He kneels before man but not before God…
The Francis Show, Holy Thursday Edition
He kisses tenderly because he can…
[UPDATE 15-APR-17 17:07 UTC: It has come to our attention that in the foot-washing rite in use before Pope Pius XII’s restoration in 1955, the rubrics mandated the kissing of the feet that were washed. We apologize for not being aware of this and have revised this post accordingly. It changes nothing, however, in our essential critique of Francis’ actions, since he is obviously not trying to restore traditional practice and the Novus Ordo rubrics do not mandate kissing.]
Holy Thursday is one of the most beautiful days of the liturgical year. It was on Holy Thursday, the eve of Good Friday, that our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ celebrated the Last Supper with His Twelve Apostles. When He did so, He offered the First Catholic Mass, He instituted the Holy Eucharist, He established the Sacred Priesthood by consecrating His Apostles bishops, and He gave the commandment of brotherly love by washing the feet of His disciples, which is recounted by St. John the Evangelist as follows:
He riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments, and having taken a towel, girded himself. After that, he putteth water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. He cometh therefore to Simon Peter. And Peter saith to him: Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered, and said to him: What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith to him: Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him: If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me. Simon Peter saith to him: Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him: He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean, but not all. For he knew who he was that would betray him; therefore he said: You are not all clean. Then after he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, being set down again, he said to them: Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master, and Lord; and you say well, for so I am. If then I being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also. Amen, amen I say to you: The servant is not greater than his lord; neither is the apostle greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, you shall be blessed if you do them.
A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.
This beautiful example of utmost humility, the washing of His disciples’ feet as an act of brotherly charity and humbleness, He commanded us to imitate. Hence this ceremony, sometimes called Pedilavium (“washing of feet”), is repeated in Catholic churches annually on Holy Thursday and is also known as the Mandatum (“commandment”; see Jn 13:34). It is from the Mandatum that the alternate name “Maundy Thursday” is derived.
Although the custom of Christians washing each other’s feet as a sign of brotherly love and humility is not per se restricted only to priests or even men, the liturgical foot-washing ceremony is restricted to men. The reason for this is that the Sacred Liturgy of Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, at which our Lord washed only the feet of His Apostles, whom He had just ordained priests (and bishops). On Holy Thursday there is, then, an intimate connection between the Last Supper, the washing of the feet, and the Sacred Priesthood, which can only validly be conferred on men.
“Pope” Francis, of course, has no regard for the Holy Eucharist, the Sacred Priesthood, or any other things divine. All that matters to him is man, and when he invokes or talks about God, it is usually in the context of serving man (e.g., God forgiving people’s sins, God solving people’s problems, God showing us how to serve our neighbor, etc.).
It really all goes back to the Second Vatican Council, during which “Pope” Paul VI proclaimed in St. Peter’s Basilica:
Secular humanism, revealing itself in its horrible anti-clerical reality has, in a certain sense, defied the council. The religion of the God who became man has met the religion (for such it is) of man who makes himself God. And what happened? Was there a clash, a battle, a condemnation? There could have been, but there was none. The old story of the Samaritan has been the model of the spirituality of the council. A feeling of boundless sympathy has permeated the whole of it. The attention of our council has been absorbed by the discovery of human needs (and these needs grow in proportion to the greatness which the son of the earth claims for himself). But we call upon those who term themselves modern humanists, and who have renounced the transcendent value of the highest realities, to give the council credit at least for one quality and to recognize our own new type of humanism: we, too, in fact, we more than any others, honor mankind.
(Antipope Paul VI, Closing Speech at Fourth General Assembly of Vatican II, Dec. 7, 1965)
The last sentence is particularly striking. Paul VI, delivering his speech in Latin, said verbatim: “hominis sumus cultores” (source). As above, it can be rendered as “we honor mankind.” It is somewhat ambiguous, however, and can also be translated as “we worship man” or “we are worshippers of man”. Whether the ambiguity was intentional or not is not clear, but it was certainly quite fitting because the worship of man is exactly what the Vatican II religion engages in — although always, of course, in a way that leaves room for plausible deniability. Yet oftentimes it is not necessary to actually state a heresy in order for people to take heresy from one’s words. Quite often it is sufficient to exaggerate a truth, to emphasize only certain parts of it while ignoring or minimizing other parts, and to repeat such a distortion again and again.
