“In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a

subculture without right to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and brutality, it is

imperative that the followers of the various religions join their voices in calling for peace, tolerance, and respect

for the dignity and rights of others.”

–Pope Francis in a speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia (2015).

Pope Francis recently washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Christian and Hindu refugees as a ‘gesture of brotherhood’. The Pope denounced Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels as a “gesture of war” during an Easter week mass with asylum-seekers at a shelter outside Rome .The Holy Thursday rite re-enacts the foot-washing ritual Jesus performed on his apostles before being crucified, and is meant as a gesture of service.

The Pontiff contrasted that gesture with the “gesture of destruction” carried out by the Brussels attackers, saying they wanted to destroy the brotherhood of humanity represented by the migrants. He made it clear that ‘We have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace. Several of the migrants wept as Francis knelt before them, poured holy water on their feet, wiped them clean and kissed them.