Friday 22 November 2019

Pope warns against evil of using technology to play God

Pope Benedict XVI is assisted down the stairs during the Palm Sunday Mass at the
Vatican yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Pope Benedict XVI is assisted down the stairs during the Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Philip Pullella in Rome

Pope Benedict XVI has warned against the dangers of technological advances.

Addressing a huge crowd at the Palm Sunday outdoor Mass, the German Pope said man will pay the price for his pride if he believes technology can give him the powers of God.

The frail pontiff, who turned 84 on Saturday, said: "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.

"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. And yet the force of gravity which draws us down is powerful," he said.

In what was interpreted as a reference to the Japanese tsunami and nuclear disaster, he said man remains unable to control nature, noting that "our limitations have also remained".

While the great advances of technology have improved life for man, the Pope said, they have also increased possibilities for evil, and recent natural disasters were a reminder, that mankind is not all-powerful.

If man wanted a relationship with God he had to first "abandon the pride of wanting to become God," said the Pope celebrating his sixth Easter season as the leader of the world's some 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

Waving palm fronds and olive branches, pilgrims, tourists and Romans packed St Peter's Square 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 which leads to the Tiber.


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 feet-washing ceremony on Holy Thursday and the traditional night-time Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum on Good Friday. Tens of thousands are also expected for Easter Sunday Mass. Even bigger crowds are expected on May 1, when Pope Benedict will beatify his predecessor Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square.

After the Mass, the Pope appealed for peace in Colombia, calling for wide participation in a day of prayer for the victims of violence to be held there on Friday.

Irish Independent

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