Pope Francis used a Good Friday ceremony to decry “all the crosses” of suffering in the world, including those borne by migrants who find doors closed due to “political calculations” and children who are harmed in their “innocence and purity”, in a reference to paedophile clergy.
From a canopied platform on the Palatine Hill, Francis watched the traditional torch-lit, nighttime procession at Rome’s Colosseum that solemnly recalled the crucifixion of Jesus.
Along with thousands of pilgrims, tourists and Romans, he listened to reflections that were composed by an elderly Italian nun, who for 25 years has gone out to the city’s streets to bring comfort and hope to migrant women who were trafficked into prostitution.
Francis prayed to Jesus to help “us to see in your cross all the crosses of the world”. The pope cited persons starved for food and for love, and those “abandoned even by their own children or parents”.
Then he touched on two issues heavily marking his papacy – how to promote the cause of often rejected migrants and to deal with a sea of scandals over Catholic clergy’s sexual abuse of children.
Francis said migrants “find doors closed because of fear and hearts hardened by political calculations.”
He also decried the “cross of the little ones, wounded in their innocence and their purity”. Francis didn’t directly cite the church scandals.
The nun, Eugenia Bonetti, who works with many Nigerian women and other migrants who have fallen prey to human traffickers, spoke with Francis just before the start of the procession.
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