April 3, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Stations of the Cross led by Pope Francis on Good Friday of last week included prayers for those who engage in abortion and euthanasia, as well as an apparent prayer for those involved in assisted reproduction techniques that treat life as disposable.
“Today we pray that all who promote abortion will realize that love can only be a source of life,” a lector read during the ceremony, while the pope bowed his head in prayer.
“Let us recall also the defenders of euthanasia, and those who encourage techniques and procedures that endanger human life,” the prayer continued.
The prayer was authored by three young people from Lebanon under the supervision the Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Béchara Boutros Rai. It was read during the twelfth station, the death of Christ on the cross.
The Stations of the Cross, or Via Crucis, is an annual ritual in Catholic Churches worldwide on Good Friday, the day in which the crucifixion of Christ is recalled. The pope’s ceremony was conducted in the Roman Coliseum, where numerous Christians were killed by gladiators and wild animals for the entertainment of the pagan Roman populace in the first centuries of Christianity, when the religion was under persecution by the Roman state.
Each of the traditional 14 “stations” recalls a distinct moment in the suffering of Christ from his condemnation through his journey to his execution, to his crucifixion, death, and burial.
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The three authors of the meditations, Gioia, Carlos, and Marielle, who hail from a region in which Christians often suffer persecution for their faith, expressed their gratitude for having the opportunity to contribute to this year's Via Crucis.
“It has truly been a privilege, this honor of preparing something so important,” the three told Vatican Radio. “It's a grace.”
“Although we bring (with us) the (Middle) East with all of its suffering, we have total faith that our East might be also a refuge of hope, a place of testimony, a place where one can truly live the faith,” they added.
For the thirteenth station, in which Jesus is taken down from the cross, the three authored a prayer “for the victims of the war and of violence that in our day devastate various countries in the Middle East, as well as in the other parts of the world.”