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Report: Conversion overcomes evil, shields people, society from ruin, pope says

March 12, 2007

From Catholic Online

Accept Christ’s call to conversion as the only effective way to confront and overcome evil, Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics in his third Angelus address of the Lenten season.

In March 11 remarks, delivered before the recitation of the midday Angelus to thousands of pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square here, Pope Benedict said that, while conversion may not always allow mankind to avoid the consequences of sin and evil, without undergoing a heartfelt examination of conscience and the subsequent change required “we will perish.”

“Conversion overcomes evil at its root, which is sin, though it cannot always avoid its consequences,” he said.

Conversion “is the most effective response to evil, at all levels – interpersonal, social and international,” the pope said. “This is wisdom.”

Pope Benedict referred to the Gospel of Luke, in which Jesus comments on two events of misfortune, noting that “according to the mentality of the time, the people tended to think that the misfortune fell on the victims because of their grave fault.”

Yet, Jesus advises that “it is no good to blame the victims,” the pope said.

“What is truly wise,” he stressed, “consists in allowing oneself to be questioned by the precariousness of existence and to adopt an attitude of responsibility: to do penance and improve our lives.”

“The need for conversion,” the pope added, is “the only appropriate response to events that put human certainties in crisis.”

A serious examination of conscience coupled with “a commitment to purify our lives” allows mankind a way to “prevent evil and to neutralize some of its threats, he said.”

The act of doing penance and correcting conduct “is not simply moralism,” the pontiff told the Catholic gathered, “but the most effective way to improve both ourselves as well as society.”

“People and societies that live without questioning themselves have ruin as their only final end,” Pope Benedict said.

Pray to the virgin Mary, the pope urged Catholics, to help “rediscover the grandeur … the beauty of conversion.”

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness,” he concluded.

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