Of Holy Thursday and the foot-washing rite: problems – solutions

Dr. Peters at In The Light Of The Law, a blog on matters canonical, has this to day.  He doesn’t have an open combox (which I quietly envy sometimes), so we can have the foot-fight food-fight over here.

The annual Lenten foot-fight

The annual Lenten foot-fight is almost upon us. Again.

May I suggest that discussion of this matter begin with what canon and liturgical law actually say (and don’t say) about the Mandatum rite, and that serious attention be given, if not this year then next, to eliminating this ill-conceived and merely optional rite from parish liturgies altogether and instead making it a powerful part of the bishop’s Chrism Mass?

First, let it be remembered that the foot-washing thing during Holy Thursday’s Mass of the Last Supper is an OPTION.  Many problems (and violations of law and good taste and common sense) could be avoided by choosing NOT to do it.  All manner of absurdities are inflicted on God’s people because of this option.

Second, let it be remember that the Church’s legislation allows for the washing of the feet of only men.  MEN = VIRI = MEN.  Not manish women or any other critter.  Even if some claim to have received permission to wash the feet of women, and even if the claims were true, those permissions would in no way change the law for the rest of the world.  Period.  Furthermore, I have never seen a letter or a copy of a letter from the Congregation in Rome granting such a permission.  I doubt anyone else has either.

Third, the rite of washing of the feet of men harks to Christ washing the feet of the Apostles… not just the feet of anyone out there in the highways and byways.

Finally, Dr. Peters would like to see this rite moved out of the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper and into the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass.  An interesting idea.

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115 Responses to Of Holy Thursday and the foot-washing rite: problems – solutions

  1. Legisperitus says:

    I’ve probably said it before, but I think the big mistake was taking this separate ceremony and inserting it into the Mass. The big audience encourages “showing off” among those priests inclined toward “experimental liturgy.”

    Not everything has to be done during Mass.

  2. Fr AJ says:

    But Father, but Father, what if our Holy Father Francis washes women’s feet in his Holy Thursday prison Mass – does that change the law?

  3. Fr AJ says: if our Holy Father Francis washes women’s feet … does that change the law?

    Certainly not. All that would do is alter our opinion of him.

  4. Faith says:

    Holy Thursday prison Mass the Pope will wash the feet of juveniles, not men. Also, pictures that have been on the internet show him as cardinal washing the feet of women and young children. I think the cardinal was thinking of the spirit of washing the feet of the apostles, and not the law.

  5. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    Let me point out that the Missal does not specify the number of viri for the Washing of Feet. If the priest-celebrant opts to use the rite, he needn’t have 12 men—although, for the sake of the “sign value” (the men represent the Apostles), 12 is ideal.

  6. Jamin says:

    I like Dr. Peters’ suggestion!

  7. PostCatholic says:

    I take no position on the matter, but I will point that anything that was optional was omitted in the novus ordo Catholic parish where I grew up.

    How about fashion post on that snazziest of single-day vestments, the gremial veil?

  8. Lepidus says:

    The general problem with having this in the middle of Mass is that it adds nothing. Everything else in Mass has a purpose for everyone there. This tends to be a “sit around and watch and wonder how long it’s going to take”. It’s not like we are taking part / participating in a Sacrament, such as when there is a baptism, it’s basically theater.

    Actually, I wish the “only” problem we had was the washing of women’s feet. Instead (or in addition to) we have a “let us wash each other’s feet”. A couple stations are set up where it is a free for all. Anybody can run up there and have the priest wash their feet or you can wash the feet of whoever you’re with. A recommendation is actually said that this might be a good thing for parents to do to their children…while the rest of us try to say our prayers to tune out the bad music being played.

    Of course, this is the same place that will have a big jug of the Precious Blood taken to the (exposed) altar of reserve for distribution the next day, but that is a different set of liturgical laws being ignored there.

  9. Charlotte Allen says:

    Back in 2011, after watching my last mixed-sex Mandatum, I said, “Never again!” and took the No Female Foot-Washing Pledge. Holy Thursday is not a holy day of obligation. Fortunately, my parish has a Dominican priory attached, and our new pastor has devised the ingenious solution of having twelve of the friars there participate in the foot-washing. Way to go!

    One of the problems with female foot-washing, besides its being against the rules, is that you can’t very well have beautiful young women having their feet washed by the priest. That would be unseemly. So middle-aged-to-elderly ladies are always chosen, many well past the age, looks, and figure shape for displaying flesh. They never wear skirts, because you can’t exactly take off your pantyhose in front of a crowd. So they sit there in their pants that are way too informal for the very solemn Mass of Holy Thursday, looking like a garden-club meeting that’s been tele-transported to the altar. The spectacle is just awful. I never want to look at it again. If the good ladies of the parish want to complain that it’s “unfair” not to let them have their feet washed alongside those of the men, I’m for eliminating foot-washing altogether.

  10. Imrahil says:

    All that would do is alter our opinion of him.

    Would it?

    I don’t like to say it, and those who gave me the undeserved honor to read some comments of mine might know that I’m against the Pope-Francis-bashing… but the surprise would by H. H.’s complying with the norm. The probable thing is that it will be women too.

    However, dear @Faith, the juvenile thing is not the problem even legally, if I understand that rightly. “Men” does not mean “over eighteen” (or twenty-one).

  11. Charlotte Allen says:

    I would add this: Done properly, the Mandatum rite is very beautiful, and also very meaningful, for it imitates Christ’s washing his apostles’ feet at the Last Supper. The choir should be singing the beautiful chant “Mandatum novum do vobis” throughout: the words of Christ and also the words that gave Maundy Thursday its name.

  12. Giuseppe says:

    I agree with Dr. Peters that this optional rite could be inserted into the Chrism Mass without problem. However, the Chrism Mass is, itself, an absolutely glorious service. As he has noted previously, inserting it into the Chrism Mass would take the silly theatrical devices out of the hands of local parishes and keep it at a cathdedral, thus limiting its use to the Pope and Ordinaries. I do like the symbolism of the Pope, as the Servant of the Servants of God, washing feet. The Pope should celebrate such mass at his Cathdedral, or if he has not taken possession of it, at a seminary, and he should was the feet of 12 seminarians. Bishops could also wash the feet of their local seminarians or newly ordained priests.

  13. JamesM says:

    @Faith

    I believe the Holy Father has washed the feet of women – however NOT during a Mass.

    Outside of the Mass it is possible to wash the feet of anyone. The rubrics only pertain to the Mandatum ritual during the Mass.

  14. JamesM says:

    As I understand it the washing of female feet isn’t the only problem.

    From threads on discussion fora etc I believe it is not uncommon in the US to have members of the faithful wash each others feet. I have read tales of multiple “stations” being setup.

  15. Fr Jackson says:

    The good doctor of canon law has better canonical analyses than suggestions for liturgical change.

  16. Jon says:

    All that would do is alter our opinion of him.

    Or perhaps confirm it.

  17. Phillip says:

    At the Novus Ordo parish where I first started attending Mass, “multiple stations” with the faithful washing everyone’s feet was standard. I had no idea that the practice was illicit. I never had my feet washed at those Masses. I felt too self-conscious, and it seemed more like an assembly line than a meaningful rite. If you want to take the beauty out of an ancient and venerable rite, have six middle-aged women do it to everyone in the congregation.

