From the Vatican:
Vatican City, 20 December 2012 (VIS) – The “Financial Times” daily newspaper has today published an article by Benedict XVI entitled “A time for Christians to engage with the world”. According to an introductory note from the Holy See Press Office, “The Pope’s article for the Financial Times originates from a request from the editorial office of the Financial Times itself which, taking as a cue the recent publication of the Pope’s book on Jesus’ infancy, asked for his comments on the occasion of Christmas. Despite the unusual nature of the request, the Holy Father accepted willingly.
“It is perhaps appropriate to recall the Pope’s willingness to respond to other unusual requests in the past, such as the interview given for the BBC, again at Christmas a few months after his visit to the United Kingdom, or the television interview for the programme ‘A sua immagine’ produced by the RAI, the Italian state broadcasting company, to mark the occasion of Good Friday. These too have been opportunities to speak about Jesus Christ and to bring his message to a wide forum at salient moments during the Christian liturgical year”.
From the Holy Father’s article:
A time for Christians to engage with the world
‘Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God,’ was the response of Jesus when asked about paying taxes. His questioners, of course, were laying a trap for him. They wanted to force Him to take sides in the highly-charged political debate about Roman rule in the land of Israel. Yet there was more at stake here: if Jesus really was the long-awaited Messiah, then surely He would oppose the Roman overlords. So the question was calculated to expose Him either as a threat to the regime, or a fraud.
Jesus’ answer deftly moves the argument to a higher plane, gently cautioning against both the politicisation of religion and the deification of temporal power, along with the relentless pursuit of wealth. His audience needed to be reminded that the Messiah was not Caesar, and Caesar was not God. The kingdom that Jesus came to establish was of an altogether higher order. As He told Pontius Pilate, ‘My kingship is not of this world.’