Pope Benedict told Roman Catholics on Thursday that being good was not boring and urged people to reject the idea that they were missing out if they did not sin.
The 78-year-old German pope made his comments in a homily for thousands of people in St. Peter’s Basilica on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a national holiday in many Catholic countries.
“The suspicion emerges in us that a person who does not sin is, after all, boring; that something is missing from his life: the dramatic dimension of being free,” he said.
“We think that bargaining with evil, reserving ourselves a little freedom against God, is, after all, good or even necessary. But looking at the world around us we can see that this is not so,” he said.
Steering clear of the political
Since his election last April, the pope’s homilies have been mostly spiritual and religious in nature, largely steering clear of political controversy.
The pope, who was the Vatican’s doctrinal chief for nearly 25 years before he became pope, has been using his new position to remind Catholics of the basic tenets of their faith.
The Immaculate Conception refers to the Roman Catholic Church’s infallible doctrine, proclaimed in 1854, that Mary, the Mother of God, was conceived without the stain of Original Sin.
The pope’s first encyclical, due to be issued in the next few weeks, deals with one’s personal relationship with God.
An encyclical is the highest form of papal writing addressed to all members of the Roman Catholic Church.
Thursday was also the 40th anniversary of the close of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council.
The Council was a major gathering of bishops that modernized the church, discontinued the old-style Latin mass in favor of services in local languages, and opened the church up to dialogue with other religions, particularly with Jews.
On Thursday afternoon, the pope was due to preside at a traditional ceremony were he lays flowers at the base of a statue of the Madonna at Rome’s famous Spanish Steps.