The pope has asked forgiveness on behalf of Christians who turn a blind eye to the homeless. The Argentine pontiff's move marks one of his last moves before the end of the Catholic Church's Holy Year of Mercy.
Pope Francis on Friday hosted some 4,000 people from 22 countries who are either homeless or had once spent their lives on the streets.
In a moving ceremony at the Vatican, the pope bowed his head before several attendees, allowing them to place their hands on his shoulders or clutch his attire.
"I ask pardon," Francis said, on behalf of Christians who, "faced with a poor person or a situation of poverty, look the other way."
The pope praised the attendees for holding onto their dignity in the most challenging moments of their lives.
In an interview on Friday, the pope said he is most interested in the impact politicians' decisions have on the poor, after being asked to comment on US President-elect Donald Trump's victory.
"I do not make judgments on people and political men, I only want to understand what suffering their behavior causes to the poor and the excluded," the pope said, according to Italian daily "La Repubblica."
The homeless jubilee at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican marks one of the pope's final moves for the Catholic Church's Holy Year of Mercy.
ls/rc (AP, Reuters)