Progressive Pope continues to push boundaries

Jesse James Greene

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Pope Francis is definitely one of the most forward-thinking and progressive popes of all time.

Since his inauguration, Francis has already spoken out on numerous issues that were marked taboo by his predecessors. This Holy Thursday the leader of the Catholic Church did it again, by washing feet.

Now this may sound weird, but the annual Holy Thursday ritual of feet washing comes as a reminder of what Jesus did at the Last Supper by washing the feet of his 12 disciples in an act of servitude.

In the same vein, Francis went about the ceremony last week, but with a twist. All 12 of the people whose feet were washed were refugees from places around the world. This year, only eight of them were men, and four were women.

As a millennial, I love the feminist, social justice ideals that Francis embodies, and this is just one example since women were previously forbidden from getting their feet washed by the pope.

Another interesting thing about the ceremony was the fact that not all of the refugees were Catholic. Three of them were Muslim women from Mali, Syria and Pakistan, and the fourth non-Christian was a Hindu man from India. Of the eight Catholics, four were from Nigeria, three from Eritrea and only one was originally from Europe as an Italian Catholic. This kind of diversity on so many levels gives everyone another reason to love Francis, or so you would think.

Many people in Europe and here in the U.S. think this demonstration is a bit much in the midst of new terror attacks in Brussels last week. Others think of it as the perfect reason to do something like this. Francis’s actions remind people that these people are the innocent majority. Of the roughly 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, such a small percentage of them engage in terror attacks, and most of the time, they occur in places of Muslim majority, destroying Muslim-occupied cities and communities.

Unfortunately, the media usually does not report about the devastation in the Arab World from groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. Many media outlets neglected the bombings in Turkey, where the most recent one happened nine days before the Brussels attack.

Francis’s platform is that all people matter regardless of what country they’re from or religion they adhere to. His official homily about the Holy Thursday ritual was “All of us together,” before listing an amount of religions and ethnicities. “Children of the same God, we want to live together in peace, integrated.”

According to Francis’s actions he really means it, which is why he asked for women to be added to the ceremony this year, for an even more inclusive festival. Francis understands and wants to show the world the true meaning of Christianity, a faith that accepts all and embraces diversity and representation across communities.

Something interesting to note though is that this decree was actually made three months ago in the first week of January, but the pope has been practicing the inclusion for the past three years now before it was made an official papal decree.

The Catholic world should realize that the pope does what he knows pleases God, and with this he manages to please us as well.