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April 3, 2010

Vatican Wash

Pope foot washing ceremony.jpg

The irony surrounding this ritual foot washing of a layman couldn’t be thicker. As Benedict shows deference to everyman in an act of self-effacement, bonding and purification, the Vatican should only be so thorough in coming clean.


(photo: Christophe Simon, Pool/AP. caption: Pope Benedict XVI washes the foot of an unidentified layman in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, Thursday, April 1, 2010. The feet-washing ceremony symbolizes humility and commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his 12 apostles on the evening before his Good Friday crucifixion.)

  • Bill

    Is the caption correct? That hardly looks like a layman’s garb. I thought the Pope only washed his Bishops’ feet on Maundy Thursday? Or is this the first year that a lucky layman got chosen for this? If so, it’s an interesting way of trying to get out ahead of a story.

  • stevelaudig

    The top of the RCC hierarchy was interested enough in individual proponents of Liberation Theology to take punitive measures. It is a severe judgment on the RCC’s lack of judgment that child rapist priests were not attended to so stringently.

  • DennisQ

    People are free to walk away from the Catholic Church. There’s no penalty for giving it up.
    The Church is more sensitive to defections than people realize. Paul VI was so roundly criticized for Humanae Vitae – his encyclical about birth control – that he completely stopped writing encyclicals. He never wrote another one.
    It used to be that the Church would not allow divorce. Divorced people went elsewhere. The Church denies changing its teaching on divorce, but there are plenty of divorced Catholics.
    Don’t think the Catholic Church has done enough to punish pedophile priests? Obviously it’s not holy enough for you. There are lots of other churches that would love to have you.

  • susan

    No matter what he does, he will never wash away the sins of his church.

  • bystander

    Yep. And, some have issued an invitation. There’s already been one Reformation over indulgences, which suggests it’s not outside the realm of possibility that there could be another one.

  • Margarita

    I’m not sure it counts as self-effacement if you alert the media first and are surrounded by cameras.

  • Reginald Dwight

    “There’s no penalty for giving it up.”
    Sure, there’s no Inquisition any more – so no worries there… But if you’ve been raised in a Catholic family (certain ones, anyway), try leaving without provoking a firestorm. There’s a reason that the church has been around so long – it controls all of the choke points (no pun intended) – birth, marriage, death…
    I agree with you, but easier said than done.

  • DennisQ

    There doesn’t need to be a firestorm, especially if you’re at peace with your own decision. It really isn’t anybody’s business except your own.
    If the only reason you stick with the Church is keeping peace within the family, it’s possible that there are other family members who are looking to get out from under the burden you are collectively imposing on yourselves.
    The Church ought to have been more responsive to the dismay that ordinary believers are experiencing. Instead, Cardinal Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, complains that the Church is under attack by gossip! New York’s Cardinal Dolan compared the Pope’s suffering with the suffering of Jesus. What gall!
    If you continue to stand with these skunks, you encourage them. What are your moral responsiblities here? Surely they’re larger than averting a “firestorm” within your family.

  • acu(li)te.

    Oh, but surely he abuses himself in private, ah!

  • Raja

    Doesn’t need to be a firestorm? Well, it’s not the dissenter who causes the firestorm, he merely provokes.
    Oh, no worries my supporting the church – I’m out (though not because of this scandal), as are 1.75 or 2 of my 3 siblings. I was just making the point that it’s not necessarily easy to “just get out”, not least because of the social pressures.
    “It isn’t anybody’s business except your own”. Ha! That’s a laugh riot! In an ideal world where everyone were a rational actor, you’d be right. But we don’t live in that world. One reason why this is not true, of course, is that for one to leave the Church, one has to have found some fault with it. Perhaps some theological fault. In that case, the ones left behind become outraged because of the thinness of their own faith. You know what they (Edward Abbey) say:
    “Fantastic doctrines (like Christianity or Islam or Marxism) require unanimity of belief. One dissenter casts doubt on the creed of millions. Thus the fear and the hate; thus the torture chamber, the iron stake, the gallows, the labor camp, the psychiatric ward.”
    If you aren’t leaving for theological reasons – then you must be confusing the “true church” with that of the hierarchy, who are merely god’s imperfect vessels. One shouldn’t leave for the wrong reasons, after all, you’ll go to hell if you do!
    Of course another reason not to leave might be that you’re so deluded that you believe that all those priests were seduced by those children into having sex! (I have an uncle, an optometrist, who believes that)!
    Cardinal Sodano and Dean are mere pikers! I couldn’t believe the remarks of the pope’s preacher (Raniero Cantalamessa), on Good Friday, no less:
    “likened accusations against the pontiff and the Catholic church in sex abuse scandals in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere to “collective violence” suffered by the Jews.” (AP)
    Talk about tone deafness…

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