Pope decries 'all crosses of suffering' on Good Friday

Update: 2019-04-20 18:13 GMT

Vatican City: 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 pedophile clergy.

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."

Bonetti (the Nun) told Rai state TV that "we are all responsible" for these women's plight, saying "indifference is the biggest reason these girls are still on the street."

In one of her meditations, read aloud as the faithful listened in utter silence, Bonetti said that "it is easy to wear a crucifix on a chain around our neck or to use it to decorate the walls of our beautiful cathedrals or homes.

Less easy is acknowledging today's newly crucified: the homeless, unemployed youth, immigrants relegated to slums at the fringe of our societies after having endured untold suffering," the nun said.

Populist leaders in Italy and several other European countries have taken to holding a hard line against migrants, refusing to accept those rescued at sea from traffickers' unseaworthy boats. The US administration of Donald Trump is also determined to keep out illegal migrants.

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