Nicole Winfield observes Pope Francis:

In his most significant break with tradition yet, Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of two young women at a juvenile detention center – a surprising departure from church rules that restrict the Holy Thursday ritual to men.

No pope has ever washed the feet of a woman before, and Francis’ gesture sparked a debate among some conservatives and liturgical purists, who lamented he had set a “questionable example.” Liberals welcomed the move as a sign of greater inclusiveness in the church.

Speaking to the young offenders, including Muslims and Orthodox Christians, Francis said that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion in a gesture of love and service.

“Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us,” the pope said. “This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty…”

Then, meeting them individually:

Francis had a simple message for the young inmates, whom he greeted one-by-one after the Mass, giving each an Easter egg.

“Don’t lose hope,” Francis said. “Understand? With hope you can always go on.”

One young man then asked why he had come to visit them.

Francis responded that it was to “help me to be humble, as a bishop should be.”

The gesture, he said, came “from my heart. Things from the heart don’t have an explanation.”

Is this just PR as some commenters suggested? Or is this a new era of revelation and service?

I am not a Catholic – I’m a Jewish kid from Brooklyn. But at a time when those who receive and those who give are branded as thieves, abettors, and enablers, maybe there still is room for service and humility in the face of loss and surrender.

One can only hope there is more to the human race than the political one…

Advertisements