John L. Allen Jr.: This Holy Week, Good Friday gave Easter Sunday a run for its money

(Crux) Theologically speaking, it would be absurd to claim that in Holy Week 2017, Good Friday overshadowed Easter Sunday. Christianity is premised precisely on the conviction that light always eventually extinguishes darkness, life always triumphs over death, and every year, Holy Week ritualizes that belief.

Psychologically and politically, however, that “eventual” victory of good over evil couldn’t help feeling awfully hard to see this time around.

Among other things, Holy Week this year was surrounded by reminders of contemporary Christianity martyrdom. It began on Palm Sunday with bombings at two Coptic churches in Egypt that killed at least 47 people, and included Pakistani security officials on Friday saying they had foiled a “major terrorist attack” in Lahore, the same city where a suicide bombing in a park frequented by Christians on Easter Sunday 2016 left more than 70 people dead.

Also during Holy Week, the Vatican confirmed on Thursday that next Saturday, April 22, Pope Francis will visit the Roman church on St. Bartholomew, located on the city’s Tiber Island, which is run by the Community of Sant’Egidio and contains a memorial to the Church’s new martyrs requested by St. John Paul II during the Great Jubilee year of 2000. It includes relics of many of those martyrs, including the rock that killed Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, a celebrated Polish priest assassinated during the Soviet era.

Although the invitation had been extended before the bombings in Egypt, the confirmation coming on the heels of the attack obviously lends the visit a special relevance.

Anti-Christian violence wasn’t the only sort of trauma running through Holy Week. [More]