Wed, 24 Jul 2024

 

Pope Francis skips Good Friday event at last minute ‘to preserve health’ for Easter rituals
 
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Sat, 30 Mar 2024   ||   Nigeria,
 

Pope Francis pulled out of a Good Friday service at the last minute, the Vatican said, “to preserve his health” ahead of major Easter events over the weekend.

The 87-year-old pontiff’s well-being has been watched closely following an operation on his abdomen last year.

In recent weeks Francis has had aides read out several of his speeches as he battles bouts of bronchitis, cold and flu, and he has been in hospital for tests.

Just before the Stations of the Cross service was due to start at Rome’s Colosseum on Friday evening, the Vatican announced Francis would follow it from his residence instead of attending in person.

Officials said the pontiff had presided over the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord at St Peter’s Basilica earlier in the day.

The stations mark various stages of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death, with the pope seeking to apply the biblical account to contemporary concerns.

War, online hatred and the exploitation of women are among the themes tackled by Pope Francis in his Good Friday meditations this year.

In them, he reflects on the judgment of the crowd watching the crucifixion, linking it to online hatred.

“All it takes is a keyboard to spew insults and condemnation,” the pope writes, while appealing for an end to “hasty judgment, gossip, and violent and offensive words.”

The pope also laments in his reflections the “madness” and “trauma” of war, and pledges solidarity with those “demeaned by the arrogance, injustice and power of those who exploit the poor amid general indifference.”

During his meditations Francis also makes special mention of the women who accompanied and helped Jesus before the crucifixion.

“Help us to recognize the dignity of those women who remained faithful and stood by you in your passion, and those who in our own day are exploited and endure injustice and indignity,” the pope said.

 

 

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