Francis is a prime example of this. He constantly exaggerates the importance of our temporal life and earthly needs to the point of eclipsing the ultimate purpose of our lives: attaining salvation (the Beatific Vision) by the help of God’s sanctifying grace through Faith and works (cf. Mk 16:16; Heb 11:6; Jas 2:24). Francis constantly and consistently subordinates religion to the service of man. For this reason, he can encourage Muslims to read the Koran for a deeper “faith” and tell them he hopes they will derive “abundant spiritual fruit” from observing Ramadan. This is why he does not care what religion children are educated in as long as they get an education. It is why he puts all religions on the same level, blasphemously proclaiming that our only certainty in religious matters is that we are all children of God! It is why he refers to “true religions” (in the plural!) and defines them as “the development of the capacity that humanity has to transcend itself towards the absolute” (source). All this also explains why he kneels before man but not (usually) before God. Indeed, he is on record saying that we ought to kneel before the poor!
Francis preaches the gospel of man, not the Gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. Gal 1:8-9).
It should not be surprising, then, that over the last four years Jorge Bergoglio has managed to turn the focus of Holy Thursday away from a commemoration of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Priesthood and to the washing of feet — not priests’ or Catholics’ or men’s feet, mind you, but the feet of anyone he deems sufficiently “marginalized”. This he did in 2014 (the handicapped), in 2015 (prisoners), and in 2016 (refugees), all as part of the Novus Ordo liturgy commemorating the Last Supper.
Of course, he did it again this year, for the fourth time in a row. What is officially called the “Mass of the Lord’s Supper” (Missa in Coena Domini) has thus been turned into the “Mass of the Politically-Correct Feet”.
This time, the foot-washing circus took place at a prison of former Mafiosi at Paliano, Italy: “Pope Francis visited a fortress prison holding mafia turncoats on [Holy] Thursday and again included a Muslim and women in a traditional Holy Week foot-washing ritual that previous popes had limited to Catholic men” (Philip Pullella, “Pope makes Easter visit to fortress prison holding ex-mafiosi”, Reuters, Apr. 13, 2017).
Here are some video clips showing the washing of the feet that took place yesterday:
Additional news reports on Francis’ distortion of Holy Thursday can be found here:
- “Pope washes feet of 12 prison inmates at Holy Thursday Mass”
- “Pope Washes Feet of Detainees at Holy Thursday Mass”
- “At mafia prison, Francis says Holy Thursday is not ‘folklore’”
The effect of Francis’ change of the meaning of the Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual has been a complete shifting of emphasis in the ceremonies. While the main focus used to be on the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and the two wonderful Sacraments He instituted at the Last Supper, there is now this obsessive focus on man, specifically on Francis and the people whose feet he washes. “Whose feet will the Pope wash this year?” is the question that dominates Lent now as journalists, pundits, and bloggers around the globe wonder aloud whether Francis can top the prior year’s choice of feet. God has been eclipsed by man, who now holds the prominent place.
But the only time our Blessed Lord washed anyone’s feet was at the Last Supper, and those were the feet of His Apostles, His first Priests and Bishops, not of anyone else: not of tax collectors, not of prisoners, not of exploited workers, not of the sick, not of the poor, not of the outcast, not of migrants, and not of prostitutes.
There is another difference between what our Lord did and commanded us to do, and what Bergoglio does: Jesus Christ did not kiss the feet of His disciples, He merely washed them (at least the biblical text does not mention anything about kissing). While the traditional rubrics of the Roman rite did prescribe kissing of the right foot after washing it, this practice was abolished by Pope Pius XII in 1955: “In the restored rite the celebrant does not kiss the feet of the twelve men” (Rev. Frederick R. McManus, The Rites of Holy Week [Patterson, NJ: Saint Anthony Guild Press, 1956], p. 75, fn. 12). The Novus Ordo rubrics, which Francis uses and which he has not changed even in his 2016 decree on the washing of feet, have not reinstated the kiss (see The Roman Missal, 3rd. ed. , p. 300, nn. 10-12).
Franics’ kissing of the feet is therefore something he adds on his own, and not because he’s so traditional and wants to go back to the Holy Week rites in use before 1955, but because he loves to kiss, as we will show in a moment. And why shouldn’t he? He is, after all, another Judas: “As [Jesus] was yet speaking, behold a multitude; and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near to Jesus, for to kiss him. And Jesus said to him: Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss?” (Lk 22:47-48).
No, kissing is not wrong per se. That’s not the point. In fact, there is a “kiss of peace” in the Sacred Liturgy, and servers kiss the priest’s hand and the cruets during Holy Mass. However, liturgical kisses are simulations of kisses more than anything, and they are most certainly not meant as expressions of tenderness: The so-called kiss of peace is really not much of a kiss at all but more like a brief embrace; and altar servers kissing the priest’s hand upon handing him or taking from him his biretta or the cruets of water and wine, are instructed to barely allow their lips to touch anything at all.
Yet when Francis kisses, he kisses, and he kisses tenderly. He also kisses when he isn’t supposed to.
