Pope Francis Withdraws from Good Friday Service for Health Reasons

Pope Francis unexpectedly withdrew from a Good Friday service, citing the need to preserve his health ahead of significant Easter events. The Vatican announced the last-minute decision, indicating concern for the 87-year-old pontiff’s well-being following a previous abdominal surgery.

In recent weeks, Pope Francis has faced health challenges, including bouts of bronchitis, cold, and flu, prompting aides to read out several of his speeches. Additionally, he underwent hospital tests recently, heightening concerns about his condition.

Although Pope Francis had presided over the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord earlier in the day at St Peter’s Basilica, he opted to follow the Stations of the Cross service from his residence instead of attending in person. The Stations of the Cross commemorate Jesus Christ’s suffering and death, with the pope traditionally applying biblical accounts to contemporary issues.

In this year’s Good Friday meditations, Pope Francis addressed themes such as war, online hatred, and the exploitation of women. He drew parallels between the judgment witnessed during the crucifixion and modern instances of online negativity, urging an end to hasty judgment and offensive language.

Expressing solidarity with victims of war and exploitation, Pope Francis condemned the arrogance and indifference that perpetuate injustice. He also highlighted the importance of recognizing the dignity of women, both in biblical accounts and in contemporary society, calling for an end to the exploitation and indignity they face.

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