On perhaps the Catholic church’s most important holiday, the newly ordained Pope Francis is making headlines with the church and its followers for reasons that have nothing to do with Easter and the resurrection of Jesus.
Instead, Pope Francis has “resurrected” long standing issues within the Catholic church about the role of women.
On Thursday, at a juvenile detention center in Rome called the Casal del Marmol, Pope Francis got on the floor and proceeded to wash, dry and kiss the feet of 12 inmates. The foot washing ritual signifies Jesus’ final act of humility - which was to wash the feet of each of his 12 apostles.
Conservatives claim that this type of inclusivity could ultimately lead to the ordination of women in the Catholic church.
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To some, the Pope lowering himself to washing and kissing the feet of two girls during a Holy Thursday ritual is a grievous sin that breaks Catholic law. Not only that, but one of the girls was a Serbian Muslim, which only angered some followers even more.
Pope Francis is against an increased role for women in the church, though the foot washing of two women brazenly flies in the face of that.
“By disregarding his own law in this matter, Francis violates, of course, no divine directive,” wrote canon lawyer Edward Peters. “What he does do, I fear, is set a questionable example.”