  18. mamajen says:

    He doesn’t have an open combox, but he does have a Facebook page now where sometimes a little bit of discussion occurs. :) Thank you for allowing us this platform to discuss things and learn in the process–I know it’s a lot of effort to keep things under control.

    Regarding the foot-washing…I can’t recall if I have ever actually seen it done during mass. I know that the parish I grew up in did it outside of mass. I haven’t attended Holy Thursday at my current parish, but I haven’t heard anything about volunteers for foot-washing, so maybe they don’t do it at all. I like the idea of doing it before or after mass, and inviting parishioners to watch if it’s important to them.

  19. jasoncpetty says:

    Dr. Peters’ idea is interesting, but I’d add some caution. If we are to correct the modernist mindset of liturgy as something we make or do rather than something we have received (leaving aside the broader issue of whether this can even be done credibly with the Novus Ordo), we have got to get away from the rupturist tendency to change the liturgy or laws affecting liturgy to correct our abuses of them. People not participating enough? Rather than doing liturgical catechesis, let’s abolish Latin. People not reading the Bible enough? Rather than biblical catechesis, let’s have a three-year cycle. People not fasting? Rather than sacramental catechesis, let’s do away with the fast or reduce it.

    So exercising the option to do or not do the mandatum, fine; but let’s not “move it” to the chrism Mass just because that’s easier than teaching people about women’s ordination (which is what all the grar seems ultimately to be about, right?).

    If modern people aren’t getting that the rite’s symbolism is purely evocative of ordination or apostolic succession (and that exclusivity of meaning is not at all clear historically–there is a broader expression of humility and charity there as well) and, thus, ought not to involve women, then, for God’s sake, just teach or legislate that theological or sacramental reality clearly and definitively, stating once and for all that, while the rite does convey the clerical footwasher’s humility or charity, its greater significance is its relation to ordination—thus, men only. Then we will have conformed the “spirit” of the law to the existing, abused liturgical law of viri selecti and not be accused of mere rubricism or legalism when we complain to Fr. Lavipode McSmoochyfoot after he hauls the folk-choir grannies up there to show how humble he is.

    And, importantly, we will not have changed, for the umpteenth time in 50 years, the Holy Week rites in an effort to make them more “meaningful” or didactic. Just because it has the benefit of law behind it doesn’t take such liturgical meddling out of the “perpetual workshop” realm we daily deplore on the ‘blogs.

  20. Jon says:

    And in case anyone is wondering where all this is headed, Pope Francis’ chief supporter in the Conclave has an idea.

    Painted toe-nails in the door, anyone?

    From America Magazine:
    A diaconate for women should be considered as a new role for women in the church. Cardinal Walter Kasper made this proposal during a study day discussing how to involve more women in church life, convened as part of the spring assembly of the German Bishops Conference in the city of Trier, in western Germany, on Feb. 21. Kasper spoke of a “deaconess” role that would be different from the classic deacon but could include pastoral, charitable, catechetical and special liturgical functions. The deaconess would not be designated through the sacrament of orders, but by a blessing. Many women already perform the functions of a deacon, he argued, so as a practical matter the possibility cannot be ignored. Cardinal Kasper noted that the female diaconate was foreseen in the church in the third and fourth centuries. Regarding the ordination of women, however, the cardinal said, “I do not think you could change anything in the fact that women cannot be ordained priests; it is the unbroken tradition of the Eastern Church as well as the West.

  21. jasoncpetty says:

    (Or, what Fr. Jackson said in one sentence.)

  22. Magash says:

    The Casal de Marmo Juvenile center has both male and female residents. I would be shocked if the Pope does not wash the feet of both male and female members of the center. I tend to agree with Dr. Peters on this point, which is to say that while the law is the law, both Rome’s enforcement and clarification of the law have been spotty, and the justification of limiting the scope of the act to men has not been well articulated.
    Fr. Z’s interpretation of the reasons for the limitation are well thought out and articulated. Unfortunately while Pope Benedict seemed to support this interpretation with his actions, he failed to support this interpretation with a clear and unambiguous document that would have both required the bishops of the world to revise the actual practice of the ceremony and limited his successor’s ability to simply ignore the law.
    In the long run I tend to agree with Dr. Peters, as I said above. It is much more important for the Pope to unambiguously either modify the law, if he intends to allow the washing of women’s feet or enforce it if he doesn’t. I am much more concerned with the law being ignored than I am with which way it should go.

  23. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    mamajen: Shhhhh!!! if it gets to be a chore, I’ll shut it down. Life is too short, etc. Blessed Triduum.

  24. nanetteclaret says:

    Regarding Pope Francis’ washing of women’s and children’s feet, as I said before on the other thread, if the Supreme Pontiff cannot even follow the established directives and norms – without changing them first – he will have no moral authority to tell anyone else what to do. He will be unable to effect any reforms. Why would anyone take anything he says seriously? His actions will translate into that famous hippy-dippy anarchist saying, “So what? Rules are made to be broken.”

  25. acardnal says:

    I fully support Fr. Z’s position on feet washing.

    In the parish I attended when I lived in the diocese of Arlington, Virginia, the pastor washed the feet of MEN from the local Knights of Columbus Council. Great idea! Lot’s of men available there.

    In my current diocese, I suspect but cannot confirm that if the pastor does not want to wash the feet of males only, then do not wash anyone’s feet!

    I am very interested to learn what Pope Francis will do.

  26. acardnal says:

    Above should read, “In my current diocese, I suspect but cannot confirm that if the pastor does not want to wash the feet of males only, then do not wash anyone’s feet per the bishop’s direction.”

  27. Magash says:

    Ah, if only his brother in southern Virginia was so clear.

  28. acardnal says:

    http://www.news.va has an article about the Mass the Pope will celebrate at the juvenile prison. It will NOT be broadcast live.

    http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-mass-of-the-lords-supper-to-be-simple-no-live

    “Around 10 girls and 40 boys will take part in the Mass. The Pope will wash the feet of 12 of them, who will be chosen from different nationalities and diverse religious confessions. The youth will also say the readings and the prayers of the faithful.”

  29. mamajen says:

    @Dr. Peters

    Hehe…sorry! I’m sure it will be fine. It’s a nice way to keep up with your latest postings. Blessed Triduum to you as well, and thank you for all you do.

  30. ppb says:

    While I understand that the Mandatum ceremony used to be a separate rite and was only placed within the Maundy Thursday Mass fairly recently, I would have to disagree with moving it back out or discouraging its use in parishes. When done properly, the washing of the feet is a deeply moving ceremony for everyone, and it does make perfect sense to have it within the context of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Do appropriate catechesis and correct the abuses, yes; but keep the rite where it is!

  31. Christine says:

    Lepidus said, “… A recommendation is actually said that this might be a good thing for parents to do to their children…”

    What, wiping their backsides isn’t enough? ;-)

  32. acardnal says:

    Magash, I no longer live in the Arlington diocese.

  33. THREEHEARTS says:

    it is an ambrosian rite not latin per se. The limits given by this rite makes interesting reading.

