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Full text of Pope Francis’s address at the Colosseum

By on Friday, 29 March 2013

Pope Francis takes part in the Via Crucis at the Colosseum (AP)

Pope Francis takes part in the Via Crucis at the Colosseum (AP)

Dear Brother and Sisters, thank you for having taken part in these moments of deep prayer. I also thank those who have accompanied us through the media, especially the sick and elderly.

I do not wish to add too many words. One word should suffice this evening, that is the Cross itself. The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in the world. Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word which is love, mercy, forgiveness. It also reveals a judgment, namely that God, in judging us, loves us. If I embrace his love then I am saved, if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but my own self, because God never condemns, he only loves and saves.

Dear brothers and sisters, the word of the Cross is also the answer which Christians offer in the face of evil, the evil that continues to work in us and around us. Christians must respond to evil with good, taking the Cross upon themselves as Jesus did. This evening we have heard the witness given by our Lebanese brothers and sisters: they composed these beautiful prayers and meditations. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to them for this work and for the witness they offer. We were able to see this when Pope Benedict visited Lebanon: we saw the beauty and the strong bond of communion joining Christians together in that land and the friendship of our Muslim brothers and sisters and so many others. That occasion was a sign to the Middle East and to the whole world: a sign of hope.

We now continue this Via Crucis in our daily lives. Let us walk together along the Way of the Cross and let us do so carrying in our hearts this word of love and forgiveness. Let us go forward waiting for the Resurrection of Jesus.

  • John rice

    Just lets wait until every Christian has been killed or forced to flee by our Muslim brothers, (no sisters!) because we do not want to upset any radical Muslim who hates and believes all Christians should be killed. Frank, that is how the new pope has asked to be addressed, why don’t you ask the Saudi government if you can practice you fake humility there? Then the shepherds would truly smell of the sheep as you you asked of the priests on Maundy Thursday

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    VERY BEAUTIFUL. IT is in the Spirit of the Son of God, the Savior of All People on the face of the earth.

    We should have no enemies, for the Lord told us, “Love your enemies…., Pray for those who persecute you……..

    When we truly Love such people, in and through the Spirit of the Lord, it is the Lord himself who will conquer them…not through violence…, not by inflicting war and death….

    We have the greatest example of this in ST.Paul and may be there are many more such cases in the history of the Church.

    Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

  • justine

    The message this Easter is to face evil with good.
    It is very difficult to do. In fact I venture to say it is precisely why Christ was crucified. The great power there (Rome) didn’t like or get his message.
    For as long as people score points (even if they have validity) the world will remain in the mess it has always been in.
    The hope for change is what, I feel, the Pope was speaking of. Without hope we have nothing.

  • Benedict Carter

    Taken from Msgr. Van Noort’s “Christ’s Church” (1958):

    “…one should not leap to the absurd conclusion that all things are licit to the pope; or that he may turn things topsy-turvy in the Church at mere whim. Possession of power is one thing; a rightful use of power quite another. The supreme pontiff has received his power for the sake of building up the Church, not tearing it down. In exercising his supreme power he is by divine law strictly bound by the laws of justice, equity, and prudence. These laws require that unless necessity or great utility urge the contrary, the pope should, for example respect the legitimate customs obtaining in various places, observe prescribed ecclesiastical laws, etc. These laws, even though they do not possess a binding power for the pope, do nonetheless normally have for him a directive power.”

  • la catholic state

    There may not be much the Pope can or will do…..but eventually some form of material solution will need to be put in place for Middle Eastern Christians. It might not necessarily come from the Pope…..maybe we will have to take matters into our own hands.
    How about creating a Christian homeland in Lebanon?!

  • la catholic state

    I agree with you Justine…..but it is very easy for us in the free (for now only) West to tell Middle Eastern Christians that they must endure whatever comes their way. A practical solution to their situation must found …..soon.

  • Kevin

    “God never condemns, he only loves and saves”

    To describe the Cross as God’s active response to evil is quite a profound point. The above quote, however, reads like an attempt to avoid entrapment, for example a liberal trap that would have God portrayed as “cruel”.

    I do not think that the above quote is warranted by Scripture, e.g. this from Matthew:
    Woe upon you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites that encompass sea and land to gain a single proselyte, and then make the proselyte twice as worthy of damnation as yourselves.

    By any ordinary interpretation this reads like a condemnation.

