Pope marks Good Friday

ROME – Pope Francis led Roman Catholics in Good Friday services under tight security, urging people, including ministers of his Church, to rediscover the capacity to feel shame for their role in the world’s ills.

The Pope, 81, presided at a traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession around Rome’s ancient Colosseum attended by 20,000 people on the day that Christians commemorate Jesus’ death by crucifixion.

Security was tighter than last year, with more checks as participants approached the area.

This week, Italian police carried out four raids against suspected supporters of Islamist terrorism, arresting seven people, including one man who was planning a truck attack.

The Colosseum, in Rome’s historic centre, is one of the tourist attractions in the city where police have set up military jeeps and armored vehicles to form barriers against truck attacks. Several have also been set up near the Vatican.

The Pope wove his comments, made at the end of the torchlight service, around the themes of shame and repentance, conjuring up the image of a modern world where pride, arrogance and selfishness often trump humility and generosity.