Foot washing on Holy Thursday. Wherein Fr. Z rants.

In the Roman Rite, the washing of feet on Holy Thursday is an option.  It may be left out without disturbing the integrity of the Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper (otherwise, it wouldn’t be a legitimate option).

Watch now as all sorts of people demand that bishops and priests violate the law because of what His Holiness Pope Francis did last year and plans to do this year.  Watch as all manner of clerics hide behind the Pope when they choose openly to break the law and violate their promise to uphold the Church’s laws.

The problem with that is, liturgical law is real law.  It must be obeyed.

The Church’s liturgical law is not ambiguous: only males can be chosen for this optional rite, and they should be men: viri selecti.  Vir means “man”.   Vir cannot, period, mean a female.  And despite what Facebook says, there are two sexes, not dozens.  Also, you really don’t get to choose which you are.  Vir is male.

Also, lest it go unsaid, I am not speciesist, but the Church still limits this foot-washing rite to human beings.

Next, the Pope, who is the Church’s Legislator, can do A, B or C as it pleaseth him to do.  If he wants to set aside the law, so be it.

The rest of us, however, are obligedto obey the law.  The ordained made promises at ordination to obey the Church’s laws.

So, we have a couple choices when it comes to the foot-washing rite (the “Mandatum” or “Command” – whence the word Maundy): don’t do the rite, or do the rite properly.

Two main excuses are offered in defense of the abuse of washing the feet of women.

The first excuse is that of “hospitality”.  “Hospitality” suggests women must be “included”.  Never mind that Mass isn’t that sort of “meal”.  In the USA some might obtusely cite a note – having no canonical authority – from the (then) NCCB’s Committee on Liturgy in 1987 which uses this “hospitality” argument.

The second excuse is that of “inclusive” language, to which some of a certain age still cling.  Keep in mind that quite a few clerics, of a certain age, haven’t really updated themselves by looking at the most recent edition of the Roman Missal, in English much less in Latin.  They are snug in their fading memories that the English words in the now long-obsolete ICEL Sacramentary, “men” and “man”, couldn’t possibly mean “males”!  That would be sexist!  Again, Latin “vir” means “male”.

To repeat, when the Pope decides to derogate for himself from the liturgical law,  that derogation doesn’t abolish the law for everyone else.  The law remains.

We priests – and bishops – must obey the liturgical law which we do not have the authority to break or change.

The Church is not lawless.  The Church is not merely a display case for people’s passing whims and changing fashions.

When and if the Holy Father wants the law to change for everyone, he will make sure that it is changed for everyone in the proper way and he will let everyone in the world know about it.  The Holy Father knows how to change laws and promulgate the changes.  Doing something in private on his own doesn’t change the law.

Until the Roman Pontiff changes the law, the law stands.

Men only, or no foot washing at all.  Those are the two legitimate options.

Fathers, if you are afraid of the women in your parish, just opt out of the foot washing rite entirely.  It is only an option.  Fathers, if you don’t want the headaches and complaints and threats and tears and anger and hate-mail and voice-mail and glares and accusations, just say “no” to the foot washing option.   Let the Mass be the Mass without the controversy.  You are not obliged to violate the law and your promises.

The moderation queue is on.  I’ll let quite a few stack up so that you are, initially at least, responding to the issue rather than to each other.  Patience.

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Spem in allium

Some garlicky notes for this Holy Week.

First, at BBC an ancient recipe made new.

1,000-year-old onion and garlic eye remedy kills MRSA

A 1,000-year-old treatment for eye infections could hold the key to killing antibiotic-resistant superbugs, experts have said.
Scientists recreated a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon remedy using onion, garlic and part of a cow’s stomach.
They were “astonished” to find it almost completely wiped out methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA.
Their findings will be presented at a national microbiology conference.
The remedy was found in Bald’s Leechbook – an old English manuscript containing instructions on various treatments held in the British Library.
Anglo-Saxon expert Dr Christina Lee, from the University of Nottingham, translated the recipe for an “eye salve”, which includes garlic, onion or leeks, wine and cow bile.
Experts from the university’s microbiology team recreated the remedy and then tested it on large cultures of MRSA.

Oh those medieval types were soooo stupid.

And now from the great blog Pass The Garum an even more ancient recipe made new.

