Well, I like him, anyway. I was especially astonished by his plan to wash the feet of prisoners in an Italian juvenile detention facility for Maundy Thursday (the day we liturgical types celebrate the Last Supper). It was already a big break from the usual Papal tradition of washing the feet of upper-level bishops in St. Peter's Basilica.
When it actually happened however, he ended up washing the feet of two prisoners who had the audacity to be women.
But before I get ahead of myself - something I've noticed on all the news articles I've read online about Pope Francis is that the comments repeatedly contain people stating, essentially, "I'm not catholic/Christian, but this guy is intriguing/has my respect/is someone I could follow."
So a great many non-catholics (myself included) see his actions and we are impressed. We think this seems more consistent with what God is concerned about. We feel more inclined to think kindly of people who purport to follow God and by extension get a better sense of who God Himself is. Even many atheists are responding positively to this Pope.
Who could possibly be unhappy with this?
I laughed and laughed and laughed when I read these news stories, because wow, have I been there. I'm also learning quite quickly that there are Fundamentalist-types in every stripe of Christianity and they all use the same tricks. Like this one:
"By disregarding his own law in this matter, Francis violates, of course, no divine directive," Peters wrote. "What he does do, I fear, is set a questionable example." (italics mine)
Ha! Questionable example! This guy could be the Dean of Men at Fundy University with that little phrase. I even googled "canon lawyer Edward Peters" to see what he looked like, because reading that made me picture fat wobbly jowls. (He doesn't have them.) I hear that the Pharisees thought that Christ healing on the Sabbath was a pretty questionable example too.
Even more upset was the Reverend John Zuhlsdorf:
"This is about the ordination of women, not about their feet," wrote the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a traditionalist blogger. Liberals "only care about the washing of the feet of women, because ultimately they want women to do the washing."That's right. You wash a woman's feet and before you know it she'll be wearing the cassock herself. Yay! Slippery slope! Always a favorite.
Traditionalists are lamenting the loss of the days of the sedan chair, the elaborate - read: expensive - papal garments, and the full use of the Latin rite. They are so unhappy that they are (carefully) criticizing the Pope. (Because disobeying the Pope is apparently a lesser sin that washing the feet of a woman*.) Though I guess I can kinda see where they are coming from. I mean really, if a solid gold pectoral cross and being carried around among the masses was good enough for Jesus, it ought to be good enough for Pope Francis.
Seriously though, traditionalists yet again show who their real god is. It isn't the God of all Creation; it isn't Jesus Christ the Righteous; it isn't the Holy Spirit of Truth. It's a
As one particularly astute commenter also stated, "Jesus wasn't exactly a traditionalist." Indeed. He rather upset them on a regular basis, I understand. Funny, that.
*Which makes me suspicious of how highly women are valued, frankly. Been there, experienced that too.