Help each other, pope tells prisoners at foot washing rite

By Philip Pullella ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 prisoners on Thursday at a traditional service, telling them to shun any inmate hierarchy structure or law of the strongest and to help each other instead. Francis' predecessors held the traditional Holy Thursday rite in one of Rome's great basilicas, washing the feet of 12 priests. But to emphasise its symbolism of service, Francis transferred it to places of confinement, such as prisons, immigrant centres or old age homes

Reuters April 19, 2019 02:06:07 IST
Help each other, pope tells prisoners at foot washing rite

Help each other pope tells prisoners at foot washing rite

By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 prisoners on Thursday at a traditional service, telling them to shun any inmate hierarchy structure or law of the strongest and to help each other instead.

Francis' predecessors held the traditional Holy Thursday rite in one of Rome's great basilicas, washing the feet of 12 priests. But to emphasise its symbolism of service, Francis transferred it to places of confinement, such as prisons, immigrant centres or old age homes.

He travelled this year to a prison in the town of Velletri, about 40 km south of Rome.

It is the fifth time since his election in 2013 that he has held the service, which commemorates Jesus' gesture of humility toward his apostles on the night before he died, in jail.

Francis told the inmates that in Jesus's time, washing the feet of visitors was the job of slaves and servants.

"This is the rule of Jesus and the rule of the gospel. The rule of service, not of domination or of humiliating others," he said.

"Among you, it must not be this way (domination). The strongest must serve the smallest one. The one who thinks he is the strongest must be a servant. We must all be servants," he said.

Of the male inmates whose feet Francis washed, there were nine Italians, one Brazilian, one Moroccan and one Ivorian. The Vatican did not give their religions.

In the past, conservative Catholics criticised the pope for washing the feet of women and Muslim inmates.

The Velletri prison, which is overcrowded like most Italian jails, mostly holds foreigners for common crimes, but one section holds turncoats who collaborated with investigators and get special protection.

On Good Friday, Francis, marking his seventh Easter season as Roman Catholic leader, is due to lead a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession around Rome's ancient Colosseum.

The 82-year-old leader of the world's 1.3 billion Roman Catholics leads an Easter vigil service on Saturday night and on Easter Sunday reads the traditional "Urbi et Orbi" (To The City and The World) message.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Hong Kong marks handover anniversary as national security law takes effect
World

Hong Kong marks handover anniversary as national security law takes effect

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong authorities threw a security blanket across the city early on Wednesday, the 23rd anniversary of the former British colony's handover to Chinese rule, hours after new national security legislation took effect in the financial hub. The contentious law will punish crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, heralding a more authoritarian era for China's freest city.

Kentucky Democrats pick ex-fighter pilot McGrath to challenge U.S. Senate leader McConnell
World

Kentucky Democrats pick ex-fighter pilot McGrath to challenge U.S. Senate leader McConnell

By Susan Cornwell (Reuters) - Former fighter pilot Amy McGrath said on Tuesday she was ready to take on Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after edging out a Black progressive to clinch the Democratic nomination for the seat.

World shares end stellar quarter but still down in 2020
Business

World shares end stellar quarter but still down in 2020

By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK (Reuters) - A global stocks index rose on Tuesday and marked its largest quarterly gain since 2009 as investors continued to look for signs of an economic recovery while shrugging off data showing a rising number of COVID-19 cases. The possible return of Libyan oil production, which has been at a trickle since the start of the year, weighed on crude prices. World shares rose 18.7% this quarter, the biggest quarterly gain in 11 years, but are still down more than 7% so far this year due to a slump of 34% between Feb.