It’s finally time to dive in once more to things that make Christians scream in terror. This time, it’s…LADY FEET!
This past Thursday, known in the Catholic church as Holy Thursday, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 inmates. It was done in remembrance of Jesus’s washing of his disciples feet (John 13:1-17). Read the full story here. Two of these inmates were women. One was an Italian Catholic. The other was a Serbian Muslim.
The traditionalist Catholics are tiiiiiiiicked…
Why are they so irked? It’s not because he washed the feet of inmates. It’s not even because he washed a Muslim’s feet. It’s because he washed women’s feet. Yes, traditionalist Catholics are upset because their leader, Pope Francis, washed the feet of two women, a ritual traditionally reserved for men because Jesus’s disciples were all men.
Okay, to be fair, his non-traditional style has been bothering Catholics from day one. Pope Francis reduced a lot of the pomp and flair that the previous pope, Benedict XVI, reinstated. But this foot-washing fiasco is the final straw for them. Still, I say, whhaaaaaaat?
As I said, these traditionalists argue that the foot-washing ceremony is reserved for men because Jesus’s disciples were all men. True, they were. But that’s not why he washed them. Jesus did it to model service. He was the King of Kings, but he washed human feet, so the disciples should do likewise. Jesus did this to give them “an example” (John 13:15). However, he did not give them “an absolute.”
This is the same problem I have with the Lord’s prayer. Jesus said to pray “in this manner.” (Matthew 6:9), not “pray these exact words.” He was setting up an example, not an absolute. Just because the disciples were all men does not mean only men get their feet washed. The gospel of Luke and parts of John show Jesus’s devotion and ministry to women. True, he never washed their feet, but he never washed John the Baptist’s feet, either, and he said John was greater than anybody (Matthew 11:11).
In fact, if you really want to get this legalistic, Jesus only said for the disciples to “wash one-another’s feet.” (John 13:14). So the disciples were only supposed to serve one-another, not the whole world. Sound a little contradictory to Jesus’s teachings? That’s what happens when you let legalism cloud the gospel with semantics and rituals.
One more! One more! The ritual of washing feet is an act of service. Jesus said that if you want to be great, learn to serve (Matthew 20: 26-27). He also said that we should serve “the least” (Matthew 25: 34-46). If women are not eligible for a pedicure from the Holy Father, that must mean they are inferior in some way. In that light, they would be “the least.” So if you are to serve “the least” and you think women are less than men, shouldn’t you wash their feet to be a better servant and a more Godly person?
It’s all traditionalist silliness. Traditionalism says, “This is the way we’ve always done things, therefore it is right.” Instead, traditionalism should say, “This is the way we’ve always done things because it’s right.” What’s the difference? If you do something that is right, keep doing it. But repeated action does not automatically indicate superior morality.
From the article I referenced earlier, the only reason people are mad is because Pope Francis is doing things “different.” He has none of the flair the old popes had. He washes womens’ feet like nobody else has. Yeah? So? Since when was Jesus a traditionalist? Tradition is not the same as gospel. Follow the Bible, then the rituals of man.
Let the guy wash women’s feet. He just might be on to something.