UNITY AND PEACE'
APLEA for efforts towards peace by men of goodwill and a call for Christian unity in the face of men of ill will were voiced by Pope John XXIII in his first Christmas Radio message.
The Pope also issued a "loving invitation" to Orthodox religious bodies and others separated from the true fold to return, pledging a tireless effort to encourage them in this
The message was delivered in the presence of 23 Cardinals in the Hall of Consistories in response to the traditional Christmas greeting to the Pope by the Dean of the Sacred College Cardinal Tisserant
[he tour sections ot the 4,000 word discourse dealt with the new Pope's joy at witnessing the enthusiasm of his people; praise of his predecessor Pope Pius XII; a survey of Pius XII's 19 Christ. mas messages and his appeal fol
peace and unity
" For one wishing to sum up in two comprehensive words the living substance of the teaching coma tied in the 19 Christina' Messages and 20 volumes of the rich colleclion, of written and spoken words ot Pope Pius XII.said the Pope, 'it is enough to utter these wordsoo itv and peace What Pope John added as his own was to sound again the sombre recognition of the "night that gathers " in the world and. amid the threat of ruin, to invite the " separated brothers " to return to union in the Church which Christ established and " upon which turns the peace of Christ.'
In thanking Cardinal Tisserant for his address. during which he said "Almighty God guided and ratified the choice of his (Pope Pius XII's] successor and the world knew it immediately ". Pope John said he was deeply touched by his reception. He was especially comforted. he said, by the sight of so many young people among the crowds upon whom the Church would depend one day for its defence.
Saying that he found the study of Christmas messages of Pope Continued from page I Pius XII the best preparation for his own first message, Pope John called each one " a masterpiece of theological, juridical, ascetical, political and social learning ".
He said the only condition for peace is man's good will which he may freely give or freely refuse. He added that man's refusal to give his good will to the service of God's designs is " the most terrible problem of human history and of the lives of individual men and peoples."
The Pope quickly traced the destruction of peace and unity stating that " it took nothing less than the intervention of the Son of God Himself " to repair the damage. Here, the Pope pointed out. is the key to hope for peace and unity in our own age, for " this reconstitution [of mankind) still goes on. Jesus founded a Church, impressing upon it the character of unity, achieved by gathering to itself all human nations under its immense shelter."
He said that racial and national differences can be reconciled in this unity for, as believers recognise, "the eood service of God and His justice also serves the advantage of the civil community of peoples and nations."
Pope John recounted his own experiences in seeing attempts at religious unity meeting with failure. But then he added that he had never been discouraged from issuing his own "loving invitation to Our dear departed brothers."
He said he would take his cue from his predecessors, but especially from the words and example of Christ, to issue the invitation to unity.
" We intend to pursue humbly but fervently our duty, urged upon Us by the words and example of Jesus . . . which He continues to speak to Us in the vision of the harvests which whiten the vast missionary fields."
He cited the call of Christ to unity and said that " it is upon these calls . . . that peace turns, the peace of Christmas, the peace of Christ . which, wherever and as long as it is missing, leaves the world in agony, and wherever it is present, as the Angels of Bethlehem announced, fills the spirit and the heart with exaultation."
The Pope referred to the ringing of Christmas bells as a call to this peace and unity. But he noted that in many parts of the world there would be ears deaf to their call. There. he said, "it is a very sad duty to recognise the 'evil intent the proofs of which are now common knowledge."
He said he had no desire to make discourteous judgment, and that he wished to he kind in excusing, where possible, and weighing the gravity of the materialism and atheism which oppresses several nations. But. he said, " one cannot deny the slavery of individuals and masses, the slavery of thought and the slavery of labour."
The Pope added: " In the references relating to the freedom of the Church in certain parts of the world, for example. in the great expanse of China, we have already had occasion to point to the most serious actions of very recent date.
" What has for years been happening in countries behind the Iron Curtain is too well known to make more elaborate commentary necessary."
By way of counsel to Christians, he said: .... it is necessary to be watchful in the night that gathers: to take account of the deceits and to number, first, the enemies of God and then to number ourselves and to take part in every defence of Christian principles, which arc now and always the breastplate of true justice " Pope John ended his addresswhich was later broadcast by Vatican Radio i 30 different languages-with the wish that "as many as hear this voice over the airwaves, ... rising above the harmony of the bells to invite all to union and to prayer ... may wish to reinforce their good intentions for the sanctification of the New Year, so that it may become for all the world a year of justice, of blessings, of goodness and of peace."