the course of their history, they feel deeply in their tortured hearts the desire, impatient and almost instinctive, to take the reins of their destiny in their own hands with more independence than heretofore, hoping that thus they will find it easier to defend themselves from the periodic invasions of violence which, like a boiling lava torrent, spares nothing of all that they hold sacred and dear.

Thank God, one may believe the time has passed when the call to moral and Gospel principles to guide the life of states and peoples was disdainfully thrust aside as unreal.

The events of these war years have given ample evidence to confute, in a harder way than one could ever have imagined, those who spread such doctrine.

The disdain that they affected towards this supposed unreality has been changed into stark reality: brutality, iniquity, destruction, annihilation.

If the future is to belong to democracy, an essential part in its achievement will have to belong to the religion of Christ and to the Church, the messenger of our Redeemer’s word which is to continue His mission of saving men. For she teaches and defends supernatural truths and communicates the supernatural helps of grace in order to actuate the divinely-established order of beings and ends which is the ultimate foundation and directive norm of every democracy.

By her very existence, the Church rises before the world as a shining beacon to remind it constantly of that Divine order. Her history reflects clearly her providential mission. The struggles, which coerced by the abuse of power, she has had to sustain in defense of the liberty given her by God, were at the same time struggles for man’s true liberty.

The Church has the mission to announce to the world, which is looking for better and more perfect forms of democracy, the highest and most needed message that there can be: the dignity of man, the call to be sons of God. It is the powerful cry, which from the Manger of Bethlehem to the furthest confines of the earth resounds in the ears of men at a time when that dignity is tragically low.

The holy story of Christmas proclaims this inviolable dignity of man with a vigor and authority that cannot be gainsaid – an authority and vigor that infinitely transcends that which all possible declarations of the rights of man could achieve.

Christmas, the Great Feast of the Son of God Who appeared in human flesh, the feast in which heaven stoops down to earth with ineffable grace and benevolence, is also the day on which Christianity and mankind, before the Crib, contemplating the “goodness and kindness of God our Saviour” become more deeply conscious of the intimate unity that God has established between them.

The Birth of the Saviour of the World, of the Restorer of human dignity in all its fullness, is the moment characterized by the alliance of all men of goodwill. There to the poor world, torn by discord, divided by selfishness, poisoned by hate, love will be restored, and it will be allowed to march forward in cordial harmony, towards the common goal, to find at last the cure for its wounds in the peace of Christ.