VATICAN CITY—An Italian bishop known for his hard stance against the mafia was chosen by Pope Francis on Tuesday to write the meditations for the “Way of the Cross” ceremony on Good Friday.
Giancarlo Bregantini, who has spoken out against the ‘Ndrangheta in southern Italy’s Calabria region during his period there as a bishop, will write the 14 Stations of the Cross, which will be read out by the pope next to Rome’s Colosseum.
Pope Francis used his strongest terms yet to condemn the mafia on Friday, calling on them to “stop doing evil” as he met relatives of their victims to demonstrate the Catholic Church’s opposition to organized crime.
“There is still time to avoid ending up in hell, which is where you are going if you continue down this path,” he told them.
The “Way of the Cross” meditations are read out during the Good Friday procession, this year on April 18, to recall the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, when thousands of pilgrims traditionally gather with candles to mark one of Christianity’s most solemn observances.
The procession was revived by Pope Paul VI in 1964 and is held next to the Colosseum where—according to legend—Christians were thrown to the lions during the persecution of the first three centuries.