I look at the gesture in a different way. The washing of the feet was highly symbolic. He was sending a message to the traditionalists in the Church
that he is above liturgical tradition. He was trying to state that "Man is above God". Let me explain what I mean below:
The prior Pope, Pope Benedict, embraced the liturgical traditionalists by reinstating the usage of the old Latin Rite Mass that was in place before
the disastrous Vatican II. The Latin Rite is the old Mass, said entirely in Latin, highly structured, with no room for liturgical innovation by the
Pope Francis is basically giving an example to the priests that they can do as they deem fit liturgically-speaking, which has had disastrous
consequences in the past.
The old Latin Rite Mass, for example, severely restricts the priest's ability to innovate. Each action taken by the priest is choreographed and
measured. The priest cannot deviate.
After Vatican II in the 60's, the Mass was radically altered. The new Mass implemented after Vatican II allowed for much deviation and innovation,
which resulted in all kinds of terrible liturgical abuses, such as Teen Masses, Clown Masses, and the like. The Mass become man-centered around the
personality of the priest, whereas the old Latin Rite Mass was focused entirely on service to G-d alone with no room for innovation and
My personal opinion is that this Pope's actions and example here are very dangerous and sets a bad example for the priesthood, promoting the
priesthood to innovate and self-interpret the Mass from a liturgical point of view. It could result in the further deterioration of the Mass to even
lower degraded levels -- spiraling into each priest's personal interpretation of the liturgy.
His actions are symbolically telling the priesthood that his papacy will be centered around the Pope's personality, and not around the service of G-d.
It's highly irregular and will have disastrous consequences if Pope Francis stays in power for an extended period of time.
edit on 30-3-2013
by CookieMonster09 because: (no reason given)