Friday, April 2, 2010


ROME (AFP) - Roman Catholics around the world prepare to celebrate Easter, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating “Holy Week”, and today the pontiff marked Good Friday, the Christian world's most solemn day. The pope, 82, has several appearances until Easter Sunday, when the faithful celebrate Jesus' resurrection. Yesterday, it took place the feet-washing ceremony in St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome which symbolizes humility and commemorates Jesus' last supper with his 12 apostles on the evening before his crucifixion. Wearing a white apron, Benedict poured water over one bare foot of each of the priests, who were seated in a row and dried the feet with a white cloth. Today, the Pope was to hold a “Good Friday” mass at St Peter's Basilica before presiding over the traditional “Way of the Cross” procession at the Colosseum - commemorating Jesus' suffering in the hours before his crucifixion, a dramatic ritual attended by thousands of pilgrims carrying candles. On Saturday Benedict will celebrate a late-night Easter Vigil in St Peter's Square, where he will also celebrate “Easter mass” on Sunday to be followed by his “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing.

However, all the celebrations find the Roman Catholic Church under a dark cloud battling pedophile priest scandals. The child abuse scandal has engulfed much of Europe and the United States, drawing in the Vatican for harsh criticism over its handling of the affair. Many allegations that priests sexually abused children have tarnished the image of the Church and raised questions about Pope Benedict's leadership. Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, from Germany, said that Catholics were aware of the “pain which has been inflicted on victims who often, for decades, were unable to express their pain in words.” The prayer to be said during Good Friday services says “Pray for the children and the young who, in the middle of the people of God and in the Church community, were wronged, abused and wounded in their body and soul.”

As the world is full of so many news about scandals of pedophile priests, we forget that Jesus was the son of God, the God's representative, and that despite having no fault, He was tried and crucified without mercy. He preached the consciousness of God, therefore He is our spiritual master, He is our Guru.

The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam states that any bona fide preacher of God consciousness must have the qualities of titiksā (tolerance) and karunā (compassion). In the character of Lord Jesus Christ we find both these qualities. He was so tolerant that even while he was being crucified, he didn't condemn anyone. And he was so compassionate that he prayed to God to forgive the very persons who were trying to kill him. (Of course, they could not actually kill him. But they were thinking that he could be killed, so they were committing a great offense.) As Christ was being crucified he prayed, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they are doing.” A Vaisnava is unhappy to see the suffering of others. Therefore, Lord Jesus Christ agreed to be crucified - to free others from their suffering.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“The Science of Self Realization”
Chapter IV “Understanding Krishna and Christ”
“Krishna, Christos, Christ”

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