  34. TheMother says:

    Our parish has only altar boys, and so at the Holy Thursday mass, the pastor washes the feet of the 12 youngest altar boys. Eventually one lives long enough to see one’s son move from having his feet washed to holding the towels and basin for the pastor. :-)

  35. gretta says:

    @nanetteclaret
    Except that it is the pope that makes the rules. If he wants to change the rule from men to both men and women, he can do it tomorrow. He promulgates canon law, he makes liturgical law. He isn’t breaking rules if he is intent on changing them – he is the supreme legislator. [The mere fact that a Pope does something doesn’t mean that is is, by that act, changing the law. The law has to be duly written and promulgated in the proper way.]

  36. AReluctantSinner says:

    It seems that Pope Francis will wash the feet of girls and at least one Muslim during the Mass for the Lord’s Supper on Thursday evening in the juvenile prison.

    http://visnews-en.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/pope-francis-wants-in-coena-domini-mass.html

    The Vatican mentions that youths from “different nationalities and diverse religious confessions” will have their feet washed. As Muslims form the largest religious movement in Europe after Christianity, I am sure that at least one of the youths will be a Muslim. A media black-out is to be imposed — so we may never know.

    Personally, I have heard lots of people voice concerns about the messages the new Pope is sending out to his flock. I was talking to a traumatized victim of crime the other day, she was especially upset that the Holy Father seems more concerned about serving / washing the feet of ‘thugs’ than he is about the victims of crime. Of course, our faith teaches us not to judge and is concerned with helping sinners (which we all are) repent and live in a relationship of grace with God, but I also understand why the victim of crime I was talking with was so upset.

    Now that it seems the Pope is also going to wash the feet of non-Christians, and probably a Muslim (if not more than one), then I wonder how those poor Christians who are currently being persecuted, oppressed and slaughtered in the name of ‘Islam’ will feel? What message is Pope Francis sending out?

    I hope and pray that, one day, the Pope will be able to visit a persecuted Christian community in the Middle East, North Africa, South East Asia, or wherever, and wash the feet of those little brothers of Christ who have to ‘dialogue with (a particular brand of) Islam’ on a daily basis. I also hope that he will find it in his heart one day to visit those people whose lives have been destroyed by the actions of those whose feet he is about to kiss on Thursday.

  37. frjim4321 says:

    To the commenter who said that by washing the feet of women Pope Francis would “undermine his moral authority” my question would be, with whom? It seems to be very much a relative matter. To what extent has the moral authority of the papacy diminished in recent years not so much by the sexual abuse crisis but by the sheltering of priest abusers AND bishop enablers. I suspect that this pope, precisely because of some of the symbolic acts he has done including washing the feet of women, will on balance go a long way toward restoring moral authority and not the opposite.

  38. idelsan says:

    If he washes the feet of women, I assure you I will have problems next year. “But Father, the Pope does it”. What do you reply to that?

  39. Imrahil says:

    That the law has to be promulgated in the proper way is true in the legal sense. But I’m not so sure about how far that goes in conscience.

    Remember it’s Italy.

    And if we stumble over an association that, perhaps, a certain laxity with positive law is all-in-all a sign of Catholic nations… maybe that is telling something.

    In Bavaria, smoking was forbidden in bars until 2009. All complied (or used the evasions explicitly tolerated by the law) until 2008. Then the new parliament was elected; and the new government wrote it into its coalition treaty that the ban was to be abolished.

    Do you think anyone cared for the law in the meantime between this day and the actual date the legislative process was fulfulled?

    [Another year later, our highly “liberal” fellowcountrymen enacted a much more total ban via popular suffrage, mainly because people stayed at home; but this is another story.]

  40. gretta says:

    Sorry Fr. Z, I should have been more clear. You are correct, his action do not change the law. He would have to change the law formally for it to have legal effect. So whatever he does on Holy Thursday would not have the effect of changing the law, though it might be an insight into what he thinks about the current one (but that would be all it would do).

  41. Magash says:

    The easiest answer then being, “The washing of the feet is an optional right, and since it tends to extend an already long Mass for pastoral reasons I have decided to omit it so that parents can get their children home sooner.” Now let the liberal complain.

  42. vox borealis says:

    [The mere fact that a Pope does something doesn’t mean that is is, by that act, changing the law. The law has to be duly written and promulgated in the proper way.]

    I am interested in this question. A spirited discussion broke out on Mark Shea’s blog some days ago where, if I understood the blog host’s position (supported by several commenters): if the pope does it, it’s OK because he’s the pope; that is to say, the pope is not bound by canon law (or liturgical rubrics); and moreover, so what if he “breaks the rules” because no one can call him on it anyway. Afte this Shea made some disparaging remarks about the “jots and tittles” of Canon Law, but that is neither here nor there.

    I am truly interested if that sentiment is correct, or if in fact the Pope is himself subject to the laws that he promulgates. I would love for someone actually qualified. like Ed Peters, to weigh in on the issue. And this does not merely refer to the Mandatum rite, but any canonical law or rubrical rule. Can the pope, for example, change the order of the mass as he sees fit on the spur of the moment? Or must he promulgate some official document? Or does he just need to give his MC a heads up? wetc.

  43. BLB Oregon says:

    Have the foot washing at the Chrism Mass, the bishop washing the feet of the priests, and not in the parishes at all?

    Wow. Yes. Perfect. And put it on the news….

  44. nanetteclaret says:

    frjim4321 –

    Your key giveaway word is “relative,” which is not based in reality. Because Christ is the Truth, there is no “relative” right or wrong – right for some but not for others. Those who cannot understand that the laws of the Church are supposed to be followed by EVERYONE, including the Pope, have no concept of what the laws are there for. Hint, it is to prevent chaos! If the Pope wants to do something different, he has to change the law first, as Fr. Z explained above. How can the Pope tell someone else he has to follow the rules, when he himself doesn’t? This is what I mean by having no moral authority. Disobeying the laws of the Church, as currently written, will absolutely not help establish his moral authority, no matter how much somone may like what he does or think that the reasons he does it are good. Moral authority is absolute: that is, right is right and wrong is wrong and pretending otherwise is just “wishful thinking.” It has no basis in reality.

  45. Giuseppe says:

    BLB Oregon, what if the bishop washed the feet of 4 altar boys, 4 seminarians, and 4 priests? That would be impressive. I like the idea of the Mandatum at the Chrism Mass and having only bishops doing it.

  46. robtbrown says:

    Jon says:
    From America Magazine:
    A diaconate for women should be considered as a new role for women in the church. Cardinal Walter Kasper made this proposal during a study day discussing how to involve more women in church life, convened as part of the spring assembly of the German Bishops Conference in the city of Trier, in western Germany, on Feb. 21.

    I doubt he happened to mention anything about the drop off in priests in Germany. In Rottenberg, the diocese he ran from 1989 to 1999, the number of diocesan priests went from 1051 (1990) to 912 (2010), religious priests in the diocese from 350 to 187.

  47. robtbrown says:

    Frjim4321 says:

    To the commenter who said that by washing the feet of women Pope Francis would “undermine his moral authority” my question would be, with whom? It seems to be very much a relative matter. To what extent has the moral authority of the papacy diminished in recent years not so much by the sexual abuse crisis but by the sheltering of priest abusers AND bishop enablers.

    I completely agree with you.

    I suspect that this pope, precisely because of some of the symbolic acts he has done including washing the feet of women, will on balance go a long way toward restoring moral authority and not the opposite.

    How would washing the feet of women restore moral authority?

