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Justin Welby Blasts Fake News, Urges Christians to Proclaim Good News of Jesus Christ in Christmas Message

Archbishop Welby in Jerusalem
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (center) walks with Azzam al-Khatib (center, left), head of the Jordanian Waqf, or Islamic trust, that administers the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, during a visit to the Dome of the Rock on the site in Jerusalem's Old City on May 3, 2017. |

Anglican bishops from around the world sent out messages to churches, ruminating on what Christmas is and how the Good News of Jesus is relevant to us in today's world.

"This year we have learned a new phrase in various parts of the world. This phrase is 'fake news,'" wrote the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in his "Ecumenical Christmas Letter" to churches around the world.

"Fake news is dishonest; it is deliberate misinformation published in order to deceive, to confuse and disrupt. ... It is the antithesis of the Good News. Fake news is but lying and does not come from God," Welby explained. "The Good News is good news for all people, whatever their situation in life. It is good news for politicians and leaders but is also good news for the refugees and displaced persons who continue to flee from danger and seek safety and sanctuary."

The archbishop stressed that we are called to pass on the Good News we have received "and to make real the promise of that good news to those in need."

"This Christmas I pray that we might, as Christians with one voice, proclaim again the Good News that is our salvation in Jesus Christ," he concluded.

Writing from India, Bishop Thomas K Oommen, moderator of the Church of South India, said the Christians there were finding it "difficult to enter into the Christmas spirit this year as the Okhy Cyclone severely affected the coastal areas of South India and robbed the property and the lives of many people."

Christian persecution has also steeply risen in India since the Hindu rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party won the general election in 2014.

At a time of such crisis, "probably the most appropriate belief about Jesus of Nazareth is that he has come to the rescue in a hopeless situation," Oommen added.

The Church of South India is a member of the Anglican Communion.

"Christ came in the midst of a time when all seemed lost – His coming into the world was marked with the reality of an empire asserting its rule over the nation of Israel, the genocide of innocents and constant uncertainty — but it is exactly during that time of ambiguity that God indeed came in the person of the infant Jesus who became the 'Immanuel' — God with us!"

Oommen urged that "by our presence and care one who is in hopelessness should feel the presence of God and they should say "Yes God is with us."

Primate Bishop Francisco De Assis Da Silva of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil was also among the Anglican bishops who sent out Christmas greetings.

Mantioning "ideological radicalisation, dominated by narcissistic leaderships and the abandonment of dialogue" around the world, Da Silva acknowledged that in Brazil, "we have practically had a nightmare of growing poverty, the violence of the suppression of workers' rights, and the depressing spectacle of corruption, generating more wealth for the few and more exclusion for the majority."

But today's times "are not, in terms of structure, more difficult than those times in Palestine," he added.

"Today, I worry a lot about people who want to 'know' about Jesus, but do not have the courage to follow Him! I also worry about people of religion who only care about power or with the entourage of thirsty followers of easy and seductive words," he continued. "May the Christmas of the Lord cease to be just a great consumer feast. May it become a sign of renewal of our full humanity that is born of the full humility of a child who directs us in his smile full of light."

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