VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI, carrying a tall, lit candle, ushered in Christianity's most joyous celebration with an Easter vigil service Saturday night, but voiced fears that mankind is groping in darkness, unable to distinguish good from evil.
Easter for Christians commemorates Christ's triumph over death with his resurrection following his crucifixion.
"Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies," Benedict, wearing white robes in a symbol of new life, told the faithful in a packed St. Peter's Basilica.
Still, Benedict worried in his homily: "The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all, is the fact that he can see and investigate tangible material things, but cannot see where the world is going or whence it comes, where our own life is going, what is good and what is evil."
Thousands pray in Jerusalem: Thousands of Christians gathered near Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher for Easter Saturday and marched in processions brimming with tradition, taking turns to pray at the site where they believe Jesus was slain and buried. "This day is very important for us. It's the waiting for the great celebration of the resurrection," said Father Ibrahim Shomali, a Palestinian Christian priest from the nearby town of Beit Jala.
Obama celebrates Easter: President Barack Obama marked the Easter holiday and Jewish Passover, and in his weekly radio and Internet address called it a "time to celebrate redemption at God's hand."