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What about respect for Christian religious values and traditions?

Easter Sunday 2003
by Raymond L. Flynn

This Good Friday, I was invited to give national media commentary on MSNBC for the Way of the Cross service at the ancient Roman Coliseum presided over by Pope John Paul II. A solemn re-living of the arrest, trial, and death by crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This year was particuly significant because an Iraqi family was symbolically invited to carry Christ’s cross to His final place of death. The Holy Father spoke in a clear voice of the, “bloodshed of the many victims of hate, of war, or terrorism”, obviously referring to the attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001 and the war in Iraq.

I have had the privilege of attending the Stations of the Cross services at the Coliseum on several occasions, they are always moving and significant, but this year carried more emotion for me, then all the others in the past. Maybe it’s because of the political chaos of the day or maybe it’s because of our beloved Pontiff’s poor health. When I thought of the betrayal of Jesus, on the Good Friday long ago, I thought of the betrayal of Jesus with the recent clergy sex-abuse scandal. I couldn’t help but think of the media’s constant and unfair criticism and ridicule of Pope John Paul II and the many wonderful and faithful priests whom we are fortunate enough to have to serve us.

While MSNBC was professional to provide extensive coverage of this most important religious and historic event, unfortunately the rest of the media ignored Good Friday services at the Coliseum. Even the war-ravaged area of Christ’s death, Jerusalem, was out of bounds for Christian pilgrims on this most solemn of days because of Israel-Palestine fighting.

What ever happened to peace and joy in the world? And what about respect for Christian religious values and traditions?


Raymond Flynn is the National President of American Catholic Alliance, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, Mayor of Boston and best selling author of “The Accidental Pope” and “John Paul II, A Personal Portrait of the Pope and the Man”. He is also a Contributing Editor to Catholic Online and Your Catholic Voice.

Both books are available in paperback at Catholic Online Bookstore - or and (See biography on


Catholic Online  CA, US
Raymond L. Flynn - Former Ambassador to the Vatican, 661 869-1000




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