A Chinese Way of the Cross in Rome Print
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 20 March 2008 07:16
Via the Catholic News Service:

This year's Good Friday Way of the Cross in Rome was written by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun of Hong Kong. The theme: the voice of today's living martyrs, especially those in China. The stations will be taken entirely from the Gospel of Mark and do not follow the traditional Catholic set. Apparently, that means that these stations will not include St. Veronica's wiping of Jesus' face.

"The cardinal, who long has been outspoken on the lack of full religious freedom in mainland China, said this was the pope's way of bringing attention to Asia and involving "the faithful of China, for whom the 'Via Crucis' is a devotion" many hold close to their hearts.

"The pope wanted me to bring to the Colosseum the voice of those faraway sisters and brothers," he wrote in the introduction to the mediations and prayers released by the Vatican in Italian March 18. The 64-page booklet was illustrated with 20th-century Chinese Christian art from the Society of Divine Word's archives.

While Christ's suffering and passion are the focus of the service, "behind him there are many people, past and present," such as all the living martyrs of the 21st century, he wrote.

Cardinal Zen said he accepted the pope's invitation with "little hesitation," but soon discovered, much to his surprise, that his early drafts did not reflect a very Christian attitude.

He said he had to step back and purify himself of the "less than charitable feelings" he had toward those who made Jesus suffer and who "are making our brothers and sisters suffer in today's world."

In "thinking about persecution," he wrote, "let us also (think) about the persecutors" and how even they are being called to salvation by God."

It is good to see the realities of global Catholicism reflected in some of the most solemn parts of the Triduum in Rome.