Philip Pullella, Reuters

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On Maundy Thursday, Pope Washes 12 Prisoners’ Feet, Including Women and Muslim Man

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 04-13-2017

Pope Francis washes the feet of some inmates at the Paliano prison, south of Rome, Italy April 13, 2017. Osservatore Romano/Handout via REUTERS

"We are all sinners. We all have defects," the pope told the inmates, in an improvised sermon broadcast by Vatican Radio.

By washing their feet, Francis told them, he was willing to do "the work of a slave in order to sow love among us". He urged them to help each other.

Two of the 12 are serving life sentences, and the others are due to be released between 2019 and 2073.

In Unusual Omission, No Trump-Pope Meeting Planned During Italy G7

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 04-12-2017
Pope Francis blesses with holy water as he leads the Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, April 9, 2017. Image via REUTERS/Tony Gentile.
 
 

As a matter of policy, popes meet with any head of state who requests an audience, regardless of any differences they have.

Besides being leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, the pope is a head of state. Such meetings allow for an exchange of views on world affairs and a chance for the pope to encourage ethical solutions to world problems.

Pope Francis Set to Visit Egypt Despite Palm Sunday Attacks

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 04-10-2017

Image via wlablack / Shutterstock

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the Vatican deputy secretary of state, told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper that the events on Sunday, however tragic, "could not impede the pope from carrying out his mission of peace."

Pope Francis: Protecting Civilians in Mosul ‘Imperative and Urgent Obligation’

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 03-29-2017

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis on Wednesday said it was "imperative and urgent" to protect civilians in Iraq, speaking as U.S. investigators looked into who caused an explosion in Mosul that killed scores of non-combatants. Addressing tens of thousands of people at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Francis said he was "concerned about civilian populations trapped in the neighborhoods of western Mosul."

Pope Backs Global Nuclear Arms Ban as U.N. Conference Sputters

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 03-28-2017

Image via Reuters/Max Rossi

Pope Francis urged the United Nations on March 28 to seek the "total elimination" of nuclear weapons, speaking as the United States and some other major powers boycotted a conference considering a global ban.

In a message to the conference that started in New York on March 27, Francis called on nations to "go beyond nuclear deterrence" and have the courage to overcome the "fear and isolationism" he said was prevalent in many countries today.

Pope Francis Visits Muslim Immigrant Family in Milan

by Philip Pullella, Reuters 03-25-2017

Pope Francis embraces a girl while meeting families outside the 'White Houses' in the Forlanini district of Milan, Italy, March 25, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

He stopped at three small apartments, one of them home to Mihoual Abdel Karim, a Muslim immigrant from Morocco who lives there with his wife and three children. "It was very emotional. It was like having a friend in the house," said Karim, who works at a pharmaceutical factory and whose wife wears the veil.

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