  48. acardnal says:

    Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles who were male. He did this to emphasize he expected them to serve not to be served. I suspect women were present but there is no record he washed their feet. One can surmise that His holy mother, the Immaculate Conception, even handed Jesus the water and towels!

  49. Pax--tecum says:

    “Around 10 girls and 40 boys will take part in the Mass. The Pope will wash the feet of 12 of them, who will be chosen from different nationalities and diverse religious confessions. The youth will also say the readings and the prayers of the faithful.”

    source: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-mass-of-the-lords-supper-to-be-simple-no-live

    Does this mean the Pope will wash the feet of (at least 2) girls? That’s at least what I think after reading this. Really confusing!

  50. Pax--tecum says:

    Excuse me! I should have read it better. There are 10 girls and 40 boys involved. That means it is possible that the Pope will wash only the feet of 12 boys.

  51. Eugene says:

    I used to always dread going to Holy Thursday Mass where our former pastor used to have stations set up around the Church and have people was each others feet…I never got this..it usually turned into a time of chatter and jokes..thankfully our new pastor has discontinued this BUT does include women having their feet washed…oh how I long for the days of my youth when the rubrics are followed and only 12 men were chosen…where are our Bishops?

  52. Eugene says:

    also meant to add that I have read in another blog that Pope’s mass in the prison will not be televised..so we will not be a party to what he does with this ritual

  53. MattnSue says:

    idelsan: If he washes the feet of women, I assure you I will have problems next year. “But Father, the Pope does it”. What do you reply to that?

    We don’t have to wait until next year. As my Parochioal administrator ( I can not wait until the actual pastor returns to my parish, please pray for this to occur swiftly, if you could please, readers) said at mass this past Sunday (his quote, my emphasis) “The old way was that only men could have their feet washed. But I have seen photos online of our Holy Father washing women’s feet in years past, so if it’s good enough for the pope, it’s good enough for this parish” (If only he could have used this logic for so many other issues during Benedict’s reign). He then proceded to say how great it would be if we had mothers and sons, or fathers and daughters, up there getting their feet washed, and said it was important to him that we include both sexes (see how he immediately equates a made up “allowed” with a de fact “required”).

    And people wonder why I will be going to an oratory instead of my home parish on Holy Thursday.

  54. mark says:

    Jesus washed his disciples’ feet in order to give them (and also us) an example of love and service. Don’t worry about Pope Francis. He will know what to do when he meets the youngsters in prison, male and female.

  55. Scarltherr says:

    I got roped into having my feet washed once by a liberal ‘pastoral minister’ and I have been sorry I participat4ed ever since. I couldn’t wear a skirt on the altar because the weather was snowy and I needed socks. I wore pants, and socks that could be easily removed. I was glad to have my son and husband up there, but I made a point of not wearing nail polish on my toes. I wept for the wrongness of it all. Please remember that the women who participate may not really want to be there. I said no three times, but this ‘minister’ called on Thursday evening and told me she had no replacements for my family, and needed the three of us. I’m rambling and making excuses. I was so bothered by participating…

  56. catholicmidwest says:

    The annual lenten foot-fight. ROFLOL. This should be one of my favorite masses throughout the Church year, but instead it’s one of my least favorites. Sigh. When I go, and I often don’t, I ignore the foot-washing part and just sit quietly until normal things resume again. I know what it’s supposed to signify. It’s just that in peoples’ heads I’m not sure it actually does. In fact, I think it’s being misconstrued a good part of the time. Sigh. I know it’s officially optional; I wish more people regarded it as optional they way it is.

  57. Veronica says:

    ” I was talking to a traumatized victim of crime the other day, she was especially upset that the Holy Father seems more concerned about serving / washing the feet of ‘thugs’ than he is about the victims of crime.”

    My heart goes to this person, because I have also being a victim of crime. I was waiting for my sister in the car when a pair of armed robbers came and took my car. I’m grateful to God that they did not decide to take me with them, they just wanted my car. However, I don’t feel that the Pope is acting wrong by going to the juvenile detention center.

    Jesus said ” I was in prison, and you came to me” (Mt 25:36). He was not just speaking of the innocent people wrongly sent to jail. Jesus was also criticized for eating and drinking with sinners (Mk 2:16), and His response was “They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. For I came not to call the just, but sinners” (Mk 2:17). Even Blessed JPII visited Ali Agca in prisson and forgave him for trying to kill him! Why would Pope Francis be different? I know it is hard, specially when “thugs” are involved, but we must help Christ in saving souls, and I see that Pope Francis is following the example of the Lord, going where the hopeless and the sinners are and extend to them the message of forgiveness and mercy.

    Let us pray for all the men and women working in prison ministries that day by day witness “sinners” find repentance and forgiveness when they encounter the loving and merciful heart of the Lord.

  58. McCall1981 says:

    The article that Pax–tecum posted is sort of strangely worded. It goes out of it’s way to mention the diverse ethnicities and religious confessions of the kids that will have their feet washed by the Pope, but doesn’t mention gender. Going with the sentence before it seems like it would have been easier to say “will wash the feet of twelve boys and girls of different nationalities” etc” (if that is going to be the case). Wonder why?

  59. McCall1981 says:

    Its like they went out of their way to NOT answer the question.

  60. catholicmidwest says:

    Perhaps they’re trying to stimulate us to obtain another kind of take-away from this, other than our usual one?

  61. VexillaRegis says:

    IMHO the Church should do away with the foot washing. The gesture has lost its meaning as we do not have our feet washed anymore when we enter a home as guests. Most people never have their feet washed by anyone else! This tradition only causes problems: feet today are somewhat sexualized, and in the light of the terrible homosexualist-pedophile scandal, I must say I have mixed feelings even when the priest washes male feet.

  62. catholicmidwest says:

    VexillaRegis,
    Well, yes, I agree.

    I used to be a high school science teacher and along about my third year of teaching, something amazing dawned on me. Watching my students as I was doing the science demonstrations, I realized that the “takeaways” that they were getting from the activity weren’t the ones I thought they were getting. Some of them thought they were being entertained, pure and simple; some of them didn’t realize what was going on and thought I was just showing off or something; some of them thought “oh goodie,” less homework because we’re covering less material today; some of them just thought, “Oh I hope it blows up!” ROFLOL. I actually don’t know how I missed it til the 3rd year, in retrospect. At least some kid always says, “Oh I hope it blows up” and I’d listened to that for 2 years already before this hit me.

    After that, I still did demos, but I was very explicit about what I was doing and what I expected them to get out of it. Otherwise all kinds of things happen with people. You should have heard the howls when the demos appeared on the quizzes! There is a point to demonstrations and examples. People need to be aware of that, and if you’re planning the examples (aka setting up the material situations for the liturgy), you have to be aware of what things look like, and also aware of what people are walking away with.

  63. magister63 says:

    I just read that Pope Francis is rejecting the papal apartment and moving into the Vatican hotel.
    Kyrie eleison!

  64. maybe?we wont get to watch/see what happened, i guess Pope Francis is aware of the Liturgical confusion it will cause, as well as too much media focus on the act.
    /No media coverage for Pope’s Holy Thursday Mass/
    “Pope Francis has indicated that he wants the Holy Thursday Mass that he will celebrate at a juvenile detention center in Rome to be a quiet, simple celebration. The media(including Vatican TV?) will not be invited.

