The traditional Friday mood change of WYD saw more than a million young people return to Copacabana beach to meditate on the Stations of the Cross. Pope Francis told the young people that in every encounter with Christ’s cross they can draw strength from him and they can leave the heaviest part of their burden with him, reports CNS in The Catholic Herald.
Through the Cross, the Pope said, Jesus also unites himself with 'those young people who have lost faith in the church, or even in God, because of the counter-witness of Christians and ministers of the Gospel.'
Pope Francis was not specific about the forms of counter-witness, but his words brought to mind the well-known Via Crucis meditations written in 2005 by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, only weeks before he became Pope Benedict XVI, in which he denounced 'filth' in the Church, which was widely interpreted as a reference to clerical sex abuse.
At the same time, Pope Francis also has denounced the counter-witness of clergy and other Church personnel who see ministry more as a career or who drive around in fancy cars or exhibit an extravagant lifestyle in other ways.
The 14 traditional Stations of the Cross in Rio were presented by actors and readers on 13 stages along the Copacabana waterfront and on the main stage where Pope Francis sat.
More than a million youth take part in Via Crucis (Catholic Herald)