Pope Francis presides at Liturgy of the Lord's Passion in St Peter's Basilica

Everyone is capable of betraying Jesus as Judas did, but no one should make the mistake of doubting God’s mercy and willingness to forgive, the papal preacher said.

Though Jesus knows well what is “unfolding in his disciple’s heart, he doesn’t expose it, he wants to give him the possibility, until the very end, of backing out” and repenting, Capuchin Fr Raniero Cantalamessa said during the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion.

Pope Francis presided at the service in St Peter’s Basilica commemorating Christ’s death on the cross.

The Pope began the rite after a silent procession down the central nave. Then he lay prostrate on the floor before the main altar in silent prayer, a sign of adoration and penance.