    The Pope will concelebrate the ‘Mass of the Lord’s Supper’ at the Casal del Marmo center with Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the vicar general of the Rome diocese, and Father Gaetano Greco, the chaplain of the detention center. The congregation will be made up of 50 youthful offenders, 40 boys and 10 girls. After the Mass the Pope will meet with the young residents and the personnel of the center. “

  65. PS. looking at CTV, vatican TV schedule, it will NOT be televised.

  66. scholastica says:

    I am very disappointed that the Pope’s Holy Thursday mass, one of the most solemn of the year will be simple and private. It doesn’t seem fitting. Isn’t this the mass when the priests should be especially embraced by their Bishop and Pope as their anniversary of sorts?
    Regarding our diocese, last year we received notice that only men were to have their feet washed. I was stunned and amazed (and thrilled). Then this year we received this notice from our Director of Worship:

    “The Washing of the Feet (Mandatum) is an act of humility and service which inspires the community to do the same. It is not an historical reenactment of the Last Supper. The number of people need not be limited to twelve, and the feet of both men and women may be washed. (CIRCULAR LETTER, 51; USCCB BCL Newsletter, Feb. 1987, Rev. 2007.) http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/triduum/holy-thursday-mandatum.cfm
    As Director of the Office of Worship, I had a conversation earlier this year with Msgr. Richard B. Hilgartner, the Executive Director of the Office of Divine Worship of the USCCB, confirming that the circular letter of February 1987, Rev. 2007 is still binding.”

    Now, I’m just confused.

  67. Marcello says:

    Rather than being over, the carnival is just beginning!

  68. jhayes says:

    IMHO the Church should do away with the foot washing. The gesture has lost its meaning as we do not have our feet washed anymore when we enter a home as guests.

    It wasn’t a custom in Jesus’ time either. That was so remarkable about it when he did it. It wasn’t a custom for anyone, let alone the host, to wash the feet of guests.

    “In biblical times it was prescribed that the host of a banquet was to provide water (and a basin) so that his guests could wash their hands before sitting down to table. Although a host might also provide water for travelers to wash their own feet before entering the house, the host himself would not wash the feet of his guests. According to the Talmud the washing of feet was forbidden to any Jew except those in slavery.

    In the controversies between Hillel and Shammai (cf. Shabbat 14a-b) Shammai ruled that guests were to wash their hands to correct “tumat yadayim” or “impurity of hands” (cf. Ex 30, 17 and Lv 15, 11). Priests were always to wash their hands before eating consecrated meals. The Pharisees held that all meals were in a certain sense “consecrated” because of table fellowship.

    Jesus’ action of washing the feet of his disciples was unusual for his gesture went beyond the required laws of hospitality (washing of hands) to what was, in appearance, a menial task. The Lord’s action was probably unrelated to matters of ritual purity according to the Law.”

    http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/triduum/holy-thursday-mandatum.cfm

  69. jhayes says:

    I am very disappointed that the Pope’s Holy Thursday mass, one of the most solemn of the year will be simple and private. It doesn’t seem fitting. Isn’t this the mass when the priests should be especially embraced by their Bishop and Pope as their anniversary of sorts?

    That’s the Chrism Mass. It will be held in the morning at St. Peter’s.

  70. jhayes says:

    Cardinal Ortega reports on Francis speech at a preliminary meeting before the Conclave that elected him:

    “he read the full text that the future Pope gave him, in which he summarizes in four points the thoughts he wished to share with his brother cardinals and which express his personal vision of the Church in the present time.

    The first of these points is on evangelization, and he says that “the Church must come out of herself and go to the peripheries” not only in a geographic sense, but also the existential, manifested in the mystery of sin, pain, injustice and ignorance, among others.

    The second point is a criticism of the “self-referent” Church, which looks to herself in a sort of “theological narcissism,” which separates her from the world and “keeps Jesus Christ within herself and does not allow Him to go out.”

    As a consequence of this, there are two images of the Church according to point three of Cardinal Bergoglio’s address: one is the “evangelizing Church that comes out of herself” and another is “the worldly Church that lives in herself, of herself, for herself.” And this twofold consideration must “give light to the possible changes and reforms that must be made” in the Church.

    In his last point, Cardinal Bergoglio spoke to the cardinals about what he expected from the one who would be elected to lead the Church: “a man who, from contemplation of Jesus Christ … will help the Church to come out of herself toward the existential peripheries.”

    The archbishop of Havana explained in his homily that, because he agreed with that outline of the Church, he had asked Cardinal Bergoglio if he had a written text of the address, as he wished to keep it. Cardinal Bergoglio answered that he did not.

    However, Cardinal Ortega continued, the following morning, “with supreme thoughtfulness,” Cardinal Bergoglio gave him a handwritten text of his address exactly as he remembered it.

    At that time, Cardinal Ortega requested and received Cardinal Bergoglio’s authorization to share those thoughts on the Church.

    After Francis’ election, Cardinal Ortega again asked permission to share the text, and Francis again agreed.”

    http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/havana-prelate-shares-notes-from-cardinal-bergoglio-s-pre-conclave-speech

  71. jhayes says:

    Francis speech in the pre-conclave meetings

    “he read the full text that the future Pope gave him, in which he summarizes in four points the thoughts he wished to share with his brother cardinals and which express his personal vision of the Church in the present time.

    The first of these points is on evangelization, and he says that “the Church must come out of herself and go to the peripheries” not only in a geographic sense, but also the existential, manifested in the mystery of sin, pain, injustice and ignorance, among others.

    The second point is a criticism of the “self-referent” Church, which looks to herself in a sort of “theological narcissism,” which separates her from the world and “keeps Jesus Christ within herself and does not allow Him to go out.”

    As a consequence of this, there are two images of the Church according to point three of Cardinal Bergoglio’s address: one is the “evangelizing Church that comes out of herself” and another is “the worldly Church that lives in herself, of herself, for herself.” And this twofold consideration must “give light to the possible changes and reforms that must be made” in the Church.

    In his last point, Cardinal Bergoglio spoke to the cardinals about what he expected from the one who would be elected to lead the Church: “a man who, from contemplation of Jesus Christ … will help the Church to come out of herself toward the existential peripheries.”

    The archbishop of Havana explained in his homily that, because he agreed with that outline of the Church, he had asked Cardinal Bergoglio if he had a written text of the address, as he wished to keep it. Cardinal Bergoglio answered that he did not.

    However, Cardinal Ortega continued, the following morning, “with supreme thoughtfulness,” Cardinal Bergoglio gave him a handwritten text of his address exactly as he remembered it.

    At that time, Cardinal Ortega requested and received Cardinal Bergoglio’s authorization to share those thoughts on the Church.

    After Francis’ election, Cardinal Ortega again asked permission to share the text, and Francis again agreed.”

  72. frjim4321 says:

    “How would washing the feet of women restore moral authority?” – RB

    I don’t really know if I can articulate the dynamic by which this works, but populism seems to touch a large demographic in a positive way. I think a demonstrably huge number of people will see this pope as a “pope of the people,” and even though that is a tacky expression it gets to something of the truth; a very, very large proportion of Catholics seem to sense a connection to Francis that they have not felt for many, many years (if ever).

  73. mightyduk says:

    AReluctantSinner says:
    26 March 2013 at 10:29 am
    It seems that Pope Francis will wash the feet of girls and at least one Muslim during the Mass for the Lord’s Supper on Thursday evening in the juvenile prison.

