By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/18/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Pope Francis has shown little regard for rules in regards to his papacy. The latest controversy now surrounds his washing the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people, some of who were women and non-Catholics. The pre-Easter ritual, Pope Francis is designed to show his willingness to serve others like a "slave."
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The pope's decision last to perform the Holy Thursday ritual on women and Muslim inmates at a juvenile detention center defined his unconventional papacy just two weeks after his election. The gesture ruffled traditionalist Catholics, who pointed to the Vatican's own regulations that the ritual be performed only on men, as Jesus' 12 apostles were men.
As the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio frequently performed the ritual on women. It's a practice that he seems intent on keeping since his election to the papacy.
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This year, Francis arrived at a center for the disabled and elderly in Rome. Francis kneeled down, washed, dried and kissed the feet of a dozen people, some in wheelchairs, other with grossly swollen and disfigured feet.
The exact breakdown of the patients' religious backgrounds has not been officially released by the Vatican. According to some report, one was a Libyan Muslim and four were women.
Francis told the faithful that he was performing the ritual to remind himself how to serve others, as Jesus did when he washed the feet of his apostles.
"Jesus made a gesture, a job, the service of a slave, a servant," he said. "And he leaves this inheritance to us: We need to be servants to one another."
Beginning Holy Thursday by presiding over Mass in St. Peter's Basilica celebrating the priesthood, it was the start of a busy four days of Holy Week for the pope. There are also the commemorations and preparations for next week's canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII.
Francis in his homily urged his priests to exhibit joy, though he admitted that he too had suffered "moments of listlessness and boredom which at times overcome us in our priestly life."
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