Benedict XVI’s Address at Way of the Cross

“There Is No Possibility to Be Neutral”

ROME, APRIL 15, 2006 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave at the end of the Way of the Cross, held Friday night in Rome’s Colosseum.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters:

We have accompanied Jesus on the Way of the Cross. We have accompanied him here, on the street of martyrs, in the Colosseum, where many suffered for Christ, gave their life for the Lord, and in this way, the Lord has suffered again in so many people.

Thus we have understood that the Way of the Cross is not something of the past and of a specific point on earth. The Lord’s cross embraces the world, his Way of the Cross goes across continents and time. We cannot just be spectators on the Way of the Cross. We are involved and must find our place: Where are we?

On the Way of the Cross, there is no possibility to be neutral. Pilate, the skeptic intellectual, tried to be neutral, to stay outside, but precisely by so doing he took his position against justice for the conformism of his career. We must find our place.

In the mirror of the cross we have seen all the suffering of humanity today. On the cross of Christ we have seen today the suffering of abandoned and abused children, the threats against the family, the division of the world between the arrogance of the rich, who do not see Lazarus at the door, and the poverty of so many who suffer due to hunger and thirst.

But we have also seen stations of consolation. We have seen the Mother, whose goodness remains faithful unto death and after death. We have seen the courageous woman who appeared before the Lord, and who was not afraid to show solidarity for this suffering person. We have seen Simon of Cyrene, an African, who carries the cross with Jesus. And finally we have seen in these stations of consolation that, just as suffering does not end, so consolations do not end either.

We have seen how on the way of the cross, Paul found the zeal of his faith and lit the light of love; we have seen how St. Augustine found his way, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Vincent of Paul, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and so we are also invited to find our place, to find together with these great courageous personages, the way with and for Jesus, the way of goodness, truth, courage and love.

Thus, we have understood that the Way of the Cross is not simply a list of what is dark and sad in the world, or a moralism which in the end is ineffective; it is not a cry of protest which changes nothing.

On the contrary, the Way of the Cross is the way of mercy, mercy that puts a limit to evil, as we learned from Pope John Paul II. It is the way of mercy and so the way of salvation. It invites us to undertake the way of mercy and, with Jesus, to put a limit to evil.

Let us pray to the Lord that he help us to be infected with his mercy. Let us pray to Jesus’ holy Mother, the Mother of mercy, so that we too will be able to be men and women of mercy and thus contribute to the salvation of the world, to the salvation of the creature-man of God. Amen.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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