Which way will he go?
Pope Francis continues to surprise and excite Catholics. No one yet knows in which direction he will steer the Church but he has given ample evidence that he is very much his own man. His decision not to live in the apostolic apartments but to share meals with others living in the Vatican must have thrown traditionalists into a fit but he has stuck to his own way. The same confidence was shown by his decision to wash the feet of two women on Maundy Thursday. The rubrics say that the bishop or priest should wash the feet of men. Conservative Catholic blogs are full of dismay. Only a few fear this is the first step to women priests but most are convinced more liturgical horrors are in store. The body language of the Vatican’s master of ceremonies on TV speaks volumes. Papal speeches praising the role of women in the church have not helped steady conservative nerves. Traditionalists may be nervous but so far there is no evidence of significant change in Church policy. We may get more clues to the future when the several new promised biographies of Francis appear this month. John Allen is already hard at work in Buenos Aires and a prominent Italian journalist released his book on 10 April.