Community reaction to Christmas messages from Pope, PM, Queen
A religious leader, a prime minister and a monarch were among the prominent figures sharing Christmas messages with the Canadians this year.
Pope Benedict XVI decried the increasing commercialization of Christmas as he celebrated Christmas Eve Mass on Saturday night, urging the faithful to look beyond the holiday's "superficial glitter" to discover its true meaning.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's short message drew attention to Canada's economic performance despite global financial pressures and vowed to "keep promoting the things that unite us as Canadians."
Queen Elizabeth focused on the importance of family and community spirit as a source of strength in troubled times.
All three messages garnered a great deal of feedback from the CBC community, who had both criticism and praise for the three.
Benedict's address attracted mixed feedback, as many seemed to agree with his anti-commercial message while also criticizing the messenger.
- "I guess the Vatican's 'superficial glitter' is okay though. Benedict is surrounded by riches but has the nerve to criticize others who have far less. I guess this is another example of do as I say, not do as do." - people_are_sheep
- "Even if you're not Catholic or Christian, there's something to this. Christmas is way too commercialized. The Pope probably isn't the right person to be preaching against 'superficial glitter' though." - SpencerCanuck
- "Yes, lets avoid glitter at all costs. I will never forget the touring of Roman Catholic vestments and various objects I saw at a Canadian museum some years ago. Just one of those gowns heavy with gold thread embroidery and gems, would feed a small village for a year." - daxiewalker
Others said the discussion should centre on the substance of the speech, not the man or his denomination
- "I am sick of those who find fault with the messenger. Not the message. I wear a gold cross. I am almost in the poor house. I am not even Catholic." - Mentalist
- "Wow. Let's all knock the Pope and the Catholic Church. That way we can avoid thinking about what he said... which is very obviously correct!" - Seeker44
- "As usual, many criticize the Holy Father and his homily while completely ignoring his message which is applicable to every single person who celebrates Christmas. This special day is indeed so much more than the 'glitter' that he referred to and gifts that we exchange." - djayq101
The prime minister's short message generated the most feedback of the three, but the majority of responses ranged from lukewarm to hostile.
- "The words are nice, it's the sincerity I doubt." - OdysseusCA
- "Hey Steve, the biggest thing that unites the majority of Canadians who I know is an absolute loathing of you." - SendLawyersGunsan
- "A Christmas message should be an expression of goodwill to all Canadians....not another propaganda opportunity." - Spirit_of_67
- "Since you won the election, you've been a naughty, autocratic, narcissistic, anti-democratic boy. I hope you get a lot more lumps of coal in your stocking." - MVOttawa
But a few people did appreciate Harper's short address.
- "Thank you Mr Harper, and a very Merry Christmas to you and your family!" - HolyMacinaw
- "People need to chill out. This is a Christmas message, there's other places to criticize or defend the Conservative government. Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday's to every and all Canadians, regardless of your political affiliations." - Wobbler
- "That was a good message, and a good short speech. Before you decide to love or hate Old Steve for saying what he said, remember this...The PM absolutely must issue a Christmas statement, and that statement must be as all-inclusive and as short as possible. If you look at it for what it is, it was a good statement." - Vegan Carnivore
Queen Elizabeth's message, which was recorded prior to Prince Philip's medical emergency, was mostly well received. Many agreed with her emphasis on family and community.
- "I look forward to the Sovereign's message each year, and have since I was a little boy. It always seems relevant, and never fails to leave a lasting impression on me." - Moniker7
- "What wonderful advice. Thank you, Mum." - Cybernetics
- "It may seem that the old symbols that people (are supposed to) look up to - monarchy, religious figures etc... - are anachronistic and arbitrary. However, if we remove these, what are we going to replace them with?" - Petrache
- "I would much rather a Queen than the debauchery of the Hollywood idolatry or political debauchery. Merry Christmas Queen Elizabeth." - Cyreen
However, the Queen also had her detractors.
- "I wish her the best - but she is the last person who should be lecturing the rest of us about family." - ThomasMarkus
- "Remnant from a pointless, antiquated system of
control." - Bruce!
Do you pay attention to Christmas messages from prominent figures? Do you focus more on what is said or on who says it?
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
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