Caption:Pope Francis (R) prays in front of the holy Shroud, believed by some Christians to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, on June 21, 2015 in Turin's cathedral. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis visits Shroud of Turin
01:49 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: Pope speaks in favor of women's rights, dignity of workers

Pope, on Turin visit, plans to meet with sick and disabled

He's scheduled to have lunch with prisoners at penitentiary

CNN  — 

Pope Francis prayed Sunday before the Shroud of Turin, a strip of cloth that some believe was used for the burial of Jesus Christ.

The shroud appears to bear the image of a man who resembles paintings of Christ.

“The shroud attracts towards the face and the martyred body of Jesus and at the same time pushes us towards the face of those who suffer or are unjustly persecuted,” the Pope said afterward at a Mass in Piazza Vittorio. “It pushes us in the direction of the gift that is Jesus’ love.”

Speaks in support of women’s rights

It was the start of a busy day for the Pope as he made a pastoral visit to the city of Turin, in northern Italy.

Later, he spoke with workers gathered in Piazzetta Reale.

“A job isn’t only necessary for economic reasons but for the human being, for his dignity, his citizenship and for social inclusion,” the Pope told those gathered in the square. “Immigration increases competition, but we don’t have to blame the migrants because they are victims of inequality, of this throwaway economy and the wars.

“It’s sad to see the spectacle of this last period, where human beings are treated as goods,” the Pope said.

He also spoke in support of women’s rights and against job discrimination based on gender.

Holy See supports authenticity of shroud

The Pope’s schedule called for him to have lunch with prisoners at the Ferrante Aporti penitentiary, named after a 19th-century Italian educator and theologian.

He was also slated to meet sick and disabled people at a church, followed by dinner at the residence of the archbishop.

Scientists are divided over how the image became embedded in the linen and whether it is really Christ’s death shroud.

The Shroud of Turin was first heard of around the year 1360, according to the New Advent website. It says the authenticity of the shroud is “taken for granted” by the Holy See.