For example, Francis kisses youngsters — both male and female — after conferring upon them the Novus Ordo version of the sacrament of confirmation. There is video available of it here:
Note well: Kissing is not prescribed in the Novus Ordo ritual; and in the traditional Roman rite of confirmation, confirmands are instead slapped on the cheek by the bishop as a sign that they are now soldiers of Christ and must be willing to face any adversity for the sake of Christ and must battle bravely in the spiritual combat. From a manly slap to an effeminate kiss — how far the Novus Ordo religion has sunk!
Then, Francis is known to constanly kiss children instead of blessing them — babies and toddlers at audiences, for example, but also older children, such as altar servers, which is wholly uncalled-for. You can see him kiss two altar boys in this video clip, beginning at the 0:23 min mark. Even adults (at least females), including heads of state, are not safe from the Bergoglian lips, as can be seen here and here.
In this regard, Francis’ actions match his words. As is evident in his endless writings, homilies, interviews, speeches, etc., Francis has a real obsession with the concepts of “tenderness” and “caressing”. Somehow he always manages to sneak these ideas in, even where they are totally out of place, and he has a history of doing so.
For example, when in 2004 God-hating atheist Leon Ferrari opened a blasphemous “art” exhibit in Buenos Aires, then-“Cardinal” Bergoglio counseled his people to respond — you guessed it — with “tenderness”:
An internet search for the words “Pope Francis tenderness” will demonstrate just on how many occasions he uses the term. Here are some few examples:
- In Amoris Laetitia, n. 308, Francis talks about “the power of tenderness” (Mar. 19, 2016)
- Law, order, tenderness: Francis outlines traits of Vatican police (!) (Sep. 18, 2016)
- Francis calls for ‘revolution of tenderness’ towards refugees (Oct. 31, 2016)
- Francis describes St. Joseph as a “man of tenderness” (Mar. 20, 2017)
Not that tenderness is something that is bad or wrong in and of itself. Even a man ought to be tender in certain circumstances, and Holy Scripture speaks of God’s “tender mercies” (Ps 50:3). But that’s not the point. The point is the overemphasis, the exaggeration, and the apparent obsession with the concept, as well as applying it to situations and ideas where it is totally out of place.
The same goes for his constant use of the term “caress”:
- In Laudato Si’, n. 84, Francis says creation is “a caress of God” (May 24, 2015)
- Francis: “We always must transmit the caress of God, because God has caressed us with his mercy” (Feb. 23, 2016)
- Francis wants God to “caress us gently” (Apr. 11, 2016)
- Francis says sin is where we feel God’s caress (June 9, 2016)
- Francis says God “introduce[s] the caress of compassion that brings inclusion” (Dec. 31, 2016)
- Francis says woman “teaches us to caress” (Feb. 9, 2017)
Is it any surprise, then, that Francis chose as his theological advisor and ghostwriter his Argentinian buddy Victor Manuel Fernandez, who in 1995 published a book whose title translates into English as Heal Me With Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing? This is so insane, you cannot make it up!
No, there isn’t some misunderstanding here. The author’s description of the book, as released by the publisher, reads as follows:
I want to clarify that this book was not written based on my personal experience but based on the lives of those who kiss. In these pages I want to synthesize the popular feeling, what people feel when they think of a kiss, what they experience when they kiss. For that I chatted at length with many people who have abundant experience in this area, and also with many young people learning in what manner to kiss. I also consulted many books, and I wanted to show how the poets talk about kissing. So, trying to synthesize the immense richness of life, these pages emerged in favor of kissing. I hope that they help you kiss better, that they motivate you to release the best of yourself in a kiss.
Clearly, this man had what it takes to become a Novus Ordo archbishop, and this must be why Francis appointed him one on May 13, 2013!
For more information on Fernandez and his influence on Francis, please see the following post:
- The Jorge Whisperer: Key Texts in Amoris Laetitia found in “Abp.” Fernandez’s Theological Articles from 10 Years Ago
This explains a lot, does it not?
Amazingly enough, for this year’s Holy Thursday foot-washing stunt, Francis was once again quite able to kneel, and not just for a few moments but for the entire ritual. This is quite an accomplishment for someone who habitually “cannot” genuflect after the (supposed) consecration at “Mass” — not to mention kneeling for what he claims to believe is the Blessed Sacrament exposed:
No one around to have their feet washed? Then Francis needs a chair — VIDEO HERE
Francis is able and willing to kneel before man but not before God (yes, there are exceptions, but they’re precisely that — exceptions). He tenderly (!) washes the feet of men on his knees, but jokes about the Crucifixion of the Son of God.
By this he tells you — more eloquently than Paul VI ever did — whom he really worships.
Image source: youtube.com (screenshot) / youtube.com (screenshot)
License: fair use / fair use