Pope Francis, at Good Friday service, asked God for forgiveness for scandals in the Catholic Church and for the “shame” of humanity.
He referred to daily scenes of bombed cities and drowning migrants.
Francis presided at a traditional candlelight Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) service at Rome’s Colosseum attended by some 20,000 people and protected by heavy security following recent attacks in European cities.
Francis sat while a large wooden cross was carried in procession, stopping 14 times to mark events in the last hours of Jesus’ life from being sentenced to death to his burial.
At the end of the two-hour service, Francis read a prayer he wrote that was woven around the theme of shame and hope, Reuters reports.
In reference to the Church’s sexual abuse scandal, he spoke of “shame for all the times that we bishops, priests, brothers and nuns scandalized and wounded your body, the Church.”
Francis lamented “the daily spilling of the innocent blood of women, of children, of immigrants” and prayed for those who are persecuted because of their race, social status or religious beliefs.
He spoke of “shame for all the scenes of devastation, destruction and drownings that have become ordinary in our lives.”
Francis expressed the hope “that good will triumph despite its apparent defeat.”
In 2017 alone, more than 650 migrants have died (or are unaccounted for) while trying to cross the sea.