Pope tells Catholics in China to have courage

By The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI in his Christmas Day message is urging Catholics in China to courageously face limits on religious freedom and conscience.

Benedict is using his traditional holiday speech, delivered Saturday at noon from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, to encourage people living in the world’s troublespots to take strength from the comfort of Christmas. Tensions have flared anew between the Vatican and Beijing over China’s defiance of the pope’s authority to name bishops.