- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
Pope leads faithful in Palm Sunday Mass
VATICAN CITY (AP) — PopeBenedict XVI, leading a huge crowd at a Palm Sunday outdoor Mass, lauded man’s technological accomplishments but lamented that his increasing abilities also can be used for evil.
Waving palm fronds and olive branches — symbols of peace — pilgrims, tourists and Romans packed St. Peter's Square on a sunny, breezy day for the start of Holy Week ceremonies. When the ceremony began, the square was nearly full, but by its end, a crowd numbering in the tens of thousands spilled over into the broad boulevard that leads to the Tiber.
Palm Sunday’s liturgy recalls Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and Benedict’s homily reflected on how the triumphs of men and women also are tempered by selfishness and evil.
“From the beginning, men and women have been filled — and this is as true today as ever — with a desire to be like God, to attain the heights of God by their own powers,” the pope said. “All the inventions of the human spirit are ultimately an effort to gain wings,” he added.
“Mankind has managed to accomplish so many things: We can fly! We can see, hear and speak to one another from the farthest ends of the earth,” the pope told the faithful.
“And yet the force of gravity which draws us down is powerful,” dragging people “toward selfishness, falsehood and evil,” the pope said.
He also referred to recent natural disasters that man has been unable to control, noting that “our limitations have also remained.”
Near the ceremony’s beginning, Benedict, wearing crimson-and-gold-colored robes, silently observed a long and solemn procession of prelates and rank-and-file faithful as a choir’s voices rang out across the square, and he blessed the palms and olive branches. Clerics sang a nearly hourlong recounting from the Gospels of the events that led to Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion.
Benedict turned 84 on Saturday. As the ceremony ended, a man in the crowd shouted, “Long live the pope!” and some faithful broke into a the Italian version of “Happy Birthday to You.”
The pope’s stamina appeared to hold up well during the nearly three-hour appearance, the first of a series of public ceremonies as Holy Week continues.
The services include a foot-washing ceremony on Holy Thursday and the traditional nighttime Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum on Good Friday. Tens of thousands of faithful also are expected for Easter Sunday Mass.
Even bigger crowds are expected May 1, when Benedict will beatify his immediate predecessor, Pope John Paul II, in St. Peter's Square.
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
Team Obama's bizarre behavior helps Gitmo terrorists foil justice
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- With pot and e-cigarettes, Big Tobacco is just waiting to inhale emerging markets
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- KEENE: Familiar refrains from Britain's 'Tea Party'
- Skeptics on all sides take aim of John Kerry's tentative deal on Ukraine
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.