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Mar 30 2013

Pope washes ‘controversial’ feet: Geller & usual suspects will get right on this …

A few headlines across the nut-o-sphere read variations on Catholics angered over Pope’s choice of his foot washing … person. Here’s the nut of the angst:

Artesia News – Pope Francis has won over many hearts and minds with his simple style and focus on serving the world’s poorest, but he has devastated traditionalist Catholics who adored his predecessor, Benedict XVI, for restoring much of the traditional pomp to the papacy.

Francis’ decision to disregard church law and wash the feet of two girls — a Serbian Muslim and an Italian Catholic — during a Holy Thursday ritual has become something of the final straw, evidence that Francis has little or no interest in one of the key priorities of Benedict’s papacy: reviving the pre-Vatican II traditions of the Catholic Church.

Against my better judgement and usual jaded view of religion, I’m actually finding myself wanting to like this new Pope for this reason and many others. And in this instance, aside from the fact that the foot washing deal is a reenactment of an ancient myth, the original lesson behind it — don’t be a pompous self entitled prick and look down on others – and the modern-day version are perfectly good points to make in my opinion, religious or not.

So basically there’s two violations of bigoted etiquette at work here: one he washed the feet of a Muslim; two he washed the feet of woman. Normally providing political and/or Holy cover for a Muslim is grounds for immediate retaliation among the right, usually led by the likes of Pam Geller or Malkin, plus we have women being elevated to deserving human beings, so the rapist-apologist crowd with an assist from the misogynist faction might come into play too. It’ll probably just blow over, but wouldn’t it be fun if the usual suspects were forced to weigh in and drive that wedge in deeper and deeper?

Between things like this and other culture war issues now splitting the right in twain, I might have to bring back a beloved tag, the Let’s All go to the Lobby and Get Ourselves a Snack moniker so overused during the 2012 GOP primary clown show and now sorely missed. Ah, memories …

20 comments

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  1. 1
    coragyps

    I i
    I participated in a couple of those foot washings (as a washee) back in my Episcopalian days. It is pretty astounding how the people whining about it utterly and completely miss the point of the whole ceremony. That humility stuff is allegedly a pretty big chunk of their whole religion.

  2. 2
    Randomfactor

    As a former Catholic, I have to say I strongly doubt any “church law” was involved, let alone broken. Traditions, sure.

    As for Francis’ differences from his predecessor, keep in mind that ANYONE would look better in that comparison. And to paraphrase George Carlin’s album-back parable, there must be those among us whose job it is to remember that he’s STILL insane. In particular for believing (apparently) in a literal Devil.

  3. 3
    Eristae

    Washing the feet of two little girls shows “evidence that Francis has little or no interest in one of the key priorities of Benedict’s papacy?” These people are “devastated?”

    WTF is wrong with these people?

  4. 4
    Zeno

    I agree with Randomfactor. I seriously doubt “church law” stipulates that the pope must limit himself to washing the feet of males on Maundy Thursday, even if that’s the hoary old tradition (and it is!). Besides, even if someone can cite chapter and verse from the church’s compilation of approved practices to “prove” that only men must be chosen, I remind them that Francis I is the bleeding pope, he is — and people who belong to hierarchical religions should shut up, suck it up, and remember that they signed on to an organization where the man at the top calls the shots. And they know who that is.

  5. 5
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Okay, this is good and all but strikes me as strange that a Muslim (of either gender) would be chosen and would choose to have her feet washed by the Pope in a very Roman Catholic ritual. What’s the deal with that? I’m puzzled by the choice on both the Pope’s part and the girls and her families.

    (Thought the Serbians were generally Russian Orthodox – Sebian Orthodox even if there is such? – too with the Muslims in the former Yugoslavia area being the Bosnian and Kosovan areas?)

  6. 6
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @4. Zeno :

    I agree with Randomfactor. I seriously doubt “church law” stipulates that the pope must limit himself to washing the feet of males on Maundy Thursday, even if that’s the hoary old tradition (and it is!).

    Could very well be mistaken but I thought the tradition was usually to have the Pope wash the feet of other Priests?

    Also didn’t it start and refer to the original Rabbi Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and possibly some women servants eg. Mary Magdalene?

    Hmm.. Wiki it you say? Let’s see :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_washing

    Maundy (from Latin Mandatum),[1] or Washing of the Feet, is a religious rite observed as an ordinance by several Christian denominations. John 13:1–17 mentions Jesus performing this act. Specifically, in verses 13:14–17, He instructs them, 14 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” 15 “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

    Okay. A few lines down something there gives the Maunder minimum a whole other another meaning again!

    Also :

    Jesus demonstrates the custom of the time when he comments on the lack of hospitality in one Pharisees home by not providing water to wash his feet : Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair” – Luke 7:44

    Hmm … I’d like to see the Pope do that!

    Originaly seems theer were alot mroe folks getting feet washed too :

    Evidence for the practice on this day goes back at least to the latter half of the twelfth century, when “the pope washed the feet of twelve sub-deacons after his Mass and of thirteen poor men after his dinner.”

  7. 7
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    D’oh! Sorry. Make that :

    Originally seems there were a lot more folks getting their feet Pope-washed too :

    Evidence for the practice on this day goes back at least to the latter half of the twelfth century, when “the pope washed the feet of twelve sub-deacons after his Mass and of thirteen poor men after his dinner.”

    &

    At one time, most of the European monarchs also performed the Washing of Feet in their royal courts on Maundy Thursday, a practice continued by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor and the King of Spain up to the beginning of the 20th century (see Royal Maundy)

    (Hope that works right – italicised wikiquote material should be a blockquote within a blockquote.)

