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Pope issues warning about Satan's covert tactics

The devil is more effective when he goes undetected, John Paul II reminded the faithful on Sunday as he pointed out the weapons a Christian has for combating temptations.

"Every man, in addition to his own concupiscence and the evil example of others, is also tempted by the devil, especially when least aware of it," the Holy Father said from the window of his study before praying the midday Angelus.

Addressing pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square, the Pope said: "How many times [man] easily gives in to the false enticements of the flesh and the evil one, and then experiences bitter disappointments."

The Holy Father pointed out the weapons a Christian has "for the daily combat against evil suggestions": "prayer, the sacraments, penance, careful attention to the Word of God, vigilance and fasting."

The Pope encouraged Christians "to undertake the penitential Lenten journey with greater determination, to be prompt in defeating every seduction of Satan and arrive at Easter in the joy of the spirit."

John Paul II began his own Lenten retreat on Sunday evening under the direction of Franciscan Cardinal Claudio Hummes, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Text of Pope's speech at Angelus (17/2/02)