Bad news crowds out good, Pope says on New Year's Eve

VATICAN CITY Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:23pm IST

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the First Vespers and Te Deum prayers in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican December 31, 2012. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the First Vespers and Te Deum prayers in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican December 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Grim news grabs more headlines than good works but deeper probing will find a world of love and service hidden in the shadows, Pope Benedict said at his traditional end-of-year Mass on Monday.

The 85-year-old pope, marking the eighth New Year's Eve of his pontificate, celebrated the Vespers and "Te Deum" Mass of thanksgiving in St. Peter's Basilica, during which he urged the faithful to take a step back from negativity in the media.

"Evil makes more noise than goodness: a heinous murder, widespread violence, serious injustices make the news; on the other hand acts of love and service...commonly remain in the shadows," he told thousands of people who attended the Mass.

"We can't just stop at the news if we want to understand the world and life, we have to be capable of standing in silence, in meditation, in calm and prolonged reflection, we have to know how to stop and think," he said.

In the past year the pope has been on visits to Cuba, Mexico and Lebanon but the trial of his former butler, convicted of leaking sensitive documents that alleged corruption in the Holy See, won particular prominence on newspaper front pages.

The leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics had also urged people on Christmas Eve to take a step back from their fast paced lives, and try to find a space for God.

Benedict is due to make his traditional New Year address on January 1, the day the Roman Catholic Church calls its annual World Day of Peace.

The pontiff sent his World Day of Peace message to heads of state, government and institutions such as the United Nations earlier in December, calling for a new global economic model and ethical regulations for markets.

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