Vatican City: Pope Francis will perform the pre-Easter foot-washing ritual at Rome’s main prison this year. The Vatican said today that inmates from the Rebibbia prison and a nearby women’s facility will participate in the Holy Thursday service, which is meant to show Francis’ willingness to serve others as Jesus did. Francis’ decision in 2013 to wash the feet of women and Muslim inmates at a juvenile detention center helped define his rule-breaking papacy just two weeks after his election.
It riled traditionalist Catholics, who pointed to the Vatican’s own regulations that the ritual be performed only on men since Jesus’ 12 apostles were men. Last year, Francis traveled to a center for the elderly and disabled for the service.