Pope Francis presided over the Good Friday liturgy of the Lord’s Passion in the Basilica of St. Peter. Earlier, the Vatican announced that in the evening due to the cold, the pope will not be on the way of the cross at the Colosseum. Six days ago, he left the hospital with bronchitis.
Francis arrived at the Basilica of St. Peter in a wheelchair. Then he prayed for a long time before the altar.
During the service in the basilica, the homily was not preached by the pope, as he had been doing since the pontificate John Paul II preacher of the Papal Household, which is currently 88-year-old Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa.
In his sermon, the 88-year-old monk said that for a century and a half in the “secularized Western world” a “different death of God” has been preached, “ideological, not historical” – he assessed.
He recalled words from Nietzsche’s text: “Where is God? We killed him – you and I.”
– Evidently, in the place of God, nothing is put, but man, and more precisely, “superman” or “last man.” It is now necessary to say about this new man – with a sense of contentment and pride, not pity: “Ecce homo” – this is a real man – said the preacher. He also warned: – But we will not fail to realize that a man left to himself is nothing.
Cardinal Cantalamessa also pointed out that “in the intellectual circles of the postmodern West” one breathes an atmosphere whose “common denominator” is “complete relativism in every field: ethics, language, philosophy, art and, of course, religion.”
– Nothing is solid anymore, everything is liquid, or even evaporating. In the times of Romanticism we wallowed in melancholy, today in nihilism – said Cardinal Cantalamessa. He stressed that believers must be protected from this nihilism and called it “the black hole of the spiritual universe.”
Pope Francis will not take part in the Stations of the Cross
The Holy See’s press office previously announced that Francis would not participate in the evening Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum due to the low temperatures in Rome. He will be watching her from Santa Marta’s House in Vaticanwhere he lives.
The Vatican’s suspicions that such a decision could be made have therefore been confirmed, given that the 86-year-old Francis is recovering from hospitalization and was still coughing on Thursday. Pope he was discharged from the hospital on April 1where he was suffering from bronchitis.
However, the Vatican has not announced any changes to the rest of the papal Holy Week schedule. He is to preside over the celebrations on Saturday evening at the Basilica of St. Peter’s Square, and on Easter Sunday he is to give his bi-annual blessing “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. Peter.
Francis will not preside over the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum for the first time since the beginning of his pontificate. The last pope to leave the Stations of the Cross service was John Paul II. Ill health prevented him from leaving the Vatican in the last weeks of his life in 2005.
The Stations of the Cross service at the Colosseum will begin at 21.15.
“Words of peace in a world full of war”
The Vatican has published the text of the considerations accompanying the Way of the Cross in the Colosseum. The reflections were called “Words of peace in a world full of war”. At one of the stations, words of young people were combined with Ukraine and Russia. Other stations describe the sufferings of people living in different parts of the world, including migrants and refugees.
The introductory prayer of the Stations of the Cross contains the following words: “Lord Jesus, at your birth, the angels in heaven proclaimed: ‘On earth, peace to men.’ Now our prayers ascend to heaven to bring peace to earth, the deepest desire of human beings of all times.” .
“We pray, begging for the peace you have entrusted to us and which we are unable to protect. Jesus, embrace the whole world from the cross: forgive us our mistakes, heal our hearts, give us your peace” – is the first prayer of the Way of the Cross.
At the first station, words of peace from the Holy Land will be heard: “Violence seems to be our only language. The mechanism of mutual retaliation is constantly fueled by our own pain, which often becomes the only criterion for judgment. Justice and forgiveness cannot talk to each other. We live together, we recognizing each other, denying each other’s existence, condemning each other, in an endless and increasingly brutal vicious circle.
“Christ invites us not to use the measure of Pilate and the crowd, but to recognize the suffering of the other, to introduce justice and forgiveness into the dialogue, to desire salvation for all.”
The experience of a migrant from West Africa will also be presented, as he tells how he crossed the desert and reached Libyawhere he was locked up in a detention centre; “worst place in the world”. After several tries, he got there Malta. He confessed: “Every night I asked God why: why should people like us be considered enemies? So many people fleeing war wear crosses similar to mine.”
Young people from Central America wrote about the “spiral of drug trafficking, violence, addiction and exploitation of people” and “the impunity of those who cheat, kidnap and kill”. A South American woman described her experience when she and her young daughter were injured by a bomb planted by guerrillas.
There will also be the words of a monk from the Balkan Peninsula who was imprisoned and tortured, and teenagers from North Africa staying in a refugee camp.
“Words of peace from young people from Ukraine and Russia”
Reflections at the tenth station of the station – “Jesus stripped of his clothes” were presented as “words of peace from young people from Ukraine and Russia”.
They are as follows: “Last year, my father and mother took me and my younger brother to Italy, where our grandmother has been working for over 20 years. We left Mariupol at night. At the border, the soldiers stopped my father and told him that he must stay in Ukraine to fight. We continued on the bus for two more days.”
The young Ukrainian continues: “After arriving in Italy, I was sad. I felt stripped of everything: completely naked. I didn’t speak the language and had no friends. Grandma tried very hard to make me happy, but I just said I wanted to go home “Finally, my family decided to return to Ukraine. Here the situation is still difficult, there is war on all sides, the city is destroyed. But in my heart I still have that certainty that my grandmother told me when I cried: ‘You will see that everything will pass . And with the help of the good God, peace will return.'”.
After these words, the words of a young Russian will be heard: “I am a Russian boy … while I say this, I almost feel guilty, but at the same time I do not understand why and I feel doubly bad. Stripped of happiness and dreams for the future.”
“For two years I have seen my grandmother and mother cry. The letter told us about the death of my older brother, I still remember him on his 18th birthday, smiling and shining like the sun, all just a few weeks before we left on a long journey. Everyone they told us that we must be proud, but at home there was only a lot of suffering and sadness. The same happened with dad and grandpa, they also left and we don’t know anything else about them,” the Russian boy wrote.
He added: “Someone of my schoolmates, with great fear, whispered in my ear that there was a war. On my way home, I wrote a prayer: Jesus, please, let there be peace in the whole world and that we may all be brothers.”
At the eleventh station, a young resident of the Middle East will describe his suffering: “In 2012, groups of armed extremists attacked our neighborhood, killing people on balconies and apartment blocks with machine gun fire. I was nine years old. I remember the anguish of my mother and father. hugged and in prayer, aware of the new difficult reality that was ahead of us.
A nun from East Africa will talk about the brutal crime committed against a missionary, and girls from South Africa will talk about the tortures they suffered.
The final prayer is 14 thanks to Jesus, including for the meekness that overcomes arrogance, for the courage with which he embraced the cross, and for the peace that flows from his wounds.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/GIUSEPPE LAMI