The Christmas tree is placed in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 5.
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The Vatican said Pope Benedict greeted with a smile the news that a German citizen had filed a complaint against him for not wearing a seat belt in his popemobile.
Christian families are called to welcome, demonstrate and spread the love and presence of Christ in the world, Pope Benedict said.
The Diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand, will reduce the number of parishes by more than half, Bishop Barry Jones announced.
Pope Benedict said Asia offers "vast scenarios of evangelization" for the Church, but currently faces difficulties and "true persecution" in some places.
Pope Benedict said Catholics and Orthodox have a duty to show a united front of mature faith in facing challenges intensified by increased secularism.
Audits of six Irish Catholic dioceses reveal "a marked improvement" in how the Church is handling clerical abuse allegations.
Theology is not simply an academic discipline or a means of explaining the faith to believers, it also has a role in promoting peace and harmony, Pope Benedict said.
The head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X said a "doctrinal preamble" presented by the Vatican needs changes before it can be accepted as the basis for the group's reconciliation.
Excessive focus on money is destroying the environment and dehumanizing people, said Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis.