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Pope leads Passion Liturgy in St. Peter’s

Pope Francis presides over the Passion of the Lord mass on Good Friday in St. Peter's basilica at The Vatican

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 04/07/23

In the homily, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa returned to the famous quotation of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, "God is dead."

As planned, Pope Francis presided over the celebration of the Passion of Christ in St. Peter’s Basilica on April 7, 2023. Shortly before the service, the Vatican press office announced that the Pope would not go to the Colosseum in the evening to preside over the traditional Stations of the Cross, due to the brisk temperatures in Rome today.

A week after his hospitalization for bronchitis, Pope Francis decided to forego the Palatine Hill to protect his health. Instead he will follow the Stations of the Cross from his residence in Casa Santa Marta at 9:15 pm.

The text of the Stations is here.

In St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis arrived shortly before 5 pm in a wheelchair. Unable to lie down in front of the Cross as the liturgy suggests, he remained for a few moments before the altar in silence. Then he was wheeled to the presider’s chair.

During the celebration, which lasted nearly two hours, he stood several times, including to kiss the large crucifix.

While the rite includes a number of prayers, which the Pope led, he did at times clear his throat and perhaps had a somewhat weaker voice than normal.

A meditation on the death of God

After the chanting of the account of the Passion of Christ, the preacher of the Pontifical Household delivered the homily, as is customary for Good Friday.

In his meditation, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa returned to the famous quotation of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: “God is dead.”

Certainly, Christians confess the death of Christ on Good Friday; “but it is another death of God that has been proclaimed for a century and a half in our secularized Western world,” lamented the Capuchin religious, speaking of an “ideological and not historical” death of God.

Holy WeekPope Francis
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