The new Pope’s washing the feet of two women has caused a stir among Catholic traditionalists. Traditionalists are absolutely certain they know what the faith means and how to practice it. The Pope is absolutely sure he does as well. They differ.
I read somewhere when the new Pope was offered the SuperPope red cape for his first appearance he said, “This is not Las Vegas anymore.” In Argentina, he made no efforts to reinstate Latin Mass as traditionalists have been obsessed with.
All of this is not news. It is merely the repeat of what have been happening in all parts of Christianity since day one, adjusting when popular culture changes. When asked if the Pope was violating a Catholic tenet by washing the feet of women, the spokesman said, “No. The Pope was ignoring it.” Ignoring some aspects of the faith and focusing on others is in the operational manual of Christianity.
While different branches of the faith change different policies at different times, nearly all say the same thing about change: The faith doesn’t change, it’s the same, now and forever. Then, the faith changes.
The places we have seen change, among others, is alcohol use, divorce, swearing, working on Sunday and the latest, gay marriage. Some say gay marriage is a new low. That is, it’s the last straw, or, a plateau we the faith can’t go below.
But, it’s not. As the new Pope demonstrates, reinterpreting the faith is on going, now and forever.