- Pilgrimage to nowhere
There has long been an ambivalence about the man who was both the ultimate betrayer and the means by which God’s plan was fulfilled. The author of a new book visits the lonely place where the renegade apostle took his own life
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Texts, speeches, homilies
During his trip to the Holy Land Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Cenacle on Mount Zion, the reputed site of the Upper Room and Last Supper. During his homily, which took place after his visit to the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, he said that the room spoke to him of friendship, but also of human faults like pettiness which reawaken "whenever we look at our brother and sister with contempt".
During his trip to the Holy Land Pope Francis meditated on the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on Maundy Thursday during a meeting with priests, religious and seminarians in the Church of All Nations on the Mount of Olives.
Czech priest and philosopher Fr Tomáš Halík was presented with the Templeton prize for "affirming life's spiritual direction" earlier this month. The award, which is valued at £1.1 million, was presented at a ceremony at the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. In his acceptance speech Fr Halík warned that western society had sacrificed Christian altruism for secular tolerance and that this mentality led to ghettoisation and a culture in which different ethnic groups did not mix.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Britain told the bishops of England and Wales that Pope Francis personally supports Cardinal Vincent Nichols over his criticism earlier this year of the Government’s welfare reforms.
Addressing the heads of all UN agencies, in Rome, Pope Francis said charity and justice should be based on "an awareness of the dignity of each of our brothers and sisters, whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death."
US politics have for too long been deeply divided along the lines of race and ethnicity; money plays too great a role and politicians ought to be aware of their call to serve the common good.
It was the "day of four popes" - when Pope Francis canonised John Paul II and John XXIII and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI concelebrated the Mass.
Pope Francis in his Easter Urbi et Orbi address prayed for a ceasefire in Syria and for government and rebel fighters there to never "again use deadly force" against civilians. He also prayed for victims of violence in Iraq and for the success of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
In his Good Friday homily, the papal preacher, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, focused on Judas Iscariot, whose "greatest sin was not in having betrayed Christ but in having doubted his mercy". We can all betray Jesus, he warned - by worshipping that "idol par excellence" - money, or by a spouse being adulterous or by a minister being "unfaithful to his state in life".
Pope Francis at the Chrism Mass, during which the sacramental oils are blessed, preaches on priestly joy, which is "a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself, but for the entire faithful people of God", and admits he has occasionally had "moments of listlessness and boredom" in his ministry.