Thursday, April 17, 2014

Foot Washing Suggestion

This is a suggestion for Pope Francis for next Holy Thursday's foot washing. We've done every other group. Now this would be really humble, and might lead to good things!

One might object, "But it would be confusing to people!" That objection has not been a problem in the past.

Bishop Fellay and eleven SSPX priests would be a really humble choice.

"For zeal for thy house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult thee have fallen on me." Psalm 69.9 (RSVCE).

Those applauding Pope Francis' idiosyncratic choices and the continued trend of turning the Church's rites into agitprop (e.g. "Border Fence Communion") might profitably exercise themselves in learning what is being forever destroyed before their eyes.

The personal sense of betrayal and loss is a wonderful preparation for Good Friday. Peter had his moments of weakness, but there was something Bearish in whacking the ear from Malchus' head, and had he been a swordsman, not a fisherman, Jesus would have had more than an ear to reattach. (Had he been a bear, well, we would have gotten a preview of the Resurrection.)

Simply, the ceremony is now about the worldly value of "inclusiveness" and a showcase for the Holy Father's personal humility (from which we may all learn much, to be sure). Whatever it was about before is gone. The symbol has been arbitrarily reconfigured by the Pope, and you can cite canon law and instructions until you're blue in the face and it won't a bit of difference make.

Holy Thursday has been turned into a poke in the eye for a large segment of the Church. (Not to say we can't always use another salutary poke in the eye, of course, although after fifty years it's a wonder we can see at all.) The washing of feet has been wrenched from its symbolic context, and so the entire Last Supper narrative is subtly deformed.

The more things change, the more they change, as bears say.

UPDATE: Welcome Pewsitter visitors. Please enjoy your visit to the Bear's neck of the woods. Additional arguments regarding foot washing and rites-as-agitprop in general may be found in the next article, here.


  1. Yes, someone else suggested a lovely humility would be to wash the feet of the Franciscans of the Immaculate who have been struck down and still no reason given other than that they were embracing the fullness of traditions while faithful to the Pope.

  2. The pope acting as Christ. The Horror! The Horror! Suppose our doctrine of in Persona Christi holds only as good as it follows you idea of Christ.

  3. I suppose, then, that the fact Christ chose to wash the feet of the Twelve Apostles at the Last Supper was just a meaningless coincidence? He just felt particularly humble at that moment? If so, why choose 12 people at all, then? Does that number mean anything to you? Giving most folks the benefit of the doubt, symbolism is an unknown language these days. Do you think anyone would object if the Pope "acted like Christ" and washed people's feet in any context but this one? And as a practical matter, if Pope Francis has a long pontificate, each year it is going to get harder to top the previous year, risking further derangement of the symbolism.

  4. Well, Prodigal (aren't we all?) "Unhealthy nostalgia for the past" makes Jesus fall at the Ninth Station now, so all non-modernists are targets.


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