    It’s my prediction, that if he tries to wash the feet of a mohammedan girl, then they will issue a fatwa against the Holy Father and try to assassinate him or just blow up the Vatican. Thousands of Christians will be persecuted and probably not a few murdered for this folly.

    Good grief… Christ took water from the Samaritan woman, he did not wash her feet, nor any other non-Catholic, or any Catholic who was not in line for Holy Orders.

  74. jhayes says:

    Good grief… Christ took water from the Samaritan woman, he did not wash her feet, nor any other non-Catholic, or any Catholic who was not in line for Holy Orders.

    No Catholics involved. Jesus was a Jew.

    9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

    John 4:9

  75. mightyduk says:

    jhayes,

    I’m not sure when precisely, Christ established the Catholic Church, but certainly not later than Matthew 16:18. That would mean all of the apostles at the last supper where in fact Catholic messianic Jews, and about to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders. They certainly were not mohammedans, since his religion was invented hundreds of years later.

    [18] And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [19] And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

    Matthew 16:18-19

  76. oldcanon2257 says:

    frjim4321 says:
    26 March 2013 at 8:28 pm

    I don’t really know if I can articulate the dynamic by which this works, but populism seems to touch a large demographic in a positive way. I think a demonstrably huge number of people will see this pope as a “pope of the people,” and even though that is a tacky expression it gets to something of the truth; a very, very large proportion of Catholics seem to sense a connection to Francis that they have not felt for many, many years (if ever).

    Since this is the Holy Week, sometime ~2000 years ago, didn’t the people also quickly change from “Hosanna” to “Crucify him!” within a couple days?

  77. jhayes says:

    That would mean all of the apostles at the last supper where in fact Catholic messianic Jews, and about to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders

    I’m not sure where you are trying to go with that, but I don’t know of any biblical scholar who describes the Apostles at the time of the last supper as “Catholic messianic Jews” That gets into issues we could discuss for a long time but, since it doesn’t appear to me to have any connection with the current question of foot-washing, I’ll pass.

    If you

  78. mightyduk says:

    Jhayes,

    Well you’re the one who made a deal out of it… But are you arguing Peter and the other apostles never became Catholic, or that they didn’t do so until some time later? Are you arguing they weren’t messianic jews? Are you saying the Catholic Church didn’t exist until later? I really don’t follow your argument, other than you’ve never heard them referred to as Catholics by a ‘biblical scholar’

    The trouble you’re having perhaps is that The term Catholic wasn’t usually used to describe any Christians until Protestantism? But that certainly doesn’t mean all the bishops and popes prior to that weren’t Catholic… Including the first batch that received RCIA from The Lord Himself.

  79. mightyduk says:

    Jhayes,

    Well you’re the one who made a deal out of it… My point was Christ didn’t use the gesture of foot washing as a form of interreligious dialogue with unbelievers.

    Curious though, are you arguing Peter and the other apostles never became Catholic, or that they didn’t do so until some time later? Are you arguing they weren’t messianic jews? Are you saying the Catholic Church didn’t exist until later? I really don’t follow your argument, other than you’ve never heard them referred to as Catholics by a ‘biblical scholar’

    The trouble you’re having perhaps is that the term Catholic wasn’t usually used to describe any Christians until Protestantism? But that certainly doesn’t mean all the bishops and popes prior to that weren’t Catholic… Including the first batch that received RCIA from The Lord Himself.

  80. Lori Pieper says:

    Thanks, jhayes, for the notice. I make a quick translation of the whole talk by Card. Bergoglio on my blog. Here’s the link:

    http://subcreators.com/blog/2013/03/26/all-shook-up/

    There’s also a link to the original Spanish text.

    We may have to start calling him Hurricane Francis. . .

  81. Lori Pieper says:

    I wouldn’t vouch 100% for my accuracy in Spanish, especially with the time crunch. I’ll be on the lookout for other translations.

  82. Pingback: The Virtue of Fidelity - Big Pulpit

  83. daughter of poor gemma says:

    According to the parish secretary, I have the distinction of being the only person to ever decline the offer to have their feet washed during this ceremony, the year I entered into the Church. I’m glad she didn’t ask me why I declined, though, since after getting to know her I’m reasonably sure she would have been offended by my answer: because I’m not a man, and it would be inappropriate.

    That year, the priest didn’t wash anyone’s feet. 5 or 6 pairs of people representing groups (the old, the young, the disabled, the “seekers”, etc.) read a short… thing… and then washed each other’s feet. The year before that, they’d had the EMHCs holding bowls of water, and we were all supposed to come up, dip our hands in the water, have our hands dried by the person in front of us, and then turn around and dry the hands of the person behind us.

    This year we actually have one priest under the age of 65 (on temporary loan, but he is more orthodox than the other two, all praises be), and he will be washing the feet of 12 people. I’d heard initially that he would use only men, but I suspect he might have been coerced into something different. I suppose I’ll see on Thursday.

  84. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:
    “How would washing the feet of women restore moral authority?” – RB

    I don’t really know if I can articulate the dynamic by which this works, but populism seems to touch a large demographic in a positive way. I think a demonstrably huge number of people will see this pope as a “pope of the people,” and even though that is a tacky expression it gets to something of the truth; a very, very large proportion of Catholics seem to sense a connection to Francis that they have not felt for many, many years (if ever).

    Actually, it existed in the early years of JPII’s papacy. Because he seemed so personable, many assumed he was a liberal. In fact, my agnostic father said: “That Polish pope is going to let priests marry.” Then the pope began addressing the contemporary doctrinal controversies, and people felt misled. If this pope ever begins to speak about doctrine, the same thing will happen.

    Which of course raises an ecclesiastical myth: Doctrinally Liberal = really good guy. Doctrinally Catholic = grumpy old man. I remember CS Lewis saying something like this: There are many whose concept of God is a grandfather who enjoys watching the young people have a good time.

  85. Daniel says:

    I’d think the primary symbol of the foot washing would be of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. While Baptism is the bathing that cleanses us of all our sins, after Baptism we pick up dirt on the journey by later sins. We do not bathe by Baptism again, but have the dust washed from our feet through Reconciliation. If that’s the case, than any baptized person’s feet might be washed, whereas the person doing the washing should be the ordained.

    If Pope Francis were to explain that this is what is being symbolized (rather than it being a symbol of ordination) and adjust the law, I’d think there should be no problem. It could be done in the same manner as was the permitting of altar girls. Despite the clear rules set up in liturgical texts and encyclicals, have someone say that “canon law” does not prohibit it.

  86. Ben Yanke says:

    Bishop Morlino always washes his seminarians feet, sometimes with potential seminarians thrown in. Works well.

  87. acardnal says:

    Ben, your feet should be there!

  88. jhayes says:

    Going back a long way in this thread to the discussion of St. John Lateran.

