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?

Heresy in ActionAll images: Google
Heresy in Action
All images: Google

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?

drop the mic

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.

9 thoughts on “CHRISTIAN FREAKOUTS!–Lady Feet

  1. He’s also upsetting the traditional Catholics because he’s not wearing the red prada shoes, and he’s keeping his outfits simple. They’re mostly upset because a lot of them have been benefiting from the trappings of material wealth gained through the Church and the Pope is turning that system on it’s head – if the POPE is turning down material wealth shouldn’t OTHER high-ranking (heck, ALL the other Catholic officials) be doing the same?


    1. I’m not a Catholic and I know remarkably little about them, but from what I’ve gathered, Pope Francis has a much simpler style and a much more human and loving one. I don’t want to say he’s “better” than other popes because I don’t have a working history on the papacy, but I’d definitely say Pope Francis is behaving like Jesus. Choosing a humbler mein and visiting people just for the sake of visiting them.


      1. I’m not Catholic either, but a few comparative religion classes have given me some insight. Pope Francis is a Jesuit, they’re basically Catholic reformers, they want to do away with the pomp and glamor and go back to the church’s original mission – tending to the poor & needy (without the proselytizing that comes from so many Evangelical Protestant movements), which I think is a HUGE step in the right direction. For many years the Catholic church was a huge player in education, health care and out reach to the poor in both the 3d world and more developed countries. I see the election of Pope Francis as a huge step in the right direction to reform the Catholic Church and a way to bring them back to the ideals the church is/was supposedly founded on, which is to carry on the teachings of Jesus.


  2. Jesus had plenty of women disciples too, like siblings Mary and Martha, famous for “Mary listened to Jesus while Martha did all the cooking”. Jesus stayed at their house whenever he passed through town and on a previous occasion raised their brother Lazarus from the dead. Mary Magdalene was a disciple too. The 12 Apostles were the 12 men who dedicated their entire lives and living to following Jesus. I didn’t know that the Popes had never washed women’s feet before, the priests at all the Churches I’ve been to have done it. Like you I have no idea why this is an issue, we’re all the children of God, men and women both.


    1. The priests you know have done it? Yeah, I don’t know jack about Catholic traditions, but the article I read made it sound like no pope had ever done it. Good point on the difference between a disciple and the 12 disciples. Just because they didn’t follow Jesus everywhere didn’t mean they weren’t disciples. And hey, who were the first ones to Jesus’s tomb? The women.
      Of course, the dudes were probably ashamed, but…


      1. You’re right, no previous Pope, in recorded history at least, has washed women’s feet. I don’t know much about Catholic traditions either but I think as long as I’ve got the basics, “love thy neighbour”, I’ll be ok.

        Jesus did not poo poo on women as so many mysogynists seem to think; He made His mother Mary Queen of Heaven and gave Her the power to crush the devil. So I’m with you, I don’t see why there should be a fuss made because the Pope washed women’s feet, he’s following the example set by Jesus, just like Jesus said.


  3. Well said! Catholic or Protestant, legalism has often prevented us from doing the work of loving others we are meant to do. As you say, “That’s what happens when you let legalism cloud the gospel…”. I feel like I can sum up most of my spiritual growth as an adult in one of two categories: 1) Learning obedience to God (as in “Oh, You mean You
    want ME to forgive that person who hurt MY feelings?!”) and
    2) Unlearning my legalistic ways. I appreciate your way of cutting through the legalistic nonsense! (and the new pope’s, too!)


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