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Pope says John Paul died worried for evil in world

Written by: Staff
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ROME, Mar 26 (Reuters) Pope John Paul died worried that the world seemed dominated by the powers of evil, according to a sermon he had prepared for the day after his death, his successor Pope Benedict today said.

Benedict, visiting a parish on Rome's southern outskirts, read parts of a sermon John Paul had prepared for use on April 3, 2005.

''To humanity, which at times seems lost and dominated by the powers of evil, by selfishness and fear, the risen Lord offers the gift of his love which forgives, reconciles and opens up the spirit to hope,'' the sermon said.

John Paul died on the night of April 2 after days of intense suffering during which he could no longer speak.

Benedict added in his own words: ''In the divine plan it was written that he should leave us on the eve of when he was to have pronounced these words.'' The parish which Benedict visited, in a working class area of Rome, was one of the many his predecessor had worked to open as part of an ambition to build churches in suburbs which were growing sometimes without places of worship.

The Vatican is preparing several events to commemorate next Sunday's first anniversary of John Paul's death, including a prayer service expected to be attended by tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square on Sunday night.

Benedict has put his predecessor on a fast track to possible sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church by waiving rules that would have required a five-year waiting period before the process could have begun.

REUTERS DKS RN1650

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