Pope Francis to wash feet of incarcerated youth on Holy Thursday

Pope Francis will hold Mass on Holy Thursday at Casal del Marmo Detention Center in Rome and will wash the … Continued

Pope Francis will hold Mass on Holy Thursday at Casal del Marmo Detention Center in Rome and will wash the feet of incarcerated youth there, the Vatican announced Thursday.

“As Archbishop of Buenos Aires. . . Cardinal Bergoglio used to celebrate Mass in a prison, hospital or hospice for the poor or marginalized,” said a Vatican report. “With the choice to go to a prison for juvenile delinquency, Pope Francis has thus decided to continue this course and to maintain the simplicity whereby he has always lived.”

In the Gospel of John, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples just before his trial and crucifixion. Following this example, church leaders often perform foot washings during Holy Week as a symbol of their humility and service.

Francis’ understated papal style—emphasizing humility, service and the plight of the poor —has led to some rare (as of recent) good press for the church, more covered for the fallout of a global sexual abuse scandal and reports of hierarchy in-fighting. But some traditional church-watchers fear that a too down-to-earth papacy could degrade the office and concede too much to modern culture.

Still, the sight of a servant pope has undoubtedly boosted the Catholic Church’s image.

“All this can be called mere symbolism but it’s good symbolism, and good Francis knows it is needed,” wrote The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan.

Online, supporters have been more than glad to share the good news of the new pope. Photos of then-Cardinal Bergoglio washing the feet of young AIDS patients and kissing the feet of newborn babies have been widely shared through social media.

About

Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • J. Davis

    I am glad to see Pope Francis making a statement about kindness to those imprisoned in our culture.

    The article mentions that the RCC gets a lot of “bad press.” The “bad press” comes from the minds of the MSM which worships at the altar of birth control and abortion. The MSM has made it obvious that they intend to attack the Church, with hateful propaganda, incessantly (because of its stand on reproduction).

  • An-Toan

    “However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on them?” – Buddha

  • cricket44

    Your first statement, accurate. Too bad you followed it with a paragraph of hogwash.

Read More Articles

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.