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Pope Benedict: 'History is not in the hands of dark powers'

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Ireland On-line

Pope: Fear of God will heal the world

May 12, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI signed autographs, kissed children and shook the hands of hundreds of pilgrims as his latest weekly audience found him warming up to his new role as leader of the world’s Roman Catholics.

Thousands of people turned out yesterday in St Peter’s Square on a warm, sunny day for the third general audience of his papacy following Benedict’s election on April 19.

The Pope also blessed the sick, then waved to the crowd as he took a spin through the square in an opened-topped vehicle, after delivering a homily that offered “fear of God” as an antidote to the world’s ills.

Benedict also warned against a secular view of history in his homily based on biblical texts.

“History is not in the hands of dark powers, of chance or mere human choices,” Benedict said.

Rather, he said: “The Lord is the supreme arbitrator of history.”

In an off-the-cuff remark, Benedict recommended “fear of God” as a way to deal with the difficulties of the world.

“It is through the fear of God that we are not afraid of the world and its problems. We are not afraid of men because God is stronger,” Benedict said.

At the start of his papacy, Pope John Paul II had turned the once formal weekly audiences into an opportunity for personal contact with his flock from around the world, delivering greetings in as many as 10 languages and working the crowd at the end of the appointment.

Benedict in his previous audiences reserved his handshakes for VIPs, indicating to some he might adopt a more formal style for these public appointments.

But yesterday, Benedict seemed to be enjoying the more personal approach of his predecessor.

He lingered for more than an hour on the steps leading to St Peter’s Basilica, spending much of the time with the sick lined up atop the steps in wheelchairs, caressing cheeks, blessing foreheads and often bending down to hear a tale or offer a word of comfort.

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