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Pope Francis caught on video washing and kissing feet of jailed criminals

By Mason White 8:17 AM March 29, 2013
Pope Francis washing and kissing feet 

By: Eva Fett
(Scroll down for video) The new pope was seen washing and kissing the feet of jailed criminals, according to video uploaded to the internet.

Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of a dozen inmates at a juvenile detention center for a Holy Thursday ritual that he held for years as archbishop and continued the ritual now as pope. Two of the 12 inmates were young women, a remarkable choice, since the rite is supposed to represent Jesus washing the feet of his all male disciples.

The mass was held at the Casal del Marmo facility in Rome, where 46 young men and women are currently detained. Many of them are gypsies or immigrants from North Africa, and the 12 selected for the rite included Orthodox Christians and Muslims, according to press reports.

The prisoners were mostly minors as the facility houses inmates between 14 and 21-years-old. The Holy See and the Italian Ministry of Justice limited press access inside. However, Vatican Radio broadcast the event live, and Francis told the detainees that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion in a gesture of love and service.

“This is a symbol, a sign. Washing the feet means that I’m at your service,” the new pope said. “Help others. This is what Jesus taught. This is what I do. I do it with all my heart. I do this with my heart, because it is my duty as a priest and bishop. I must be at your service,” the pope said.

“This was a great message of love. The pope is sending a message that everyone deserves another chance,” Mary Clark, a Roman Catholic in New York told

Later, the Vatican released a limited video, showing Francis washing black feet, white feet, male feet, female feet and tattooed feet. the pope was kneeling on the stone floor as 12 young people sat above him. Francis, who is 76-years-old, poured water from a silver chalice on each foot, wiped it with a simple cotton towel and then leaned to kiss each one.Mobile video not loading? Click here to view