Pope Francis Might Be First Pope Who Actually Does What Jesus Would Do

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pope francisAs someone who was raised Catholic but no longer practices the faith (just call me The Sinner Formerly Known as Catholic), I must confess: It was next to impossible NOT to occasionally poke fun at poor old Pope Benedict. Especially as his reign, for lack of a better word, came to an end ... I mean, come on. The Vatican's alleged secret sex ring? The red Prada shoes? The sombrero?! The man had his own cologne, for the love of God (presumably). And don't even get me started on the Twitter account.

But this new guy, Pope Francis? He's not your everyday Holy Father: This Thursday -- Holy Thursday -- instead of saying mass in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis has chosen the chapel of a penal institute for minors in Rome ... where he will wash and kiss the feet of 12 young inmates, following the example of Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper.

Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II generally followed this tradition with priests in place of the disciples, not inmates (though John Paul II did bathe the feet of 12 homeless men back in 1980). For Francis to choose 12 juvenile delinquents in a prison chapel is a hugely symbolic gesture.

Here's the thing: Going back to the original washing of the feet -- it was a big deal. I mean, as soon as Jesus started with the whole basin of water thing, Peter was all, "Dude! Why are YOU washing MY feet? You're, like, the Lord." (I'm paraphrasing, slightly.) And Jesus said:

"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."

(That part I didn't paraphrase.)

The point being that humility was a big deal to Jesus, right? Humility and generosity. This is the guy who encouraged his followers to give ALL their earthly possessions away to the poor, saying:

"It is easier for a camel pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Pope Francis is a 76-year-old Jesuit (Jesuit priests take a vow of poverty) with one lung who, as Cardinal of Buenos Aires, was known for denying himself "the luxuries most cardinals enjoyed ... he often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that ring Argentina's capital. He considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be the essential business of the church."

It's as if Pope Francis actually asks himself, "What would Jesus do?" And then ... does it.

I'm ... not even sure ... I can ... make any jokes about him.

What do you think about Pope Francis washing the feet of 12 young inmates on Holy Thursday?


Image via Zennie Abraham/Flickr

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insei... inseineangel

I'm spiritual, but not "religious". I don't normally pay too much attention to what's going on with the Church and everything, but ever since he became Pope, I have been enthralled in watching this unfold.

He may be of the same flock, but he sure seems like a whole different breed. 

I hope he sticks to it and keeps true to himself. I hope he continues to set these kinds of examples for the other leaders of the Church. 

amazz... amazzonia

I heard one saying "god sends us saints every now and then, to remind us where we come from, and it's what he did sending us pope Francis" I love him, finally someone like Jesus to represent him! And not to mention that he refused the gold cross and ring, he had them made of silver then covered in gold love love love 

LadyM... LadyMinni

He's still living in a palace, wearing silk, and sitting on a golden throne. Doesn't sound like Jesus to me. Also, Jesus was a reformist Jew and not a Christian. He wasn't trying to found a new religion, just fix the old one.

I think -I hope- he will do well and get the Catholic church back on it's feet. As of right now my respect for the church is in the negative numbers, and I'm not happy about that.

nonmember avatar Momo

Actually, he's not using throne anymore. He switched it for a plain white chair at the same level as everyone else.

He's not in the "palace" either. It's ready for him, but he's choosing not to move in yet. Wonder If he even will???

In regards to the silk .... Give him time. He might just swap it out for linen ;)

Mommi... MommietoJB

I do not believe in any organized religion but I have to say this pope is setting a great example of humility and simplicity, somrthing the church had been lacking.

nonmember avatar 221314

First of all, thank you for recognizing and giving credit where credit is due! I whole heartily agree with you and believe that Pope Francis is the "real deal" , he gets it and really does ask himself "what would Jesus do?" I believe he deserves to wear the ring of St. Peter and that he may be the man to change a lot that went array in Catholicism. I use to say that I didn't believe that Popes were any closer to God than anyone who wanted to be, but with Pope Francis, I stand corrected. May God Bless him during this mission.

Oscar David Abdo

I'm from Argentina, and Francis Pope, then bishop, helped many poor people here, he always made many good works, and many people did not know that, he always wanted to be anonymous.
I hope God help the pope francis, to do all the good things he did here.

Philip Book'EmDanno Smith

Jesus was a reformist Jew and not a Christian? You are aware that Christianity comes from Christ--Jesus' last name. Whether Jesus meant to found a new religion or not is irrelevant for two reasons. First, a new religion was created by and for those who did not follow the Jewish faith because it went against the teachings of Jesus. Second, Jesus--by accounts of the Bible--not a religious person. He was against the rigidity and unforgiving adherence to protocol that the leaders of His time enforced. Was he a spiritual person? Yes. He brought common sense, realism, and a huge heart to faith. So, with that said...where he the Dope Pope lives, what he wears, or where he sits is irrelevant. Why? Because his WORKS speak volumes.

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