Lifestyle & Belief

Good Friday at the Vatican begins with silent prayer (PHOTOS)


Pope Benedict XVI (C) prays during the Celebration of the Lord's Passion on Good Friday on April 6, 2012 St Peter's basilica at The Vatican. Christians mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Friday in a series of ceremonies culminating on Sunday, when they celebrate Christ's resurrection.


Vicenzo Pinto

Good Friday ceremonies have begun in the Vatican, as Christians around the world mark the holiday.

Pope Benedict XVI knelt in silent prayer at the start of the Good Friday service, the Associated Press reported, resting his folded hands on a red cushion near the central altar of St. Peter's Basilica in a prayer to commemorate Jesus' death by crucifixion.

Later this afternoon, Benedict will preside over the traditional Way of the Cross procession at Rome's Colosseum, a sung ceremony to honor the final hours of Christ's life, the AP reported. 

Easter ceremonies traditionally stress the suffering of the Catholic Church and the world, which the Pope emphasized this year, Agence France Presse reported.

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On Thursday, Benedict gave a stern address, condemning those who questioned the Church over clerical celibacy and the ordination of women, according to AFP. 

"Recently, a group of priests in a European country published an appeal for disobedience, giving concrete examples of how to be disobedient," he said. "As Jean Paul II irrevocably said, the Catholic Church did not receive authorization (to ordain women) from the Lord." 

Benedict's comments came in response to a movement launched by a group of Austrian priests in 2011 hoping to abolish celibacy and admit women to the priesthood, according to AFP. 

More from GlobalPost: Pope Benedict condemns dissident priests

Christians around the world are marking Jesus's crucification in a series of ceremonies that begin today and culminate on Sunday, when they celebrate Christ's resurrection.