How Should We Understand Pope Francis Washing Women's Feet?

03/28/2013 Comments (407)

The future Pope Francis washes the feet of a unidentified woman on Holy Thursday at the Buenos Aires' Sarda maternity hospital on March 24, 2005.

It has been widely reported that, when he was still the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, the future Pope Francis washed the feet of women during the Mass of the Lord's Supper.

Now he has done so as pope.

Here are some thoughts on Pope Francis's decision and what it means.


This Year's Mass of the Lord's Supper

It was surprising but not surprising when the Holy See announced that Pope Francis had chosen to celebrate this year's Mass of the Lord's Supper not in one of the papal basilicas of Rome but, instead, in its juvenile prison.

That's precisely the kind of gesture that we have come to expect from the new pope in the short time we've been getting to know him.

It's not...READ MORE

Filed under foot washing, foot-washing, footwashing, holy thursday, pope francis, washing women's feet

9 things you need to know about Good Friday

03/28/2013 Comments (12)

Good Friday was the day we were redeemed from our sins by Jesus' death on the cross. Here are 9 things you should know about the day and how we commemorate it.

Good Friday is the most solemn day of the Christian year.

It is the day our Savior died for us.

It is the day we were redeemed from our sins by the voluntary death of God Himself at the hands of man.

Here are 9 things you need to know.


1. Why is this day called "Good Friday"

It's not for the reason you might think.

Despite the fact that "good" is a common English word, tempting us to say the name is based on the fact that something very good (our redemption) happened on this day, that's not where the name comes from.

Precisely where it does come from is disputed. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains:

The origin of the term Good is not clear. Some say it is from "God's...READ MORE

Filed under crucifixion, good friday, liturgical year

10 things you need to know about Holy Thursday

03/27/2013 Comments (12)

Holy Thursday was one of the most important days in all of history. It was a pivotal day in the life of Jesus Christ. Here are 10 things you should know about it and how we celebrate it today.

Every single Mass, we hear the words "on the night he was betrayed."

That night was Holy Thursday, and it is one of the most important nights in all of history.

Here are 10 things you need to know.


1. What happened on the original Holy Thursday?

An amazing amount of stuff! This was one of the most pivotal days in the life of Jesus Christ.

Here are some of the things the gospels record for this day (including events that happened after midnight). Jesus:

  • Sent Peter and John to arrange for them to use the Upper Room to hold the Passover meal.
  • Washed the apostles' feet.
  • Held the first Mass.
  • Instituted the priesthood.
  • Announced that Judas would betray him.
  • ...READ MORE

Filed under foot washing, foot-washing, footwashing, holy thursday, liturgical year, mass, mass of the lord's supper, maundy thursday, priesthood, triduum

6 things you need to know about Triduum

03/27/2013 Comments (1)

What is Triduum, and why is it so important?

We are about to leave Lent and enter the liturgical season known as "Triduum."

What is this season, and why does the Church say that it is "the culmination of the entire liturgical year"?

Here are 6 things you need to know.


1. What does "Triduum" mean?

It comes from Latin roots that mean, essentially, "the three days" or "period of three days" (tri- = three, -dies = days).

Today it refers to the liturgical season that follows Lent and precedes the Easter season.

According to the main document governing the celebrations connected with Easter, Paschales Solemnitatis:

38. . . . This time is called "the triduum of the crucified, buried and risen"; it is also called the...READ MORE

Filed under abstinence, easter, easter sunday, fasting, good friday, holy saturday, holy thursday, liturgical year, mass of the lord's supper, triduum

9 things you need to know about Palm (Passion) Sunday

03/23/2013 Comments (9)

Why is Jesus' entry into Jerusalem so important? What is going on here?

Palm Sunday--or is it Passion Sunday?--marks the beginning of Holy Week.

This day commemorates not one but two very significant events in the life of Christ.

Here are 9 things you need to know.


1. What is this day called?

The day is called both "Palm Sunday" and "Passion Sunday."

The first name comes from the fact that it commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when the crowd had palm branches (John 12:13).

The second name comes from the fact that the narrative of the Passion is read on this Sunday (it otherwise wouldn't be read on a Sunday, since the next Sunday is about the Resurrection).

According to the main document on the celebration of the feasts...READ MORE

Filed under crucifixion, holy week, liturgy, palm sunday, passion sunday

Pope Francis on Homosexual Unions

03/20/2013 Comments (243)

In 2010, Cardinal Bergoglio spoke out forcefully against homosexual "marriage." What was his position on "civil unions" for homosexuals?

There have been a flurry of stories reporting that, in 2010, when he was still a cardinal, Pope Francis supported the idea of civil unions for homosexuals.

What are we to make of this?


Getting the Facts

A starting point is trying to get the facts on the matter, as best they can be known.

According to press accounts, back in 2010 when the Argentine government was in the process of approving homosexual "marriage," then-Cardinal Bergoglio suggested the possibility of civil unions for homosexuals as a way of keeping homosexual marriage from being made legal.

He was absolutely adamant on the impermissibility of homosexual marriage, stating:

In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will...READ MORE

Filed under bergoglio, civil unions, francis, homosexual, homosexual marriage, pope francis

Should We Be Concerned About Pope Francis's Inaugural Mass?

03/18/2013 Comments (89)

Should we be concerned about some of the aspects of Pope Francis's inaugural Mass?

Pope Francis's inaugural Mass is unique in several respects.

That's raised a lot of questions: Only some cardinals doing the act of obedience? Different Mass readings? The Gospel reading in Greek? No offertory procession? No Communion distributed by the pope?

What does all this mean about the pope and where he stands on liturgy?

Is he striking out on a radical new course?

Let's take a deep breath . . . and a closer look at these differences.


1) Only Some Cardinals Doing the Act of Obedience?

This change is not as strange as you might think.

The last time a pope had this kind of Mass (when Pope Benedict had his in 2005) they didn't have all the cardinals present make the...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, communion, francis, homosexual marriage, inauguration, liturgy, marriage, mass, pope francis, same-sex marriage

9 things you need to know about Pope Francis's inaugural Mass

03/17/2013 Comments (9)

Pope Francis is having his "Inaugural Mass"? What happens in this Mass, and why is it important?

On Tuesday, March 19, Pope Francis will participate in his inauguration Mass.

If he hasn't been inaugurated, is he pope yet?

If he is pope, why is this called is "inauguration" Mass?

Here are 9 things you need to know.


1. Is Pope Francis already Pope, if he isn't "inaugurated"?

Yes. According to the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 332 §1. The Roman Pontiff obtains full and supreme power in the Church by his acceptance of legitimate election together with episcopal consecration. Therefore, a person elected to the supreme pontificate who is marked with episcopal character obtains this power from the moment of acceptance. If the person elected lacks episcopal character, however, he...READ MORE

Filed under election, francis, inaugural mass, inauguration mass, mass, pope francis

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About Jimmy Akin

Jimmy Akin
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Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, "A Triumph and a Tragedy," is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."