Pope warns of West's 'desert of godlessness'
Published 11/04/2009 | 00:00
Increasingly secular Western societies risk drifting into a "desert of godlessness", the Pope warned in his Good Friday address yesterday.
Speaking during the Way of the Cross procession at the Colosseum in Rome, he said "religious sentiments" were increasingly ranked among the "unwelcome leftovers of antiquity" and held up to scorn and ridicule. He used this year's Good Friday meditations at the Stations of the Cross to compare attempts to purge religion from public life to the mockery Jesus faced from the mob.
The Bavarian-born Pontiff -- shown unveiling the Crucifix yesterday as he led the Passion of the Christ Ceremony in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican -- used uncompromising language as he attacked efforts to secularise society. Speaking at the seventh Station of the Cross, where Jesus was made an "object of fun", he said: "We are shocked to see to what levels of brutality human beings can sink. Jesus is humiliated in new ways even today.
"When things that are most holy and profound in the faith are being trivialised, the sense of the sacred is allowed to erode.
"Our life together is being increasingly secularised. Religious life grows diffident. Thus we see the most momentous matters placed among trifles, and trivialities glorified."
The Pope prayed that Christians would respond to the problem by growing in faith. "May we never question or mock serious things in life like a cynic," he prayed.
The procession at the Colosseum, where thousands of early Christians died as martyrs, tends to focus on the troubles facing the world. (©Daily Telegraph, London)