During his visit to the United States, Pope Francis has made a point of meeting with disenfranchised groups: from the homeless to the sexually abused. And now he has stepped foot inside the largest prison in Philadelphia, to speak with and bless prisoners.
"Let us look to Jesus, who washes our feet. He is 'the way, and the truth, and the life.' He comes to save us from the lie that says no one can change... He wants us to keep walking along the paths of life, to realize that we have a mission, and that confinement is not the same thing as exclusion.”
He offered a message of hope for the prisoners. And he had tough words for prison systems that don't focus on rehabilitation.
"It is painful when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain,to offer new possibilities. It is painful when we see people who think that only others need to be cleansed.”
After speaking to one hundred prisoners, men and women, the Pope blessed them one by one. Some listened closely, while others took part in emotional moments like this.