The Continuity of the Catholic Church
The ceremony of foot washing gives another illustration. There are a few groups of Christians who look upon foot washing as a required act of religious worship. They draw their opinion from an incident in the Last Supper when our Lord, as an act of great humility, stooped down and washed the Apostles' feet and when, in response to St. Peter's protest, He said: "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me" (John 13:8). Does it follow from these facts that foot washing is a sacred ceremony commanded by our Lord for His followers? The question is answered by the Church in the negative. Again, I ask who is in the better position to understand the intentions of the Founder of Christianity, those who have had no contact with the Apostolic generation or the Catholic Church which never lost contact?
Disregarding the method used by the Church and consulting the Scriptures alone can lead to the most unfortunate conclusions. It has led some to expect a millenium and to speculate about when it will come. It has led to predictions about the end of the world and to the fixing of certain days for that awesome event. It has led to the refusal to procreate children, who would be doomed to die quickly. It has led others, a few at least, to pluck out their eyes, because of our Lord's warning about the offending eye. It has led still others to take up poisonous serpents and allow themselves to be bitten. It has influenced not a few persons to commit suicide. Did not our Lord say that His followers should give their lives for Him?
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