According to the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal and leading Catholic authorities, Pope Francis’s recent decision to wash the feet of two girls, including a Muslim, during a traditional Holy Thursday ritual has been viewed as an attack on Church law by conservative elements of the Catholic Church, of which there are many.
The traditional foot-washing ceremony reenacts the way in which Jesus washed the feet of his twelve apostles during the Last Supper. The Catholic Church has long said women can’t participate because the apostles were all men.
A lesson for the Catholic Church:
There are moments in your life when you think or believe something but know better than to express your opinion out loud lest you sound like a jackass.
If your grandmother has baked a birthday cake that tastes like cardboard, you know to keep your mouth shut even after Grandma has gone home because complaining about an elderly woman’s cooking prowess is sure to make you look downright despicable.
If you think that all babies are fairly annoying, ugly and stupid, you wouldn’t announce this to the world lest people think you are a heartless jerk.
If you believe that men are more naturally gifted at mathematics than women, you keep this opinion to yourself unless you are certain that your audience is made up entirely of morons like yourself.
Even most racists know better than to express their mindless hatred out loud. They may avoid friendship with people outside their race or even cross the street in order to avoid crossing paths with a person who does not look like them, but only the most stupid of racists announce their prejudice to the world.
I suggest that the Catholic Church adopt a similar strategy.
Be angry with the Pope for washing the feet of a young girl or a Muslim.
Go right ahead and believe that only human beings equipped with penises are entitled to this honor.
Feel free to fear that the Pope’s decision to wash the feet of penis-less people might signal an eventual change in Church doctrine that would establish equality between the sexes.
These are all terrible things to think, but you are certainly entitled to think them.
But don’t say any of them aloud.
When you express outrage over the Pope’s decision to wash the feet of a girl or a Muslim, you come across as a bigoted, sexist jackass. You make your Church seem less palatable and inviting. You do harm to your religion as a whole.
When your criticism borders on insanity, it’s best to keep your stupid mouth shut.