There is a translation point regarding the optional rite of washing feet (the “Mandatum” or “Command” – whence the word Maundy) on Holy Thursday.
In many places women are invited to have their feet washed.
This is against the Church’s laws which are based on divine revelation Scripture (cf. Matthew 20:28).
This rite, optional in the Novus Ordo, was reintroduced by Pope Pius XII in 1955.
Two main excuses are offered in defense of the abuse of washing the feet of women.
The first excuse concerns a false sense of service and charity: “hospitality” suggests women must be “included”. 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 stems from “inclusive” language: the English words in the ICEL Sacramentary, “men” and “man”, can’t possibly mean “males”. That would be sexist! Therefore women must be included.
On the contrary, the Latin rubrics for the foot washing rite has words viri selecti, “chosen men”.
Vir means “a male person”. The mighty Lewis & Short Dictionary say vir is "a male person, a man (opp. femina; cf. mas)."
If you have been properly informed about this, to insist that “men” (viri) means “men and women” is really to lie. Homo or plural homines might be argued to be of both sexes, but absolutely not vir.
If you have been informed that vir means only "men" and that excludes boys or youths, then you were probably misinformed.
Vir refers to a person’s sex, not his age. There are specific Latin words to indicate categories of age in males, such as puer, adolescens, iuvenis and senex.
The word vir can tempt a strict interpretation of "man" in the sense of "adult male", but that would be too strict. Also, while clearly the Apostles were men, not boys or youths, the point is that they were "male", not that they were this age or that age. The Apostles were present in the Upper Room because they were chosen by Christ to be priests. And there is only a juridical, not an ontological, limitation on the age a male can be ordained.
Also, keep in mind that the age of reason is around 7 and young people are bound to fasting and abstinence in their teens.
In any event, this whole debate has been cleared up more than once by the Holy See, especially in the 1988 document Paschales solemnitatis of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. The rubrics of the 2002 Missale Romanum retain the viri selecti.
I believe that no Conference of Bishops has ever received approval from the Holy See for a variation.
Legally, linguistically, and theologically the issue is clear.
No conference of bishops, individual bishop, or pastor has the authority to change this.
Only the Holy See can grant particular exceptions.