Moretum – Cheese, Herb and Garlic Spread

Moretum is a cheese, garlic, and herb spread mentioned in a wonderful little poem, also called Moretum, allegedly by Virgil. The poem tells us about the farmer Symilus and his morning meal. Waking up early, he lights his lamp and visits his grain stores. After spending some time milling the grain, Symilus has just enough flour to bake a loaf of bread. However, the farmer soon notices that he has no meat, and worries that the bread might not be tasty enough on its own, so he sets about making some moretum to go with it. Seeing as our bread could use a little lift, I’m going to follow this Roman farmer’s example and make some of this cheese spread. The whole poem, which really is worth a read, can be found by clicking here. It’s too long to post in full, so I’ve summarised the important bits here:

Symilus gathers four heads of garlic (!), celery, parsley, rue, and coriander seeds.
He grinds the garlic in his mortar and pestle, and adds salt and cheese.
He then adds the celery, rue, parsley, and coriander seeds.
The smell is so strong that it makes his eyes water!
Finally, he adds some olive oil and vinegar, finishes off the mixture, and slaps some on his freshly baked bread.

So, what to make of this? Well for one there is far too much garlic; Symilus might have been able to work alone in his field without his breath offending anyone, but most of us don’t have that luxury. I’ve toned it down a bit and used just half a clove. Secondly, Virgil mentions a bitter herb called ‘rue’ which I don’t have access to at the minute, so that’s been left out.


You’ll have to go over there to see the recipe. I have to try this stuff.  Maybe tomorrow.

I need some rue, and not from a bottle of grappa.

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Whan That Aprille Day 2015

Chaucer ipadI would like to remind the readership that “Whan That Aprille Day 2015″ is upon us.

For more on this distinguished day see Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog.

Maken Melodye on Whan That Aprille Day 2015


Yt doth fill my litel herte wyth gret happinesse to invyte yow to the seconde yeare of a moost blisful and plesinge event.

On the first daye of Aprille, lat us make tyme to take joye yn alle langages that are yclept ‘old,’ or ‘middel,’ or ‘auncient,’ or ‘archaic,’ or, alas, even ‘dead.’

Thys feest ys yclept ‘Whan That Aprille Day.’ For thys yeare, ‘Whan That Aprille Day 15.’

Ich do invyte yow to joyne me yn a celebracioun across the entyre globe of the erthe. Yn thys celebracioun we shal reade of oold bokes yn sondrye oold tonges. We shal singe olde songes. We shal playe olde playes. Eny oold tonge will do, and eny maner of readinge. All are welcome. We shal make merrye yn the magical dreamscape of ‘social media,’ and eke, yf ye kan do yt, yn the ‘real worlde’ too.

Ye maye, paraventure, wisshe to reade from the beginning of my Tales of Caunterburye, but ye maye also wisshe to reade of eny oothir boke or texte or scroll or manuscript that ye love. Ye maye even reade the poetrye of John Gower yf that ys yower thinge.

What are sum wayes to celebrate Whan That Aprille Daye?

Gentil frendes, yf yt wolde plese yow to celebrate Whan That Aprille Daye 2015, ye koude…

• Counte downe to Whan That Aprille Daye wyth the good folke of TEAMS Middel Englisshe Textes on twytter: @METS_Texts

• Maken a video of yowerself readinge (or singinge! or actinge!) and share yt on the grete webbe of the internette.

• Make sum maner of cake or pastrye wyth oold wordes upon yt, and feest upon yt wyth good folke and share pictures of yower festivitee.

• Yf ye be bold, ye maye wisshe to share yower readinge yn publique, yn a slam of poesye or a nighte of open mic.

• Yf ye worke wyth an organisatioun or scole, ye maye wisshe to plan sum maner of event, large or smal, to share writinge yn oold langages.

• And for maximum Aprillenesse, marke all tweetes and poostes wyth the hashtagge #whanthataprilleday15

What ys the poynte of Whan That Aprille Daye?


See the rest there.

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LENTCAzT 42: Tuesday of Holy Week – UPDATED


UPDATED – Sorry about that!  Forgot to upload the audio! 

Today is Tuesday of Holy Week.


How long has it been?

Here is another 5 minute daily podcast for Lent.  They are intended to give you a small boost every day, a little encouragement in your own use of this holy season.

I am providing these again this year especially in gratitude to benefactors who help me and this blog.

Music today from the marvelous disk for Holy Week from St. John Cantius.

Click to buy!

You can also get a FREE copy of the CD. Learn how by clicking HERE.

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ASK FATHER: Priest’s blessings by telephone

From a reader…


I know of a priest who imparts blessings over the telephone. Is this valid?

