( ) Pope's Stations of the Cross service to evoke 'sexual abuse'

19th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Pope Benedict XVI will preside over a religious service Friday evoking the "sins of humanity," including sexual abuse and crimes against children, according to the texts.

Young people from 15 nations, including Iraq, Sudan, Haiti and Japan, will participate in the Stations of the Cross.

The ceremony covers a 700-metre (nearly half-mile) route representing the steps in Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection as a symbol of the problems of the youth around the world.

The 14 stages of the Stations of the Cross, one of the highlights of the 26th World Youth Day festivities, also evoke the discrimination against victims of AIDS and the "humiliation of immigrants."

Written by the "Sisters of the Cross", Spanish nuns who devote their lives to the poor, texts will be read out at each stop.

The text at the ninth station, showing "Jesus Stripped of His Clothes" and read by youths from Rwanda and Burundi, recalls "the sins against chastity and purity."

"Jesus suffers with all those who are victims of human genocide where brutal violence explodes, or victims of rape and sexual abuse, the crimes against children and adults. How many people are stripped of their dignity, of their innocence, of their trust in man," it says.

Other stations will recall the "innocent victims of war," and, in the face of hunger in the world, will chastise the "societies that are rich and blinded" by materialism.

"In the world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to the God who is loved above all things, bears witness," said one text.

Each station has elaborate religious statues, some dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, used in the traditional Easter Holy Week celebrations in Spain.

They are displayed along the Paseo de Recoletos avenue between the Plaza Colon square and the Plaza Cibeles, from where the pope will preside over the service.

© 2011 AFP

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