In a recent blog I mentioned the Caritas Baby Hospital in Bethlehem, and the life-saving work that is carried on there, day in, and day out, despite the constant difficulties that are put in the way of those working in the hospital.
Today, I have another story from Bethlehem. Patriarch Fouad Twal, who is the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, addressed his congregation at Christmas Midnight Mass recently, in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem – what more wonderful day, and what more wonderful place! The Patriarch spoke about the birth of Christ, and how that amazing event teaches us many lessons, including the importance of the family and the value of life.
Here is some of what he said:
‘The family is essential for life and proper human development. If the family is healthy, the entire society benefits. If not, the rifts among its members and disunity, have negative impact and consequences on the entire social order. Every family is called by Christ to follow the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth. … Christmas presents us with the unique value of human life, a gift of God. Every child born or unborn, has a distinctive dignity and deserves the greatest respect, because it is created in the image of the Divine Child in the manger.‘It is sad to note and heartbreaking to see that in our world millions of abortions are performed each year because of selfishness, hardness of hearts, ignorance, lack of preparation to accept and foster life, and the outright rejection of a life that begins from the first moment of conception.‘In a world torn apart by violence and fundamentalism, which legitimises the worst actions, including killings in churches, the Child of Bethlehem reminds us that the first commandment is Love. He teaches us forgiveness and reconciliation, even with our enemies.’