Benedict washes the feet of 12 priests in Holy Thursday ritual
Thursday, April 05, 2012 - 02:23
April 5 - Pope Benedict celebrates mass and symbolically washes the feet of twelve priests, as Jesus washed the feet of his twelve apostles. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: Pope Benedict on Thursday evening washed and dried the feet of 12 priests in a ceremony commemorating Christ's gesture of humility toward his apostles on the night before he died.
At mass earlier on Thursday Benedict, who for decades before his 2005 election was the Vatican's chief doctrinal enforcer, delivered an unusually direct denunciation of disobedient priests in his sermon.
The pope responded specifically to a call to disobedience by a group of Austrian priests and laity, who last year boldly and openly challenged Church teaching on taboo topics such as priestly celibacy and women's ordination.
During the evening mass the German-born pontiff said people were becoming alienated from themselves by resisting God and would only be God-like by not denying him.
He later poured water over the right feet of 12 priests sitting on raised platforms and dried them.
That ritual was held in the Basilica of St. John's in Lateran, the Pope's cathedral in his capacity as bishop of Rome, while donations were collected for humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees.
The service was to mark Christ's founding of the priesthood at the Last Supper on the night before he died.
The pope, who turns 85 this month, looked tired during services on Thursday. He returned a week ago from a grueling trip to Mexico and Cuba.
On Good Friday, Pope Benedict will hold two services marking Christ's crucifixion, including a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession around the ruins of Rome's Colosseum.
He says an Easter Eve mass on Saturday night and on Sunday will deliver an "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing and message.
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