National/World

Pope laments Christmas consumerism, glitter

Saturday, December 24, 2011
Faithful gather in St. Peters Square at the Vatican after the unveiling of the nativity scene, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Christmas Eve Mass on Saturday night, kicking off a busy two weeks of public appearances that will test his stamina. Hours before the evening Mass began, Benedict lit a candle in his studio window overlooking St. Peters Square in a traditional sign of peace. A few hundred people had gathered in the square to watch the candle lighting and the unveiling of the Vaticans larger-than-life nativity scene. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Faithful gather in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican after the unveiling of the nativity scene, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Christmas Eve Mass on Saturday night, kicking off a busy two weeks of public appearances that will test his stamina. Hours before the evening Mass began, Benedict lit a candle in his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square in a traditional sign of peace. A few hundred people had gathered in the square to watch the candle lighting and the unveiling of the Vatican's larger-than-life nativity scene. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (AP Photo)

Pope Benedict XVI is decrying the commercialization of Christmas and urging the faithful to look beyond the holiday's "superficial glitter" to discover its true meaning.

Benedict made the comments Saturday night as he presided over Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. The Mass kicks off an intense two weeks of public appearances that will test the 84-year-old pontiff's stamina amid signs that fatigue is starting to slow him down.

In his homily, Benedict laments that Christmas' commercialization obscures the simplicity of the message of Christ's birth.

He says: "Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem..."

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