    “Vatican City, 27 March 2013 (VIS) – The solemn celebration of the Eucharist during which Francis will take possession of the cathedra of the Bishop of Rome will take place in the Lateran Basilica on 7 April, the Second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday, at 5:30pm.”

    http://www.vis.va/vissolr/index.php?vi=all&dl=866d9fb5-533a-6e74-65ae-5152f4277043&dl_t=text/xml&dl_a=y&ul=1&ev=1

  89. bposullivan says:

    “How would washing the feet of women restore moral authority?” – RB

    Now that we have Pope Francis’s general congregation speech, maybe we can say that washing the feet of women, and especially washing the feet of your prisoners, restores moral authority by “go[ing] out to the existential peripheries.” I think that the less inclusive the Church seems, the less catholic it seems, and the less moral authority it wields in the eyes of many. And to some people, a scarcity of women in upper leadership makes the church seems less than fully inclusive of women. Washing the feet of women isn’t, by itself, going to change that, but at least it seems like a symbolic reaffirmation of the church’s commitment to serve, love and respect women. And by prioritizing outreach to young prisoners over the letter of the law of the sacramentary, maybe the pope is putting into practice his words about rejecting “theological narcissism” in favor of outreach or love.

  90. mightyduk says:

    go[ing] out to the existential peripheries

    when has the Church NOT done this? Who provides more care to women, children, prisoners, the sick than the Catholic Church, really? Since the very founding of the Church the widows and orphans were cared for by the Church so that they wouldn’t be forced into marriages, prostitution or servitude. You don’t need to introduce liturgical novelties that cloud the essence of the priesthood to go out to the existential peripheries.

  91. bposullivan says:

    “when has the Church NOT done this?”–mightyduk

    I agree that it’s always been part of the central mission of the church. But I bet that when the Borgias, for instance, were preoccupied with orgies and power games, their constructive attention to the existential peripheraries slackened a bit. To a lesser extent, if the current curia is as riven with factionalism and pettiness as it is reputed to be, it’s probably a little distracted from charity, service and evangelism. And on a broader scale, if the gifts and leadership abilities of Catholic women aren’t fully utilized by in key roles, then some women probably feel marginalized by and peripheral to the church. If washing the feet of women signals that the Church considers them worthy of respect and called to serve, that’s probably not a bad thing. More specifically, if the pope thinks that these lost children need some encouragement and tenderness, I think he’s right to prioritize that need over a word in the sacramentary. I don’t think it is likely to “cloud the essence of the priesthood”; people will probably understand that priestly ordination is still reserved for men.

  92. JabbaPapa says:

    erm …

    Caeremoniale Episcoporum (1752)

    Cap. XXIV – 2. Sed quia circa hoc diversi sunt ritus Ecclesiarum ; alicubi enim in usu est vestire, sumptibus Episcopi vel Capituli, tredecim pauperes, eosdemque cibo et potu reficere, et mox suo tempore eisdem pedes lavare, et eleemosynam praebere

    No mention is made of the sex of these thirteen poor. [The edition of 1752? And “pauperes” would have, in their minds and in the practice of the day, included women? This is some sort of joke, right?]

  93. Tim says:

    Reported in the Italian press (La Repubblica) today: Papa Francesco laverà piedi a giovani detenuti:
    per la prima volta ci saranno anche due ragazze = Pope Francis will wash the feet of young prisoners: for the first time there will also be two girls [amongst the twelve]. He is evidently continuing the tradition he adopted in Buenos Aires. The Holy Father has my prayers, my respect and my love. As the successor of Peter he commands my obedience also but in this matter the Holy Father is wrong.

  94. The Masked Chicken says:

    Even the all-knowing-all-seeing Google gets the translation more or less correct:

    Sed quia circa hoc diversi sunt ritus Ecclesiarum ; alicubi enim in usu est vestire, sumptibus Episcopi vel Capituli, tredecim pauperes, eosdemque cibo et potu reficere, et mox suo tempore eisdem pedes lavare, et eleemosynam praebere

    Since, however, in regard to this are the ceremonies of different Churches; For in some places is to clothe in the use of, or at the expense of the Chapter of the bishop, were thirteen poor men, the same men as meat and drink, to repair them, and soon afterwards to wash the feet of the same in his own time, and to give alms

    The Chicken

  95. jhayes says:

    Francis speaks to priests at today’s Chrism Mass.

    “A good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed. This is a clear test. When our people are anointed with the oil of gladness, it is obvious: for example, when they leave Mass looking as if they have heard good news….

    We need to “go out,” then, in order to experience our own anointing, its power and its redemptive efficacy: to the “outskirts” where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters. It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord: self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live by going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gospel to others, giving what little ointment we have to those who have nothing, nothing at all.

    A priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little – I won’t say “not at all” because, thank God, our people take our oil from us anyway – misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart. Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers. We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, “has already received his reward”, and since he doesn’t put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks. This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties – instead of being shepherds living with “the smell of the sheep”, shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men.”

    http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-good-priest-can-be-recognized-in-his.html

  96. JabbaPapa says:

    [The edition of 1752? And “pauperes” would have, in their minds and in the practice of the day, included women? This is some sort of joke, right?]

    Is it a joke to point out that the instruction is not constant on this question over the centuries ?

    I don’t think so.

    I do OTOH find it rather ironic that some Traditionalists are basing their condemnation of our Holy Father’s decision on a post-Vatican II revision of the text, rather than its traditional state.

    Why is this modern revision, replacing “the poor” with “poor men” perfectly OK, whilst other revisions are not ?

    I cannot comment on particular thoughts in the minds of the readers of these texts in the 17th and 18th centuries — I can comment on the fact that the original “pauperes” does not distinguish between this poor or that …

    Galatae : {3:26} Omnes enim filii Dei estis per fidem, quæ est in Christo Iesu.
    {3:27} Quicumque enim in Christo baptizati estis, Christum induistis.
    {3:28} Non est Iudæus, neque Græcus: non est servus, neque liber: non est masculus, neque femina. Omnes enim vos unum estis in Christo Iesu.

  97. acardnal says:

    According to the Gospels, Christ washed the feet of his Apostles who were men. Women were probably there but there is no record he washed their feet. Why? Probably because He wasn’t ordaining them that evening. Moreover, His holy mother, the Immaculate Conception, who had not stain of sin, was likely there and was likely assisting her Son with towels and water. But He didn’t wash her feet either according to the Gospels.

  98. jhayes says:

    At the juvenile prison:

    “Dopo l’omelia, il Papa ha lavato i piedi a dodici giovani detenuti del carcere minorile di Casal del Marmo. Due di loro sono delle ragazze, una italiana e l’altra proveniente dall’est Europa. Il Pontefice ha indossato un grembiule realizzato dai ragazzi della Comunità di Villa San Francesco in provincia di Belluno, il cui tessuto proviene dalla Terra Santa. Il momento della lavanda dei piedi è stato estremamente commovente. Il Papa si è inginocchiato per sei volte. Ogni volta ha lavato i piedi a due dei giovani che erano vicini. Il Santo Padre ha lavato, versato l’acqua, asciugato e poi baciato uno dei piedi di ognuno dei giovani.”

    After the homily, the Pope washed the feet of twelve inmates of the Casal del Marmo youth detention center. Two of them were girls, one Italian and one from Eastern Europe. The Pope put on an apron made by the children of Villa San Francesco, Belluna from cloth that came from the Holy Land. The moment of the foot washing was very moving. The Pope knelt down six times. Each time he washed the feet of two youths sitting side by side. The Holy Father washed, rinsed, dried and then kissed one of the feet of each youth.

