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Papal preacher: Victory belongs to one who triumphs over self, not others


  • Capuchin Franciscan Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, gives the homily during the Good Friday service led by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 14. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pope Francis arrives to lead the Good Friday service in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 14. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pope Francis lies prostrate as he leads the Good Friday service in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 14. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pope Francis venerates the crucifix as he leads the Good Friday service in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 14. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pope Francis leads the Good Friday service in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 14. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Jesus came to the world not just to teach, but to radically change human hearts that have hardened from sin, the preacher of the papal household said during a service commemorating Christ's death on the cross.

"A heart of stone is a heart that is closed to God's will and to the suffering of brothers and sisters," but God, through the son, offers the world "a heart of flesh," Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said in the homily.

Pope Francis presided over the Good Friday Liturgy of the Lord's Passion April 14 in St. Peter's Basilica, which began with a silent procession down the central nave under dim lighting to emphasize the solemnity of the ceremony.

The pope then lay prostrate on the floor before the main altar of the basilica, his head resting upon his clasped hands on a red pillow, in silent prayer, in a sign of adoration and penance. As is customary, the papal household's preacher gave the homily.

Father Cantalamessa said the motto of the Carthusian monks, "Stat crux dum volvitur orbis" (The cross is steady while the world is turning), represents Christ and his cross standing firm, not against the world, which is always in flux, "but for the world, to give meaning to all the suffering that has been, that is and that will be in human history."

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