This week in China, people from around the country are gathering to celebrate the birth of a revered figure, and some will even bow to worship him. This person is of course, Chairman Mao. The Telegraph has posted this interesting and somewhat disturbing feature—titled “In China, Chairman Mao still bigger than Jesus”—about the cult of Mao that still enraptures much of China. Today, on Mao’s 120th birthday, hundreds of thousands will descend on Mao’s home village to celebrate the controversial communist leader’s legacy. There, the day is a really big deal. Lines of the article like: “A train of 120 camels, like modern-day Magi, trekked a thousand miles from the deserts of Inner Mongolia to the village as a publicity stunt” and “The managers of the hall thoughtfully placed three cushions on the floor [around the gold, $20 million Mao statue], embroidered with lotus flowers, for people to fall to their knees,” also show that more than just a day of national remembrance, in some parts of the country, the legacy of Mao has almost turned into a religion itself ... Discuss

During his first Christmas Day "Urbi et Orbi" (message to the city and world), Pope Francis encouraged atheists to work together with Christians to encourage global peace. He told the crowd gathered at St. Peter’s Basilica,

Peace is a daily commitment. It is a homemade peace … I invite even non-believers to desire peace. (Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart. Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace.

His message centered around the theme of peace, as he spoke out against the fighting in South Sudan and asked for an increased dialogue in violence-plagued countries including Syria, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also prayed for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. “God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world" ... Discuss

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