Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Pope washes the feet of "the poor" and challenges us to do the same!

The Holy Father has done something remarkable; he has set us a challenge and in doing so is faithfully following the example of Our Lord. His celebration of the Lord's Supper at a juvenile detention centre and the washing of a woman's and two Moslems' feet has shocked many Catholics, especially those who are happy to be called "Traditionalists". But what does it mean? Christ said to His Apostles, "I have given you an example". The same thing is being said by Pope Francis and, may I stick out my neck here, I believe it is also the Lord Himself who is saying it again through the Pope. The Pope can set aside some aspects of the Church's rubrics - he is the chief lawmaker of the Church. If he does so, rather than becoming overanxious or complaining we should, surely, try to understand what it means. It was, in my view, a prophetic gesture along with so many such gestures already made since he became Pope. I saw a comment on another blog suggesting that this public display of humility looks like pride. The humble are always in danger of being proud, but such a judgement is not applicable here. The Pope is preaching by his actions. He is not saying, "look at me, I am humble" but "listen to me and watch me. I have something to say".
Watching the Pope (The Pope!) kneeling in front of a young woman and washing and kissing her feet I cannot avoid being moved and I cannot avoid the questions which then arise about my own ministry and that of the whole Church.
Before becoming Pope, Cardinal Bergoglio had some words of warning about the Church's tendency to become absorbed in herself. The response of many to his break with the liturgical norms shows precisely how this danger has been ignored. This is not about rubrics, it's about the Gospel.


  1. Excellent stuff. As a traditionalist by nature I welcomed the Pope's willingness to surprise in order to reach out to the world. The Faith never changes but its expression must change to enable the world to understand. We are not a preservation society but a living evangelising Church. Hoorah for Pope Francis.

  2. I am traditional and I didn't have a problem with this.