VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said he cried when he recently saw images of Christians allegedly killed by crucifixion.
“Still today there are people who kill, who persecute in the name of God,” he said May 2 during the homily at the early morning Mass in the chapel of his residence. And still today there are Christians who, like the Apostles, are “happy to be judged worthy of suffering dishonor for Christ’s name.”
“I cried when I saw in the media” photographs allegedly showing “Christians crucified in a certain non-Christian country,” he told those at the Mass, according to a report by Vatican Radio. In late April, a number of news outlets reprinted photographs showing what were described as crucifixions in Syria.
New outlets that reprinted or posted the images online said they could not confirm that the bodies hung on crosses died by crucifixion or that they were Christians.
Today, Pope Francis said, there are many people who are persecuted for their faith. “In some countries, people go to jail just for having a Bible” while in others “people can’t wear a cross or they will be fined. But their hearts are happy.”
At the pope’s Mass, the day’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles (5:34-42) recounted how members of the Sanhedrin, a religious court, were discussing how to deal with disciples who continued to preach about Jesus. “They had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them,” the Bible says.
The members of the Sanhedrin, the pope said, had authority over the religious lives of the people at the time, but Jesus had described them as “weighing people down with oppressive burdens.”
They were jealous of Jesus and could not stand that people were following him, Pope Francis said. “They could not tolerate Jesus’ meekness, could not tolerate the meekness of the Gospel, could not tolerate love.”
Pope Francis said that unlike the authorities on the Sanhedrin, Jesus was not concerned about how many people followed him — “it never entered his head, for example, to take a census” — but rather, “he spoke, he preached, he loved, accompanied and walked with people, meek and humble.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103