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Christmas: Christianity and Islam compared.

Rome -- Speaking about why Christians celebrate Jesus' birth, Archbishop Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cot Unum," noted that this question, which seems superfluous, must be answered again today in a spirit of faith, whether in reference to some of our contemporaries or to some politicians. God, almighty Creator of the universe, before whose incommensurable dimensions astronomy is ever more astonished, has sent his Son to us as a sign of his love and of his will to save us.

In fact, by increasingly obfuscating the profound reason for the celebration of His birth, modern man's culture and habits of life are unable to keep alive the truths of Christianity. Therefore, the Gospel needs heralds and witnesses to forge people's lives.

Archbishop Cordes went on to say: it has been revealed, to us Christians, that God is love. This is not so, for example, in the case of Islam, for which there is only an unapproachable and hidden author of a law, whose will alone can be known by men.

For Catholics, God has a face, and we can say "You" to Him. Moreover, He has a Son, because His love is not sterile, but dynamic and creative. Therefore, if the fact of being able to establish an I-You relationship with God distinguishes biblical Revelation in an unfathomable way from the Koran, much more so does the fatherhood of God!

In the Koran, Allah has 99 names, but never the name Father. On the contrary, it would be a scandalous sacrilege for a Muslim to assert that Allah has a son.

In the centuries preceding His birth, Jesus was anxiously awaited by the Chosen People. The Old Testament is an impressive document of the hope of salvation and liberation by Yahweh. In the fullness of time God finally sent His Son, born of the Virgin Mary. Thus, in Him He was able to begin the history of redemption, because God has the power to efface sin. Only Christ's divine nature could do this. In His divinity, Jesus has effaced all of humanity's offences, those of ancestors, those of every day, and also our own, those hidden or denied. Faults, as we know, are the root of all misery and despair. Christians take the example of the birth of the Saviour to practice charity, love toward one's neighbor, understood not as philanthropy but as a commitment of truth and faith (Zenit, Dec. 21/04).
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Title Annotation:Vatican
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Feb 1, 2005
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