Good Friday: Way of the Cross at Collosseum

 In the Vatican Basilica on Good Friday, the Pope presided at the celebration of the Lord's Passion. Following the reading of the Passion, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap, preacher of the Pontifical Household, gave his traditional Good Friday homily in which he recalled how, whilst the Passion and Death of the Saviour are being celebrated, millions of people are induced to believe, "by the skillful manipulation of ancient legends, that Jesus of Nazareth was never in fact crucified." At 9.15pm, the Holy Father travelled to the Colosseum where he led the 'Via Crucis' or Way of the Cross. The loss of a sense of sin and its dramatic consequences for humanity were the central theme of the meditations, which this year were prepared by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, the Pope's vicar general for Vatican City State. Benedict XVI carried the cross for the first and last stations. Over the other stations, it was borne by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, a family from the city, an American seminarian, two female religious, three young women from Mexico, Angola and Nigeria, and two Franciscans from the Custody of the Holy Land. At the end of the ceremony, the Holy Father delivered some off-the-cuff remarks to those present: "The Cross of the Lord," he said, "embraces the world. Its 'Via Crucis' covers all continents and times. In the 'Via Crucis' we cannot be mere spectators. We too are involved and so must seek out our place." "In the Cross of Christ today," he went on, "we have seen the suffering of abandoned and abused children; threats against the family; the division of the world in the pride of the rich who do not see Lazarus at their door, and the poverty of so many who suffer hunger and thirst." Yet the suffering is accompanied by consolation, he added. "We have seen the Mother, whose goodness remained faithful to the end. We have seen the courageous woman who remained before the Lord and was not afraid to show her solidarity with the One Who suffered. We have seen Simon of Cyrene, the African who bore the Cross with Christ." In this way, said Pope Benedict, "we have understood that the 'Via Crucis' is not simply a collection of the dark and sad things of the world. It is not useless moralism or a cry of protest that changes nothing. The 'Via Crucis' is the way of mercy, of the mercy that puts a limit to evil. This is what we learned from Pope John Paul II." It is, he concluded, "the way of mercy, and so the way of salvation. And thus we are invited to take the path of mercy and, with Jesus, to place a limit to evil." Source: VIS

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