Speaking of Pope Benedict XVI, he has just released an encyclical on hope called Spe Salvi. If you're looking for some quality reading during the Christmas season, this is it!
Oh yeah, remember the Pope's contraversial speech he gave in Germany a year or so ago? If not, he questioned how rational Islam was or if it were a fundamentalist religion, void of any reason. Mass media got it all wrong (go fig) but Islamic scholars saw it as a challenge to give reasons for their faith - which has thus sparked the largest dialogue between Islam and the West in the past 500 years! Now the group of Muslim scholars has sent a warm "Merry Christmas" letter of sorts to the West. Thanks Pope Benedict!