The Holy Father made this comment today in his address to those gathered in St. Peter's Square to recite the Angelus.
The Pope commented on the Gospel passage of today's liturgy in which Jesus commented on two current events of that time: a squelched uprising in Galilee and a fallen tower in Jerusalem.
"According to the mentality of the time," said the Pontiff, "the people tended to think that the misfortune fell on the victims because of their grave fault."
Speaking from the window of his study, the Holy Father said that instead of blaming the victims, Christ led listeners toward the need for their own conversion.
"He does not present it in moralistic, but rather in realistic terms, as the only appropriate response to events that put human certainties in crisis," said Benedict XVI.
The Pope continued: "In the face of certain misfortunes ... it is no good to blame the victims. What is truly wise, rather, consists in allowing oneself to be questioned by the precariousness of existence and to adopt an attitude of responsibility: to do penance and improve our lives.
"Christ invites us to respond to evil first of all through a serious examination of conscience and with the commitment to purify our lives."
"In fact," he said, "people and societies that live without questioning themselves have ruin as their only final end."
However, the Pontiff added: "Conversion, on the contrary, despite the fact it does not preserve us from problems and adversities, enables us to address them in a different 'way.'
"Above all it helps to prevent evil, and to neutralize some of its threats. And, in any case, it enables us to overcome evil with good, though not always at the level of events -- which at times are independent of our will -- certainly always at the spiritual level."
"In short," said the Holy Father, "conversion overcomes evil at its root, which is sin, though it cannot always avoid its consequences."
Benedict XVI encouraged all Christians to "rediscover the grandeur, I would even say the beauty, of conversion."
The Pope said: "To do penance and correct our conduct is not simply moralism, but rather the most effective way to improve both ourselves as well as society.
"it is better to light a match than to curse the darkness."