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Pope washes feet of young Muslim woman prisoner in unprecedented twist on Maundy Thursday

Posted by on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:04 PM
Pam
  • 47 Replies

Pope washes feet of young Muslim woman prisoner in unprecedented twist on Maundy Thursday

Pope Francis continued his gleeful abandonment of tradition by washing the feet of a young Muslim women prisoner in an unprecedented twist on the Holy Thursday tradition.

Pope Francis washing the feet of a young offender
Pope Francis washing the feet of a young offender during a mass at the church of the Casal del Marmo youth prison Photo: AFP/GETTY

While popes have for centuries washed the feet of the faithful on the day before Good Friday, never before had a pontiff washed the feet of a woman. That one of the female inmates at the prison in Rome was also a Serbian Muslim was also a break with tradition.

“There is no better way to show his service for the smallest, for the least fortunate,” said Gaetano Greco, a local chaplain.

Pope Francis kissing the feet of a young offender

Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 inmates aged 14 to 21, among them the two women, the second of whom was an Italian Catholic. Mr Greco said he hoped the ritual would be “a positive sign in their lives”.

Catholic traditionalists are likely to be riled by the inclusion of women in the ceremony because of the belief that all of Jesus’ disciples were male.

The pontiff, who has largely disregarded protocol since his election earlier this month, urged his fellow clerics before the ceremony to prioritise the poor.

“We need to go out to the outskirts where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters,” he said at a mass in St Peter’s Basilica.

“It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord.”

Francis, the first leader of the Catholic Church from Latin America, led a mass with a mixed group of young offenders at the Casal del Marmo prison outside of Rome.

The 76-year-old, who was archbishop of Buenos Aires until chosen as pope, has already made a name for himself as a champion of the disadvantaged. In his homeland of Argentina he was known for his strong social advocacy, working in slums and shunning the lavish lifestyle adopted by some senior clerics. He lived in a small flat near the cathedral, flew to the Rome conclave in economy class, and chose to travel with his fellow cardinals by minibus rather than in the papal limousine.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio - as Pope Francis was previously known - had already washed and kissed the feet of women in past ceremonies in Argentinian jails, hospitals and old people's homes, including pregnant mothers and AIDS patients.

Before performing the traditional feet washing, in his first general audience on Wednesday, Francis called on the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to reach out to “lost sheep” over the coming days.

“Holy Week challenges us to step outside ourselves so as to attend to the needs of others: those who long for a sympathetic ear, those in need of comfort or help,” Francis told thousands of faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square.

On Good Friday, Francis will recite the Passion of Christ – the story of the last hours of Jesus’s life – in St Peter’s Basilica, before presiding over the Via Crucis ceremony by the Colosseum, where thousands of Christians are believed to have been martyred in Roman times.

While last year his predecessor, 85-year-old Pope Benedict, presided over celebrations from under a canopy next to the Colosseum, Francis is expected to take part in the procession and even carry the wooden cross on his shoulder for part of the way.

On Saturday, the pontiff will take part in an evening Easter vigil in St Peter’s Basilica, and on Easter Sunday the he will celebrate Easter mass in front of tens of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter’s Square and then pronounce the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing to Rome and the world.

Also on Thursday, the Pope made his first appointment of a bishop, naming Mario Poli, 66, to succeed him as archbishop of Buenos Aires and the top churchman in Argentina.

Francis also put his first people on the path to sainthood, unveiling a list of 63 people including victims of the Spanish Civil War, Nazism and Communism. The largest number are considered martyrs of faith killed during the 1931-45 conflict in Spain.

by on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:04 PM
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Replies (1-10):
mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:08 PM
3 moms liked this

I just saw this. 

I predict the crazies will come out en masse. I really hope nothing happens to him but when you shake the foundations like this...ugh. And I'm not saying he shouldn't. I hope he keeps doing this even with the danger present. People need to knock off their nonsense. 

Donna6503
by Platinum Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:10 PM
:)

Nice
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12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:15 PM
1 mom liked this

 


Quoting mehamil1:

I just saw this. 

I predict the crazieswill come out en masse. I really hope nothing happens to him but when you shake the foundations like this...ugh. And I'm not saying he shouldn't. I hope he keeps doing this even with the danger present. People need to knock off their nonsense. 


 Who are the crazies?  People who hate the Catholic Church? 

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:22 PM
1 mom liked this

why was a Muslim lining up to have her feet washed by a catholic?

strange

anyhoo....good for him for not discriminating against gender or religious affiliation...he is doing what he feels is right.

MeAndTommyLee
by Gold Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:33 PM

This is a beautiful affirmation of the Muslim faith from our Pope. 

x_Starr_x
by Bronze Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:35 PM
8 moms liked this
Eww feet
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mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Really? Kitty, you are not stupid but this was a very dense question. 

He broke with tradition and washed then kissed the feet of a Muslim woman. In prison no less. There are crazies of all stripes who would go rabid on that. I could easily see a fundie catholic who already has a few screws loose go bonkers over that. Not to mention a whole slew of Muslims who have a few screws loose who would be "offended" by a man touching a woman he's not related to even though the act was a form of ultimate compassion. Crazies are everywhere and you know this. They then act out their crazy and say they are following what their religion teaches even though it doesn't say anywhere in the Catholic religion (and no where in the Quran) to go killing people for whatever reason. 

Quoting 12hellokitty:
Quoting mehamil1:

I just saw this. 

I predict the crazieswill come out en masse. I really hope nothing happens to him but when you shake the foundations like this...ugh. And I'm not saying he shouldn't. I hope he keeps doing this even with the danger present. People need to knock off their nonsense. 

 Who are the crazies?  People who hate the Catholic Church? 

PamR
by Pam on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:46 PM
2 moms liked this

I think he deserves some credit for trying to break with some traditions and make himself more accessible and personable.  When I worked for a Catholic hospital years ago, the nuns would go out with the medical van that served the homeless and wash and care for their feet (which took a beating because they walked around all day).  I'm not a Catholic myself, but I think this is a nice gesture by him. 

12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:48 PM

 Why would a Catholic be offended by this beautiful act of humility from our papa? 


Quoting mehamil1:

Really? Kitty, you are not stupid but this was a very dense question. 

He broke with tradition and washed then kissed the feet of a Muslim woman. In prison no less. There are crazies of all stripes who would go rabid on that. I could easily see a fundie catholic who already has a few screws loose go bonkers over that. Not to mention a whole slew of Muslims who have a few screws loose who would be "offended" by a man touching a woman he's not related to even though the act was a form of ultimate compassion. Crazies are everywhere and you know this. They then act out their crazy and say they are following what their religion teaches even though it doesn't say anywhere in the Catholic religion (and no where in the Quran) to go killing people for whatever reason. 

Quoting 12hellokitty:
Quoting mehamil1:

I just saw this. 

I predict the crazieswill come out en masse. I really hope nothing happens to him but when you shake the foundations like this...ugh. And I'm not saying he shouldn't. I hope he keeps doing this even with the danger present. People need to knock off their nonsense. 

 Who are the crazies?  People who hate the Catholic Church? 


 

mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Mar. 28, 2013 at 5:50 PM

In my experience, Serb and Bosnian Muslims aren't super religious. I've dated a few. Also, who cares?

Quoting turtle68:

why was a Muslim lining up to have her feet washed by a catholic?

strange

anyhoo....good for him for not discriminating against gender or religious affiliation...he is doing what he feels is right.

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