While I know he still has a long way to go to “fix” the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has done extraordinary things during his brief time in his position to bring real change to how the church operates.
His most recent gesture involves an Easter tradition.
In the past, popes have washed the feet of priests in a tradition based on a Bible verse that says:
“If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
Well, Pope Francis took this tradition and added quite a bit of “controversy” by visiting a house and washing the feet of “12 disabled people of different ages, ethnicities and religious confessions.”
And isn’t that what someone in his position should do? Reach out to the poor, needy and all human beings regardless of religious beliefs? Some of the main values for which Jesus Christ stood involved loving and accepting one another, helping the poor and caring for the needy. Values which Pope Francis has done a great job of representing.
But this isn’t the first time he’s stirred debate among the church over feet he decided to wash. In 2001, he washed and kissed the feet of 12 AIDS patients at a hospice in Argentina, and in 2008 he washed the feet of recovering drug addicts at a rehab clinic.
Pope Francis, while still far from perfect, in my opinion has been the best pope that I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. He’s the first who seems to have a primary goal of basing his beliefs on those of Jesus Christ and isn’t content with just saying the right things, but doing the right things as well.
While I’m not Catholic, Pope Francis has been an inspiration to me as a religious leader (the most powerful Christian leader at that). Something that I’ve heard other Christians and non-Christians alike say as well. Because the values for which Pope Francis seems to be standing for in leading the Catholic Church aren’t simply “Christian values” – they’re values everyone can get behind as decent human beings.
And while he still has a long way to go, I’m extremely encouraged by what I’ve seen so far and look forward to what else this pope might be able to accomplish.