Pope Benedict: Light shines through darkness

Holding a tall lit candle, Pope Benedict introduced light to a pitch-black and packed Vatican Square, Easter Saturday night.

Picking up from the darkened surrounds, the Pontiff wove his homily around the theme of darkness and light.

“Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies,” Benedict told the faithful in a packed St. Peter’s Basilica.

Repeating one of the central themes of his pontificate, Benedict said humanity was too often in awe of technology instead of being in awe of God.

“Today we can illuminate our cities so brightly that the stars of the sky are no longer visible. Is this not an image of the problems caused by our version of enlightenment?”

“The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all, is the fact that he can see and investigate tangible material things, but cannot see where the world is going or whence it comes, where our own life is going, what is good and what is evil.”

On Easter Sunday the Pope focused his attention on Syria and the suffering of Syrians.

Recently returned from a visit to Mexico and Cuba, a tired-looking Benedict struggled with hoarseness as he led the crowd.

“May the risen Christ grant hope to the Middle East and enable all the ethnic, cultural and religious groups in that region to work together to advance the common good and respect for human rights,” the pope said.

“Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community,” Benedict said, making Syria the first of several strife-torn countries he mentioned in his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (Latin for “to the city and to the world”) Easter speech.

The Syrian government on Sunday appeared to be backing out of a cease-fire deal aimed at ending the country’s crisis, saying that it will not withdraw its troops from cities without written guarantees from armed groups that they also will lay down their weapons.


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