On Good Friday, Pope Hears Harrowing Stories of Human TraffickingApril 25, 2019
ROME (Reuters) – Pope Francis led Good Friday services dedicated to the victims of human trafficking and the plight of migrants, denouncing leaders with “armored hearts” who exploit their plight for political gain.
Francis, marking his seventh Easter season as Roman Catholic leader, presided at a traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) service at Rome’s Colosseum, attended by thousands of people holding candles.
The meditations read out by speakers during the 14 “stations of the cross” which commemorate the last hours of Jesus’ life were written by Sister Eugenia Bonetti, an 80-year-old Italian nun who has won multiple awards for her work with trafficked women and children.
At the end of the service, Francis read a prayer in which he spoke of the poor, the hungry, the elderly, abused children and the environment.
In it, he spoke of “the cross of migrants who find doors closed because of fear and hearts that are armored by political calculation”.
Francis has made defense of migrants a key feature of his pontificate and has clashed over the immigration with politicians such as U.S. President Donald Trump and Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini who leads the anti-immigrant League party and has closed Italy’s ports to rescue ships operated by charities.
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