Thousands of people gathered in the square outside St. Peter's Basilica this morning (Sunday) where?
Thousands of people gathered in the square outside St. Peter's Basilica this morning (Sunday) where Pope Paul was celebrating Easter Mass. Cheers greeted the Pope as he was carried shoulder high into the square on his portable throne. He smiled and waved with both arms, giving his blessing to those around him. A band played the Papal and the Italian anthems.
Pope Paul, dressed in the white, liturgical embroidered robes was carried to a throne standing near the open-air altar.
Wind billowed the white altar cloth and fluttered the pages of the Bible as the Pope began the Mass. He was assisted by his Sacristan and Vicar for Vatican City. Monsignor Pieter Canisius Van Lierde and other prelates.
Towards the and of the Mass drizzle began to fall. The Pope then walked into the Basilica. A little later he appeared on the balcony wearing in triple crown. His Easter Message was heard by more than two hundred thousand people in the square and millions more in homes throughout Europe.
Pope Paul called on all unbelievers to leave the "gloom" of atheism. He said that this "gloom" would make unbelievers "strive to read in the dark the answer to the why and wherefore of things". The Pope then went on to speak of the "religious crisis which has developed in so many men of our time for reasons which ought rather to have awakened religious convictions." Cultural, scientific, technical and social progress and confused the conscience of modern man and resulted in the delusion that he could be his own master and saviour. Many people were worried, Pope Paul said, by the decay of "that religious consciousness which is at the base of the most solid and most valuable achievements of the human spirit".
He said it was true that Christian life was austere, demanded penance and sacrifice, "but in its essential manifestation Christian life is happiness."
After giving his message Pope Paul blessed the huge crowd and extended Easter greetings to the world...