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Pope to wash and kiss feet of youth prisoners

Pope to wash and kiss feet of youth prisoners

Imagine being a young troublemaker sitting in an Italian jail cell on Maundy Thursday, pondering all the ways the world owes you, when the pope stops by to wash and kiss your feet. The Daily Mail reports:

After only a week at the helm of the Catholic Church, he has already earned himself the nickname the People’s Pope due to his candid nature and willingness to break from tradition.

But even the most ardent reformers within the church will raise an eyebrow at Pope Francis’s latest proposal, as the Vatican announced that he will hold next week’s Holy Thursday service in a youth prison.

During the service at the Casal del Marmo jail, situated on the outskirts of Rome, the Argentine pontiff is expected to wash and kiss the feet 12 prisoners.

See full story here. I’m very inspired by this, and am praying that Pope Francis continues to break with tradition on a number of fronts.


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Bill Dilworth

I don’t think there’s anything terribly wrong with the opening. And regarding prisoners as “innocent until proven guilty” is a tenet of the judicial system, not necessarily a paradigm for living or a maxim of prudence. Lots of at risk youth do indeed think the world owes them; it’s not always their fault that they do, but insisting that youthful offenders are always misunderstood victims of circumstance seems to ignore the second half of Jesus’ counsel to be innocent as doves.


I agree, Stephanie, that the beginning to this story shows a disappointing lack of empathy. Not only should we assume “innocent until proven guilty”, not only should we not project what’s in their minds, but when we’re talking about minors, it’s much more appropriate to say “get in trouble” than “make trouble”.

I can only hope Pope Francis doesn’t encounter these unfortunate youths, w/ this kind of attitude!

JC Fisher


This is great. It’s worth noting though, that according to this BBC story, Benedict XVI did the same thing in the same place in 2007.

Stephanie Shockley

I am glad to hear that the pope is choosing to observe Maundy Thursday in this way.

However, I’m a bit confused about the beginning of this post. Do we really think that the world works like this – “Imagine being a young troublemaker sitting in an Italian jail cell on Maundy Thursday, pondering all the ways the world owes you…”?

This doesn’t sound like the most informed understanding of the experiences or motivations of youth in juvenile detention.

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