At a time when anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment is sweeping Europe following Brussels attack, Pope Francis kisses the feet of immigrants of other religions to spread universal brotherhood. The washing ritual has taken place at the Castelnuovo di Porto refugees center, 30 km away Rome, on Thursday, in which eight men and four women participated. The pontiff washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees, declaring them children of the same God, in a gesture of welcome and brotherhood
Vatican rules had long called for only men to participate in the foot-washing ritual, and past popes and many priests traditionally performed it on 12 Catholic men, recalling Jesus’ 12 apostles and further cementing the doctrine of an all-male priesthood. But Francis shocked many Catholics within weeks of his 2013 election by performing the ritual on women and Muslims at a juvenile detention center.
Three Muslims from Mali, Syria and Pakistan and a Hindu man from India got the rare opportunity.