dated December 24, 1958: Christmas message

Pope John XXIII, in his first Christmas broadcast on December 23, appealed for peace and said only unity of truth and of true human and Christian brotherhood could overcome the grave perils overhanging mankind. Man’s lack of goodwill was “the most terrible problem of human history”, he declared. In some countries there was “slavery of thought and slavery of work.” In several areas of the world new towers of Babel were being erected – “and they will surely end like the first one.” The Pontiff was speaking from a crimson damask throne into silver microphones in the richly painted Consistorial Hall of the Vatican Palace. The Pope recalled that several decades ago some representative of the Orthodox churches of Eastern Europe planned to concentrate the civilised nations, beginning with an understanding among the various Christian faiths of differing rites and history. He said that this attempt came to nothing and the anguishing problem of the split unity of Christ’s heritage remains a factor of disturbance and prejudice.

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