December 19, 2011. (Romereports.com)
Benedict XVI visited the Rebibbia prison located in Rome. There, he met
with 300 inmates. The nature of the meeting carried emotion with it as
inmates were allowed to ask the pope questions. Omar“I'm excited about this event, your visit to the prison for Catholics is very important, and I prefer to ask you to let us hold onto you with our suffering and that of our family, like an electric cable that we communicate with to our Lord. I love you.”Federico“You are the pope to all of us. Please make sure that we are not stripped of dignity, or freedom. Why is it assumed that to be a prisoner is to be excluded forever? Your presence is a great honor for us! We wish the entire world a Merry Christmas.”
The pope then lamented the overcrowding in prisons and called for better prison structures around the world.Benedict XVI“I know that overcrowding in prisons and degradation can make imprisonment even more bitter: I received several letters from prisoners that underscore this. It is important for institutions to promote a careful analysis of the prisons, to check the structures, resources and personnel, so that prisoners do not suffer a 'double conviction.'”
The pope then gave an emotional speech, saying he prayed for the prisoners and noted that Christ was once imprisoned.Benedict XVI“Prisoners are human beings who deserve, despite their crime, to be treated with respect and dignity. They need our attention.”
Before leaving, Benedict XVI greeted several prisoners. Many of them gave him gifts such as this painting depicting peace and this family photo with a new born baby.