|Humble shoes, but still red: How Pope Francis could make everyone happy?|
The article is very refreshing and because it is about His Holiness, is also quite challenging. Pope Francis is a Pope who continues to surprise. He doesn't like the idea of comfortable Christians and from what we have seen so far, may well leave his flock on the edge of our seats.
A week or two ago His Holiness told us not to try and convert the poor man, but to give to him and 'Jesus will do the rest'. This week, he tells us that if we do not give the poor Jesus Christ then we have done very little for them.
I'd never heard of Leon Bloy, for instance, but after my second slice of vanilla cheesecake to celebrate the Feast of St Pius X, I am once reminded that I am a pig, just as Bloy says when he talks of Christians who are not virtuous or heroic. To me, he sounds a bit up himself, but then its easy for poor sinners like me to react against the exhortations of great Saints.
One thing that is starting to annoy me about how the media deal with Pope Francis - rather than what the Pope says - is how he is still being spun as the 'humble, radical Pope' unlike all the other 'proud, boring Popes', like Blessed Pope John Paul II, who was so 'boring' he was credited with much to bring down communism and the Soviet Bloc. Neither did I find Benedict XVI boring. How can someone with such a brilliant mind, with so much knowledge of the Church and especially the Church Fathers be 'boring'. If you could mine Benedict XVI's mind it would be a treasure trove.
If Pope Francis, having celebrated the liturgy of Holy Thursday (and been faithful to the Church's law) had then gone out into St Peter's Square in order to round up some paupers in order to wash their feet outside of the liturgy after Mass, he could have washed the feet of as many Muslims, ladies, Hindus, atheists and whoever he wanted perfectly licitly. This would be both radical and humble, and after having washed their feet and kissed them he could say, 'I'll be back in ten minutes' in order to present them with a bag of money and a round of sandwiches each. This would be both a radical and humble example of service and love for the poor, instead of an instance of the Bishop of Rome bending or breaking the liturgical law to conform to his own will, rather than that of the Universal Church, the governance of which has been entrusted to His Holiness. To the World the foot-washing on Holy Thursday may have appeared humble, but to the Church the message was this: 'It's okay to break the Church's liturgical law. The law of the Church does not matter'.
I'm not saying this because I can't 'get over' Holy Thursday. I'm saying this because journalists continue to bring out photos of Pope Francis doing what every priest does on Holy Thursday and suggesting that this photo makes the Pope incredibly humble and radical. It isn't. It's just what Priests do. I've also given up on the idea that Pope Francis will follow the ancient tradition of his predecessors and wear red shoes, or even red sandals as a sign of holy poverty, holy humility and holy respect for the Blood of Christ and the blood of the martyrs of the Church, in which he walks.
Daily, we hear more martyrs are being added to that glorious list of souls; in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere across the globe Christians shed their blood for Christ and for His Church. Muslims are marking the doors of Christians with a black Cross as they go through the neighbourhoods targetting the Faithful for execution. How is that for 'uncomfortable Christianity'? Pope Francis, as Cardinal Bergoglio, might well have thought the Regensburg Address of Pope Benedict XVI to have been a bad idea and a destructive message in the Church's dialogue with Muslims, but that doesn't mean that Benedict XVI was wrong.
Just as Fr Blake makes the case for the Regensburg address of 2006, the Church cannot 'reason' or 'dialogue' with a section of Islam that has dispensed with the faculties of 'reason' in pursuit of ideological and religious zeal that is indifferent to the suffering of others. With the best will in the world, Islamists hell-bent on wiping Christianity from the Middle East are not going to listen to Pope Francis as His Holiness calls for an end to bloodshed and for more 'dialogue'. Only a Miracle is going to bring peace and stability to Egypt now. Let us pray that the Blessed Mother of God, will aid the Christians of the region with her prayers and open the eyes of the Islamists whose dreadful, vengeful fury continues to wreak destruction upon the land to which the Virgin and Child fled to find refuge with St Joseph, to escape the murderous King Herod.