Pope Francis denounces paedophile priests

Pope Francis criticises Europe over refugee treatment while denouncing paedophile priests

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Pope Francis delivers his speech as he leads the "Via Crucis" (Way of the Cross) procession, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at the Colosseum in Rome, March 25, 2016.

Pope Francis used the Good Friday prayers in Rome as an opportunity to decry Europe's handling of the refugee crisis as well as to denounce paedophile priests, arms dealers and fundamentalists.

The Pope discussed Europe’s treatment of refugees referring to its "indifferent and anaesthetised conscience".

In the famous Colosseum where tens of thousands believers gathered, the Pope said "O Cross of Christ, today we see you in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas which have become insatiable cemeteries, reflections of our indifferent and anaesthetised conscience," referring to the refugees drowning in the sea.

The Roman Catholic Church was also a topic that the Pope touched on in his speech, when he denounced paedophile priests whom he said are "unfaithful ministers who, instead of stripping themselves of their own vain ambitions, divest even the innocent of their dignity".

The Church has been dealing with several sexual abuse cover ups with clerics previously convicted over the issue still holding their jobs.

He condemned the recent Brussels attacks tragedy by referring to it as "terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence".

He said that it is "arms dealers who feed the cauldron of war with the innocent blood of our brothers and sisters" and raged against "traitors who, for thirty pieces of silver, would consign anyone to death".

Francis also talked about the sad nature of refugee children fleeing war.

The Roman Catholic Church leader lashed out at persecutors of Christians in particular, lamenting "our sisters and brothers killed, burned alive, throats slit and decapitated by barbarous blades amid cowardly silence".

He also turned a steely gaze on Western cultures, talking of "our egotistical and hypocritical society", which casts off the elderly and disabled and lets its children starve.

Early in the ceremony, the Pope listened to a lengthy meditation written by Italian Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, in which he discussed humanity's darkest moments.

"Where is God in the extermination camps? Where is God in the mines and factories where children work as slaves? Where is God in makeshift boats that sink in the sea?", he said referring to refugees and all the drownings in the Aegean sea.

Good Friday is the second of four intensive days in the Christian calendar culminating in Easter Sunday, commemorating Christ's resurrection.

The Pope will celebrate Easter on Sunday and will pronounce the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing to the world.