Pope Francis broke his rule during the Holy Thursday ceremony of foot washing.
If you recall, just a few months ago I reported that Pope Francis changed the rubrics for the washing of feet to allow women to participate. Though the washing of women’s feet has been a common practice in recent years, according to the rubrics, it was never permissible before.
While it comes as no surprise to those who have followed the Pope during his pontificate, Pope Francis washed the feet of several women. He also washed the feet of three Muslims and one Hindu. This behavior isn’t much different compared to his last three years of washing the feet of men and women of various religious creeds. What is different is how this behavior comes just months after he had changed the rules to allow his breaking of them.
It raises the question as to why Pope Francis bothered to change the rules in the first place if he wasn’t even going to follow them. The issue here is that only Catholics can have their feet washed, and the Pope has included non-Catholics in this ritual, though as mentioned earlier, this isn’t the first time he has done so.
Some may argue that Pope Francis, being the Pope, can change the rules or grant himself permission not to follow them, and perhaps they are right. But what kind of an example does that set to those who are supposed to follow them? Do priests follow the rules he has put forth? Do they ignore them? What can or can’t they ignore? It sets a very dangerous precedent. After all, if we are supposed to follow the Holy Father’s example if he breaks the rules, does that mean we are allowed to as well?
A leader who sets rules and doesn’t follow them isn’t considered a good leader. If anything, they are seen as a tyrant who only makes laws to keep his subjects in line. To use a more recent example, any member of the United States Congress, whether it be the House or the Senate, is exempt from the requirement to purchase healthcare insurance from the “Obamacare” act. It isn’t right that a lawmaker is not required to follow his laws. It would be hypocritical of me to have a rule that states commenters are not allowed to swear, but to proceed to swear throughout my comments. Jesus made many new laws during His time here on Earth, but He followed them.
The Holy Thursday liturgy is supposed to reflect Jesus’ institution of both the Priesthood as well as the Eucharist. However, with the changing of the laws in regards to the washing of feet, the focus has shifted from the priesthood and Jesus Himself to a false notion of “togetherness” and “servitude.” While serving others and sticking together are important aspects of Catholicism, they are not the focus of this liturgy.
Also worth pointing out, Muslims are not our “brothers and sisters”, nor are the Hindus, as we do not share anything with these two different creeds. And while Jesus did, in fact, wash the feet of men who were not Catholic by birth, but rather tax-collectors and Jews, they were followers of Jesus, who were baptized, and were chosen by Jesus to be His priests. They were completely Catholic.
What we see today is just further evidence that Pope Francis doesn’t care about the Catholic faith, but uses Catholicism as a cover to promote his agenda to make a one world religion. By his example and his call that we are all “children of God”, he has effectively stated that all religions are equal and that rules do not matter, even his own.
I propose then that we follow the example of Pope Francis and ignore whatever rules he proposes, as if they aren’t important enough for him to follow, then surely they aren’t important enough for us to follow. Instead, let us look to Christ and the teachings of His Holy Catholic Church over the course of 2,000 years to be our guide. And as always, pray for the Pope and the Church.