VATICAN CITY, MARCH 10, 2002 ( Faith in Christ can transform corrupt social, political and economic conditions, says John Paul II.

Jesus "gives the light of faith to the one who receives him, light that is able to transform hearts and, consequently, mentalities, social, political and economic situations dominated by sin," the Holy Father said during his weekly Angelus address.

The 10,000 people gathered today in St. Peter´s Square gave the Pontiff a long applause. The Holy Father, who is recovering from a bout of arthrosis in his right knee, spoke as usual from the window of his study.

He dedicated his address to the Gospel passage of the day´s liturgy, about the man born blind.

"The man born blind represents the man marked by sin, who wishes to know the truth about himself and his own destiny, but is impeded by a congenital malady," the Pope explained.

"Only Jesus can cure him: He is the light of the world. By entrusting oneself to him, every human being, spiritually blind from birth, has the possibility of coming to the light again, that is, to supernatural life," the Pope added.

Referring to the attitude of the Pharisees, who reproached Jesus for performing the miracle on the sabbath, the Holy Father added: "For whomever encounters Christ, there is no other way: Either one recognizes one´s need of him and of his light, or one chooses to ignore him."

"The same presumption impedes both the one who thinks he is just before God, as well as the one who considers himself an atheist, to be open to an authentic conversion," John Paul II stressed.

"May no one, dear brothers and sisters, close his spirit to Christ!" he concluded.