    Oh and whilst on wikipedia lets see, yep, :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serbian_Orthodox_Church

    There is a Serbian Orthodox Church. Thought most Serbians were members of that and that was part of the whole ethnic -religious hatred thing since the Bosnians were Muslims and the Serbs had a tragic history of past wars with the invading Ottoman Turks that nearly destroyed Europe back in the something hundreds?

    So why a Serbian would be Muslim not Serb orthodox and why she’d then chose to be participating in a very Catholic ritual, kinda baffles me.

  8. 8
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    ^ Not saying its wrong mind, just curious about the story and motives behind it.

  9. 9
    frankboyd

    Ah, the standards of FTB in force! It’s always good to stand up to religion unless there is any risk or controversy involved.

    Meanwhile every five minutes somewhere in the world a Christian is murdered for his or her faith. There’s a reason many people are upset by this. I know, I know – they’re Christians, not really human, don’t count to you…

  10. 10
    frankboyd

    Incidentally, if you had the wits to make the case, this would show that Christianity, contra to what many conservatives think, cannot serve as a bulwark against Islam. The problem with that is that as little as Christianity can serve as such a bullwark, you lot can serve even less.

  11. 11
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Wow, Frankboyd, thanks for pointing out that this post about the Pope washing feet doesn’t talk about Christians being persecuted across the world. What a terrible oversight!

    I suspect that somewhere in the world there might be another blog post that doesn’t mention Christians being persecuted across the world. Perhaps it might be a post about football that doens’t include mention of Christians being persecuted across the world, or maybe there might be a post about cooking that doesn’t include a lengthy enough discussion about the persecution of Christians across the world.

    You should go find that post that doesn’t talk about persecution of Christians across the world and point out the shameful double standards in talking about quarterback strategy or turkey basting without sufficient mention of the persecution of Christians across the world.

    When you’ve done that, let us know, so we can resume discussions about subjects that aren’t about the persecution of Christians across the world.

  12. 12
    kraut

    “Meanwhile every five minutes somewhere in the world a Christian is murdered for his or her faith. There’s a reason many people are upset by this. I know, I know – they’re Christians, not really human, don’t count to you…”

    meanwhile in Africa there are christians killing children for being witches or otherwise undesirable and homosexuals for their being.
    Unfortunately for christians they do not have the sole privilege of killing apostates, non believers, heretics etc. Because of other religions having power, the killing has to be shared and sometimes even christians can be on the receiving end nowadays.

  13. 13
    lanir

    I think it’s a good thing to be able to recognize the good things someone does even if you don’t think they’re right overall or even necessarily a good person. Religions don’t teach their followers to do this except in highly specific ways, and then most of them totally misunderstand it (the Good Samaritan parable for Christians gets a lot of mileage for being a “good” message… but has this amazing way of vanishing from all thought whenever they deal with real world outsiders as opposed to ancient fantasy stories).

  14. 14
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I love the smell of unsupported assertions in the morning; it smells like victory. Frankboyd, can you give a citation for the killing of Christians, please?

    Incidentally, if you had the wits to make the case, this would show that Christianity, contra to what many conservatives think, cannot serve as a bulwark against Islam. The problem with that is that as little as Christianity can serve as such a bullwark, you lot can serve even less.

    What the living fuck does that even mean? You are being completely incoherent here (not that that’s news), but as best I can determine, you believe that everyone’s going to convert to Islam unless… something. Put differently, you listen to bigoted paranoids, and take their word as purest truth. You really should stop doing that.

  15. 15
    lanir

    @frankboyd: Pardon my bluntness here but you suck as a troll. It’s not that difficult to troll on topic. And it only takes slightly more effort to do so in a milder manner that actually promotes discussion. Be careful though, if you lean too far in that direction you’ll actually promote intelligent thought and you obviously don’t want that.

  16. 16
    Stephen "DarkSyde" Andrew

    You would think a world class high traffic site like FtB would rate world class trolls. Alas, this is clearly not the case. Note that troll does not mean someone we disagree with. I would welcome a thoughtful Christian reader and comentator on this site. I would even run interference for them if they get unfairly ganked.

  17. 17
    had3

    Now that football has been brought up, how about that Christian qb Tebow and the oppression he suffers on this site? If only you people had the courage to talk about that!

  18. 18
    Emptyell

    @ 16

    “You would think a world class high traffic site like FtB would rate world class trolls. Alas, this is clearly not the case. Note that troll does not mean someone we disagree with. I would welcome a thoughtful Christian reader and comentator on this site. I would even run interference for them if they get unfairly ganked.”

    Oh, I think we’ve seen a few high octane trolls around here but they come from the MRA, PUA, Randroid side of things. Quality trolling requires at least some capacity to understand humor and irony (satire still seems to be a weak point though). Zealotry seems to require a singlemindedness that obviates the subtleties of humor so that zealots make poor trolls.

  19. 19
    birgerjohansson

    I occasonally comment on an archaeology site without bringing attention to the oppression of Christians, or muslims, or Baha’i. I am a monster.

  20. 20
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @13.

    .. (the Good Samaritan parable for Christians gets a lot of mileage for being a “good” message… but has this amazing way of vanishing from all thought whenever they deal with real world outsiders as opposed to ancient fantasy stories).

    Actually the parable is simply called that of the Samaritan and the whole point of that parable is somewhat missed by the context and fact that us modern people consider Samaritans as virtually another word for “good”0 whereas to the Jewish people of the time the Samaritans (a closely related neighbouring people) were viewed as a despised cult.

    Isaac Asimov wrote a very good essay on that called “Lost in Non-translation” included in his ‘Magic’ anthology. (Voyager,1997.)

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