Pope Benedict XVI warned Christians against loosing the ability to differentiate between good and evil in a dramatic Easter ceremony late Saturday night.
The head of the Catholic Church used a dramatic ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican to underline his message that mankind was groping in darkness.
"Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies," he said.
"The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all, is the fact that [mankind] 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. The darkness enshrouding God and obscuring values is the real threat to our existence and to the world in general."
Benedict started the mass by carrying a tall, lit candle into the darkened basilica, after which thousands of people lit candles they held, illuminating the giant building. The light was meant to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion, which Christians celebrate at Easter.
"If God and moral values, the difference between good and evil, remain in darkness, then all other 'lights,' that put such incredible technical feats within our reach, are not only progress but also dangers that put us and the world at risk," Benedict said in his homily.
In a reference to the environment, a subject he has brought up repeatedly during his papacy, he mentioned urban pollution.
"Today we can illuminate our cities so brightly that the stars in the sky are no longer visible," he said. "Is this not an image of the problems caused by our version of enlightenment? With regard to material things, our knowledge and our technical accomplishments are legion, but what reaches beyond, the things of God and the question of good, we can no longer identify."
The highpoint of Easter is on Sunday, when the pope is set to deliver his "Urbi et Orbi" message "to the city and the world."
ncy/ai (AP, dpa, AFP)