This Good Friday at night, in the Roman Coliseum, the place where numerous Christians suffered martyrdom in the first centuries of the Church, became again this year the Via Dolorosa, were thousands of faithful lead by Pope Benedict XVI meditated on the destructive power of sin and the saving power of Christ’s Cross.
The meditations and prayers of the Way of the Cross were prepared this year by the Vicar General of his Holiness for the City of the Vatican, Archbishop Angelo Comastri. At the onset of the way, the text of the prelate was read, in which it affirmed that “as we follow the way of the Cross, we are startled by two facts: the certainty of the devastating power of sin and the certainty of the healing power of God’s love.”
The route of the way of the Cross started inside the famous Flavian amphitheatre, then followed through the Trajan Arch and ended on the Palatine Hill.
The Vicar of the Pope for the diocese of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini carried the cross for the second station, he was then followed by a roman family, a young seminarian from the United States, a young Mexican girl from the diocese of Léon, two Franciscan friars from the Holy Land, a Korean , another women and finally two African girls from Angola and Nigeria.
This was the first time that Benedict XVI presided over this traditional Way of the Cross as Pope. The Holy Father was vested in a red cape and carried the cross during the first and last station.
Before the conclusion of the Way of the Cross, the Holy Father addressed a few words to the faithfull assembled, refering to the importance and centrality of love and mercy.
"The Cross of Our Lord embraces the World, his Way of the Cross goes across continents and times. We are all involved in this way. We cannot be mere spectators. Pilate sought the way to be neutral, to be far off, and it is exactly this way he took a position for conformism and against justice," Pope Benedict said.
"In the mirror of the Cross we have seen all the sufferings of today's humanity. But we have also seen stations of consolation. We have seen the Mother whose goodness is faithful beyond death. we have seen the courageous women kneeling before her Lord without fear of proving her solidarity with the suffering," the Pope said.
He continued bay saying that "in this way, we have been invited all along to find our own place, to find with these righteous ones the path with Jesus, the path of goodness, truth, courage and love."
The pontiff concluded his message refering to his predecessor, " We have understood the Way of the Cross as not only a collation of dark and sad events in the world, but rather as a path of mercy and mercy that puts an end to evil, as we have learnt from Pope John Paul II."