St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro is
a pious dude. He takes his religion so seriously that he seems to be
confusing himself with Jesus; either that or he has a foot fetish.
Whatever the case this is deeply creepy. I’m about to do something I
*never* do and cut and paste the entirePicayune article in its sublime weirdness:
ritual of washing feet has a deep-seated tie to Holy Week, a symbol of
the humility Jesus Christ showed in performing the act for his 12
disciples the day before his death. St. Bernard Parish President Craig
that custom into the workplace Thursday, going around the government
complex throughout the day to wash the feet of willing employees.
the chief executive officer of St. Bernard Parish Government, I thought
it was an appropriate gesture to show that I am as humbled as any other
sinner in the world, so much so that I would offer to wash the feet of
the employees,”Taffaro said.
did not publicize his actions Thursday. A reporter was alerted to the
matter by several phone calls from people who had heard from government
employees whose feet were washed.
“It’s very uncomfortable to me
to take an act of humility and make it a public statement,” Taffaro
said, clearly concerned that his actions would be labeled an attempt at
The incident does touch on the line drawn between
church and state, as well as the delicate relationship between boss and
Taffaro said employees were not pressured in to having
him wash their feet. But he did say the vast majority of them accepted
the offer. “If they wanted to participate, they could. If they didn’t,
no problem,” said Taffaro, who is a devout Catholic. “I didn’t keep a
list or anything like that.”
He also added that he does not
think washing feet in the government complex is an overtly religious
act, but rather a universal symbol of humility. “It’s no different than
people who offer to bring Holy Communion to people who are in federally
run prisons,” he said. “That would be the same concept.”
The feet washing ritual
is often incorporated into Catholic and other Christian ceremonies the
Thursday of Holy Week, known as Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday. The
direct reference in the Bible is the Gospel of John, which describes
Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the time of the Last Supper.
Bernard Parish Councilman Wayne Landry said he did not see the ritual
performed, but heard about it from employees when he arrived at the
government complex Thursday afternoon. He said a few employees told him
they felt uncomfortable with the way it was done. Landry said that it
might have been better if Taffaro had a voluntary gathering for folks
who were interested, instead of going around the building asking if
employees wanted their feet washed.
“Perhaps had it been an
invited thing for whoever wanted to come, maybe those types of comments
I received would have been avoided,” Landry said. “On the other side, I
certainly wouldn’t want to diminish the good will that was exhibited by
the president in the spirit of Easter. I believe his intentions were