Papal Benedictions on Easter Day stretch back a very long way
The above shows the crowds in the third quarter of the nineteenth century with all the carriages lined up in St Peter`s Square.
Today in his Easter Message, Pope Benedict XVI said a great deal. Here is a report of a section of his speech:
" [T]he Pope said that the Resurrection was "not a fairytale" and attacked the "emptiness" of materialism and atheism. He said that thanks to the Resurrection of Christ "death no longer has power over man".
"Even if through Easter, Christ has destroyed the root of Evil, He still wants the assistance of men and women in every time and place who help him to affirm His victory using His own weapons: the weapons of justice and truth, mercy, forgiveness and love...
At a time of world food shortage, of financial turmoil, of old and new forms of poverty, of disturbing climate change, of violence and deprivation which force many to leave their homelands in search of a less precarious form of existence, of the ever present threat of terrorism, of growing fears over the future, it is urgent to rediscover grounds for hope".
He added: "Let no-one draw back from this peaceful battle that has been launched by Christ's Resurrection".
He said that Easter raises "one of the questions that most precoccupies men and women: what is there after death? To this mystery today's solemnity allows us to respond that death does not have the last word, because life will be victorious at the end."
(Source: The Times )