The Holy Father has the authority to impart a blessing by means of electronic transmission. The faithful, who are unable to be present where the Holy Father imparts, for example, the “urbi et orbi” blessing, may receive the indulgence if they devotedly follow the rites through TV or radio while the rite is being performed.

Other than that, I think that imparting and receiving a priestly blessing requires some form of physical presence.

Of course there is the more casual sort of way of blessing someone, to invoke God’s favor on people.  In that case, there is no problem at all.

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ASK FATHER: Mini homilies at the beginning of Mass

From a reader…


I have a question, it seems to be very common for priests to give a sort of mini-homily at the very beginning of Mass. This has always annoyed me very much, but I have not been able to tell if it is a liturgical abuse or something that is permitted by the Novus Ordo Missal, as I understand how strange it would be for a priest to turn around and give this briefing at the foot of the altar in the Extraordinary Form.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal 50 states,

“After the greeting of the people, the Priest, or the Deacon, or a lay minister may very briefly introduce the faithful to the Mass of the day”.

That’s leaves a certain amount of latitude. The “very briefly” statement would seem to exclude any kind of a “mini-homily.” The intention of the Instruction seems to mean something along the lines of:

“Today we commemorate St. Christina the Astonishing, who was known to seek solitude by praying in a heated oven. May her devotion inspire our own.”

GIRM 50 doesn’t seem to allow for much more than that.

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ASK FATHER: Communion twice on Good Friday?

From a reader…


How do you think one should understand CIC c.917 with regard to the Good Friday presanctified liturgy? Specifically, since this liturgy takes the place of Mass for the day, and c.917 says, “iterum . . . intra eucharisticam celebrationem,” rather than, “iterum . . . intra Missam,” if one were to attend two liturgies on Good Friday, would they be permitted to receive Holy Communion at both, despite neither being a Mass?

Thank you for everything you do with this blog, and for your priesthood!

Context.  As we have seen here many times on this blog, the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church allows reception of Communion twice in one day, but the second time must be in the context of Mass (“Eucharistic celebration”).

The Good Friday rite isn’t really a “Eucharistic celebration”.  It is certainly not a Mass.  There is reception of Communion, but there is not a Eucharistic sacrifice.

So, no, you cannot receive Communion at a second Good Friday service.  However, if you are in danger of death, then you can receive Viaticum.

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Just Too Cool: Time Lapse video of decorating a church for Easter

This is pretty spiffy, from St. John Cantius in Chicago!

39 views as I post this.

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Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point made during the sermon you heard for your Palm Sunday Mass obligation?

Let us know!

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“among so many adversities”

Fr. John Hunwicke has a superb post over at his place.  He looks at today’s Collect in the Extraordinary Form.  My emphases and comments.

in tot adversis

Da quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui in tot adversis ex nostra infirmitate deficimus; intercedente unigeniti Filii tui passione respiremus.

Thus today’s ancient Collect (Grant, we beg, almighty God: that we, who among so many adversities faint on account of our weakness, may through the mediation of thy Son’s passion, get our breath back).

How extraordinarily up-to-the-moment those ancient prayers are. [Exactly.  People don’t change.  Some circumstances of life have changed over the centuries, but people are, essentially, the same. When the “reform” of the prayers of Mass was perpetrated, I think the “reformers” lost sight of this.] The Church is at this very minute under a great Satanic onslaught: she is still reeling from the wounds inflicted by the monstrous evil of pedophilia: men privileged to take the Lord into their own hands morning by morning so as to offer the immaculate oblation with the purest of hearts became … filth. [Remember the Stations of the Cross written by Joseph Ratzinger in 2005?] Demonic cunning is putting the Church’s doctrine of Marriage is under attack in some of the highest quarters of the Church. Sexual perversion is Proudly paraded before us, and woe-betide any who dissent. And, without the gates, Christians are hounded to Martyrdom by a foul and murderous superstition. Among so many adversities puts it mildly.

[NB] The new Rite retains this Collect. But [BUT!] it misses out the words in tot adversis [among so many adversities]. In the breezy and optimistic confidence of the post-conciliar years, we felt that as the Church made herself up-to-date, threw open her windows to the world, and blew her cobwebs away, old liturgical phraseology about her being besieged by afflictions was not particularly ben trovato.

Oh dear. How the chickens so carefully nurtured by the fashionable liturgists of the 1960s really are coming home to roost. One recalls the Lord’s words about the yet greater demonic infestation which can occupy the swept and garnished house.

Father is referring to the Lord’s warning in Matthew 12:

The men of Ninive shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas here. The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon here. And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none.  Then he saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.  Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation.

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