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Huge crowd for Pope’s Sunday audience

February 18, 2013

An enormous crowd, estimated at 150,000, flocked to St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, February 17, for the midday audience by Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope voiced his thanks for the show of support and affection, and asked “that you continue to pray for me and for the next Pope.”

Pope Benedict will hold only one more Angelus audience before his resignation takes effect on February 28. Because the Holy Father is on retreat this week and all papal audiences are cancelled, there will be only one more Wednesday audience in this pontificate as well.

In his remarks on the day’s Gospel, which recounted the temptation of Jesus, the Pope spoke about the nature of temptation, remarking that during Lent the faithful should be more aware of the need to battle temptations. During this penitential season, he explained, the faithful work toward sanctification, and “the spirit of evil, naturally, opposes our sanctification and tries to turn us from God's path.”

The devil, the Pope continued, uses subtlety in his appeals. He pointed toward the temptation of Christ, noting that “Jesus had to unmask and reject the false images of the Messiah proposed to him by the tempter.” Temptations, he said, invariably disguise themselves as forms of good. The devil “doesn't push us directly toward evil, but toward a false good.”


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