By Philip Pullella
ROME (Reuters) – Pope Francis led Good Friday providers devoted to the victims of human trafficking and the plight of migrants, denouncing leaders with “armored hearts” who exploit their plight for political acquire.
Francis, marking his seventh Easter season as Roman Catholic chief, presided at a conventional Through Crucis (Means of the Cross) service at Rome’s Colosseum, attended by 1000’s of individuals holding candles.
The meditations learn out by audio system throughout the 14 “stations of the cross” which commemorate the final hours of Jesus’ life have been written by Sister Eugenia Bonetti, an 80-year-old Italian nun who has received a number of awards for her work with trafficked ladies and youngsters.
On the finish of the service, Francis learn a prayer through which he spoke of the poor, the hungry, the aged, abused youngsters and the surroundings.
In it, he spoke of “the cross of migrants who discover doorways closed due to worry and hearts which might be armored by political calculation”.
Francis has made protection of migrants a key function of his hold forth and has clashed over the immigration with politicians equivalent to U.S. President Donald Trump and Italy’s Inside Minister Matteo Salvini who leads the anti-immigrant League get together and has closed Italy’s ports to rescue ships operated by charities.
Every year, the pope entrusts the writing of the meditations to a special particular person or group. Bonetti’s have been among the many most graphic and emotional ever learn on the service.
Francis listened intently as three audio system learn Bonetti’s meditations about migrants being set on hearth, dying within the desert or drowning at sea and ending up in anonymous coffins.
One among Bonetti’s meditations learn:
“Allow us to consider all these youngsters in numerous components of the world who can’t go to highschool however are as a substitute exploited in mines, fields and fisheries, purchased and offered by human traffickers for organ harvesting, used and abused on our streets by many, together with Christians …,”
She wrote of seeing “males in luxurious vehicles lined as much as exploit” younger lady pressured into prostitution shortly after they arrive in Italy, the place many African migrants wash up, hoping for a recent begin solely to be snared by traffickers and pimps.
“Males, ladies and youngsters are purchased and offered like slaves by the brand new merchants in human lives,” she wrote “How many individuals are rising wealthy by devouring the flesh and blood of the poor?”
The 82-year-old chief of the world’s 1.three billion Roman Catholics will lead an Easter vigil service on Saturday evening and on Easter Sunday will learn the standard “Urbi et Orbi” (To The Metropolis and The World) message.
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