Friday, March 25, 2016
The day after the Brussels bombing, the pope washed the feet of Christian, Hindu and Muslim refugees and called them brothers. The symbolic act is part of a Roman Catholic religious ceremony re-enacting the last Passover supper Jesus celebrated with his disciples. The pope's choice of people from multiple religions was unusual and was a potent symbol for his vision of how the world should be getting along. The contrast between the bombings in which dozens died and dozens more were wounded and a spiritual leader bending to wash the feet of strangers could not be more stark. This pope is given to actions that promote unity even to the discomfort of some of his fellow believers. He has broadened the meaning of religious action through his inclusiveness and in so doing, has earned even the plaudits of cynics. It would be interesting if more world leaders followed his example.