    The trick is that liberalism portrays itself as “more Christian than Christianity” when in fact it seeks the forceful destruction of morality. That is it uses force and the threat of force to facilitate violence, as Catholic midwives can attest.

    Instead of avoiding a trap, the liberal bluff must be called by the unflinching defence of Truth (which may indeed lead to the Cross).

  • LocutusOP

    How about not electing politicians who display an utter contempt for Christianity?

    Just for starters.

  • Benedict carter

    Not only is the above quote not warranted by Scripture, it is flatly heretical because it implicitly denies God’s justice.

  • NatOns

    Indeed so, and that is a point well made at Fr Zuhlsdorf’s always entertaining and informative blog; for the spirit of the Age of Aquarius – even as followed (unwittingly) by a pope – is still false knowledge not Catholic Truth.

    Popes, as legislators, may well indeed be at one remove from the law, but they are never free from the rule of law .. and must (above all others) be seen to uphold such law as exists; that is, popes pre-eminently must witness the Sacred Tradition .. however much it may chafe their personal opinions, tastes and desires.

  • NatOns

    Yet human hope is not the Hope granted by the Holy Ghost. Facing down the Nazi regime with merely human hopes – for better things along the way – bedevilled the Christian witness, indeed tripped some well intentioned souls into supporting it. That vain human hopefulness is not the hope against hope that fired either Pius XI or Pius XII; rather a readiness to act against wrongdoing, vice and evil was the key note of these two incomparably valiant pontiffs, although the scope for such action – in the eyes of the world’s media – was severely limited .. nonetheless, it was an energetically (and self-sacrificially) active hope that was duly met, fulfilled and graced beyond measure (even if the world has forgotten, and the mean-spirited still seek to deny it).

    “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” Matt 6 : 3.

  • justine

    I did not think my words would have been interpreted in such a narrow and negative way as you have expressed in your comment.
    who can be against hope? naturally action should be taken to fight against tyranny, you made my point. you are making an issue where there is none. the thought expressed by me that at the very least we can have hope in a world that so often feel hopeless is very telling.
    are you so negative about everything else or was this an isolated case of nit picking? perhaps there is more to it than that. I stand by what I said. And by the way, Happy Easter and try not to score points when there is no reason to.

  • justine

    Yes, true. I agree with that absolutely.

  • jferioli3

    not really……you Do condemn yourself. you have only to look at the glow of God to be judged or liberated. He is so good, so pure, so utterly magnificent – you either trust in Him to forgive you or you literally die in shame. He brings all of your innermost thoughts, secrets, desires to the front of conscience and knowledge thus judging you in comparison of sorts to His most glorious example and overflowing radiant love or wrath. Do you love an grandparent or parent so much that you want to run far away when you do something wrong? You have this feeling not because you fear punishment, even though that sucks, but because you know that what you did will break their heart? You dread to see the look on their face – the anguish, the disappointment? This is how it is when you face God. You have that feeling in the most guttural, visceral part of your very depth of being. It can vaporize you into nano particles. Do you KNOW how much He loves, loves you? Do you trust that love enough to over come this visceral feeling and to trust in His mercy Not to vaporize you on the spot for all of your evil deeds (we all have them, not the least me)? It is The most terrifying knowledge when you KNOW at the core of your being you deserve Hell with all its horrors and your faith in love does not surpass that. God help us all. Though His Mother Mary. Which by the way….I LOVE how Pope Francis ALWAYS includes our most Beautiful and Blessed Lady.

  • Polycarp Terfa

    Repent you all, that the kingdom of God is at hand.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    “Christians must respond to evil with good, taking the Cross upon themselves as Jesus did.”

    WHEN WE CHRISTIANS do this there won’t be enemies for us in the world. Through us Jesus the Lord is going to be the CONQUEROR. And he will bring his SALVATION to ALL.

    We need to DO IT with The Lord’s help, starting it WITH OUR MUSLIMS BROTHERS AND SISTERS first of all.
    Instead of hating and fighting them we need to Love them, forgive them……..and do whatever the Lord the Savior of us all has asked of us.

    Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

  • peregrinus

    *sigh* If he rules like a tyrant according to the jot and tittle of tradition,
    he will not be humble enough. If he rules humbly, he will not be shouldering the sacred duties of his office. If he rules moderately, he will be indecisive and unworthy. It seems any stick is good enough to beat him with. Well, the lot of you are worse than protestants and you should all shut up and let him get on with it.