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Pope: ‘Refocus on God’ to thwart ‘evil spirit’

Pope Benedict XVI urged the tens of thousands of people gathered to listen to him on Sunday to “renew” and “refocus on God by disowning pride and egoism,” in one of his last appearances as pontiff before he steps down on Feb. 28.

Pope Benedict XVI waves in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican on Jan. 27. / Reuters / Osservatore Romano

Pope Benedict XVI waves in Saint Peter’s square at the Vatican on Jan. 27. / Reuters / Osservatore Romano

“The Church calls on all its members to renew themselves… which constitutes a fight, a spiritual battle, because the evil spirit wants us to deviate from the road towards God,” Benedict, 85, said from his balcony, addressing a crowd of more than 100,000 people gathered at St Peter’s Square.

Many pilgrims were holding flags of their countries and banners saying, “Thank You,” “We Love You,” and “We’ll Miss You.” The pope announced last Monday that he would retire after eight years in office due to advanced age which wouldn’t allow him to lead the Catholic Church – the first pontiff in some 600 years to resign. …

Speaking in Italian, the pope added, “In the decisive moments of life – indeed, if we look closely, in every moment – we are at a crossroads. Do we want to follow the self or God? Individual interest or the real good?”


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