Passion Continues Today as World Ignores Persecution

Widespread indifference to the violent persecution of Christians and other communities suggests the world is full of Pontius Pilates who eagerly wash their hands of all responsibility, the papal preacher said.
How many times the world witnesses other examples of "ecce homo" -- "behold the man" with so many "prisoners that find themselves in the same situation as Jesus in Pilate's Pretorium: alone, shackled, tortured, at the mercy of rough soldiers filled with hate," Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said during the Liturgy of the Lord's Passion.

"Jesus is in agony until the end of the world in every man and woman who is subjected to his same torments" he said in his homily during the April 3 service in St. Peter's Basilica.

Presided over by Pope Francis, the service commemorates Christ's death on the cross.

The pope began the rite after a silent procession down the central nave. Two assistants helped him kneel to lie prostrate on the floor before the main altar in silent prayer, a sign of adoration and penance.

During the veneration of the cross, after the homily, the pope removed his red chasuble and, in a sign of penance, placed a red stole over his shoulders, bowed three times and kissed the cross. Deacons, cardinals, bishops and religious then processed before the cross to genuflect and then kiss Christ's feet.


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