Pope Francis and the Washing of Feet

Holy Thursday thoughts from Don Beyers at Novalis.

Seeds of Faith

It’s remarkable how a simple gesture can provoke such controversy. Pope Francis caused quite the stir last year when he celebrated the Liturgy of Holy Thursday at a prison. While many lamented his departure from papal custom, more were puzzled and shocked that Francis washed the feet of women. How could the pope dismiss liturgical law and practice?

Although I understand the need to adhere to liturgical rites as the liturgy is the prayer of the Church and not of one person’s preference, I was disturbed that people of faith were vehemently outraged by the pope’s profound pastoral care and compassion for the women and men of that prison. It seemed to me that few of us appreciated the pope’s gesture as a true witness to the abounding love of God for all of humanity.

From what we can gather from our reading of the Gospel of John, Jesus greatly…

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