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BISHOP WEIGAND STRESSES RETURN OF HOPE FOR PEACE

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The Most Rev. William K. Weigand, Catholic Bishop of Salt Lake City, has issued his annual Christmas message.

It reads in part:"For a generation now the world has endured the prospect of a nuclear holocaust. A survey conducted a number of years ago found that the majority of U.S. teenagers believed that armed confrontation involving the superpowers was inevitable and that human civilization as we know it would be annihilated in a nuclear Armageddon. Facing such darkness and gloom and a future characterized by overwhelming hopelessness, many opted to retreat into an equally bleak inner landscape of drugs and alcohol, self-indulgence and depression.

"Recent times, however, have witnessed an unprecedented reversal in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. Changes long thought impossible have swept through Eastern Europe with amazing rapidity, toppling one hardline Communist regime after another and introducing democratic, economic and religious reforms. New and entirely unforeseen events unfold almost daily as this great drama of human rights is being played out.

"Secular analysts may attribute the inspiration behind these occurrences to a variety of influences and persons. Biblical faith brings a very different vision to the interpretation of human reality, the `signs of the times.' Is not God himself opening doors that humankind was powerless to open? Is not God doing something new and marvelous to behold, smashing the yoke of oppression , the pole which breaks the human spirit, the iron rod of totalitarianism, manifesting his judgment, and fashioning from the implements of intimidation fuel for the fire of justice in the kingdom?"