    Testo proveniente dalla pagina http://it.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/03/28/il_papa_a_casal_del_marmo_per_la_messa_in_coena_domini:_ges%C3%B9_insegn/it1-677777
    del sito Radio Vaticana

  99. Frank_Bearer says:

    Muslims *AND* Women – Oh my! And he kissed their feet.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/28/pope-francis-women-feet-washing

    “Two young women were among 12 people whose feet Pope Francis washed and kissed at a traditional ceremony in a Rome youth prison on Holy Thursday, the first time a pontiff has included females in the rite.

    The ceremony has been traditionally limited to men because all of Jesus’ apostles were male. The Vatican spokesman said two of the 12 whose feet were washed were Muslim inmates.”

  100. pseudomodo says:

    I think I will break with tradition this year…

    Perhaps I will redirect my Peters Pence to a more appropriate direction. Perhaps I will purchase “The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described by Adrian Fortescue” for a worthy young priest.

    THANKS FRANCIS!

  101. dropper says:

    I was so hopeful for his pontificate… It could always get better and we’ve survived worse, but wow… You know this is going to be used as justification not just for thus abuse elsewhere, but for other things. Just wow…

  102. jhayes says:

    Muslims *AND* Women – Oh my! And he kissed their feet.

    The official article from Radio Vaticana doesn’t mention Muslims. However, if the Guardian article is correct that there were two Muslims in the group, there is nothing I have seen that suggests that either of the girls was a Muslim. I would avoid any inference that they are.

  103. Jim of Bowie says:

    Just when I was beginning to warm up to this Pope. Few followed the wonderful liturgical example of Pope Benedict, but I’m afraid many will follow here. If the Supreme Pontiff can’t follow the rules how can we expect parish priests to.

  104. bposullivan says:

    After Jesus washed the apostles’ feet, he said “you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” So, isn’t the question how to interpret the phrase “one another’s”? Did he really just mean that each apostle should wash the feet of other apostles to demonstrate that they loved and served each other, within that small group? Wouldn’t it make more sense to believe that he was commissioning them to wash the feet of their fellow Christians, more broadly? It seems to me that to follow his example would mean showing their love and service, as Jesus had done, to those who followed them in the faith. And why couldn’t that include women? In other words, maybe the foot-washing at the Mass of the Last Supper isn’t a reenactment of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples; it’s a new enactment of what He said to do, which was to follow his example and share his sign of love and service with the wider world.

    Or, if liturgical ritual is a precise reenactment of Gospel, on what day does a woman anoint the priest with oil?

  105. jhayes says:

    The official article from Radio Vaticana doesn’t mention Muslims.

    A later version does mention two Muslims

    “12 detained juveniles – of whom two girls and two Muslims”

    “At the sign of peace, Pope Francis hugged and kissed again the 12 youths representing all the others. Then he personally gave Communion to all those who came forward to receive Communion.”

    “The liturgy was enlivened by songs with guitar accompaniment.”

    “Quindi Papa Francesco ha compiuto lui stesso il gesto che Gesù fece duemila anni fa: si è inginocchiato, per 6 volte, ha lavato i piedi a 12 giovani detenuti – fra cui due ragazze e un paio di musulmani – e poi li ha asciugati e baciati, rendendo così concreto e visibile quanto aveva detto prima: “quello che è il più alto, deve essere al servizio degli altri”. E facendo sì che quella commozione nel vedere Gesù che lava i piedi, si trasmettesse vibrante fra i giovani detenuti di Casal del Marmo. Per compiere il rito della lavanda dei piedi, Papa Francesco ha indossato un grembiule donato dalla comunità di “Villa san Francesco” di Facen di Pedavena, in provincia di Belluno, che ospita ragazzi con difficoltà familiari e personali. Questi giovani hanno realizzato l’indumento con filamenti provenienti dalla Terra Santa. Al momento della pace, Papa Francesco ha abbracciato e baciato nuovamente i 12 giovani rappresentanti di tutti gli altri. E dopo ha dato personalmente la comunione a tutti coloro che si sono avvicinati alla comunione. La liturgia è stata animata da canti col sottofondo della chitarra. L’animazione è stata, infatti, affidata ad un gruppo di 40 volontari dell’Associazione denominata ‘Volontari Casal Del Marmo”, che da anni lavorano nel carcere. Insieme con loro, anche i membri del Rinnovamento nello Spirito che animano la liturgia domenicale. A concelebrare con il Santo Padre il cardinale vicario Agostino Vallini, il Sostituto per gli Affari generali della Segreteria di Stato, mons. Angelo Becciu, il segretario del Papa mons. Alfred Xuereb, padre Gaetano Greco, cappellano del carcere e un suo confratello. Nel suo ministero come arcivescovo di Buenos Aires, il cardinale Bergoglio usava celebrare la Messa in Coena Domini in un carcere, in un ospedale o in un ospizio per poveri o persone emarginate. Con la celebrazione a Casal del Marmo il Papa Francesco ha dunque voluto continuare quest’uso, caratterizzato da un contesto di semplicità.

    Testo proveniente dalla pagina http://it.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/03/28/con_la_lavanda_dei_piedi_ges%C3%B9_ci_invita_a_lavarci_i_piedi_gli_un/it1-677858
    del sito Radio Vaticana

  106. rdschreiner says:

    It makes me sad to even bring it up, but Pope Francis doesn’t seem to have major difficulty kneeling to wash the feet of the prisoners, but seems to have significant issues with genuflecting to our Lord in the Eucharist.

  107. gretta says:

    rdschreiner, it may not be that he has problems with kneeling, it may be that he has problems either getting down or getting up!

  108. Imrahil says:

    Women were probably there but there is no record he washed their feet.

    I think Our Lord was in the upper chamber with the Apostles alone. After all, priesthood is deduced from the words, “Do this in memory of Me”, spoken there.

    That said, Mohammedans are more problematic than are women.

  109. chantgirl says:

    So, do I give up my nudging of a certain priest to only wash the feet of men? Now that the Pope has done it as Pope, I’m not sure I have any legs underneath me. O Lord, some continuity, some stability please!

  110. rdschreiner says:

    Gretta,

    I would like to think you are correct and my impression in the beginning was that this could be a physical issue, but I am starting to suspect that the profound bows are Pope Francis’ personal preference for adoration of our Lord in the Eucharist versus genuflections. It seems totally consistent with the first two weeks of his papacy. I reviewed the videos of him kneeling with Pope Benedict and at St. Mary Major and it is not apparent whether he needs assistance or not.

  111. jhayes says:

    Did he really just mean that each apostle should wash the feet of other apostles to demonstrate that they loved and served each other, within that small group? Wouldn’t it make more sense to believe that he was commissioning them to wash the feet of their fellow Christians, more broadly?

    Yes. See :

    Although foot washing traditions – in cathedrals, in monasteries, etc. – have a long history, the rubric for washing feet in the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper dates from the 1955 revision of the Holy Week rites, undertaken under Pius XII. Peter Jeffrey details the origins of this rite in his book, A New Commandment: Toward a Renewed Rite for the Washing of Feet (Collegeville: Order of St. Benedict, 1985). He concludes that the practice on Holy Thursday today ought to be taken as one of charity, and that it belongs to the greater living tradition of foot washing in the Church — a tradition which includes women.

    Pope Francis would seem to agree.

    http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/

  112. plaf26 says:

    It’s been hinted at in some of the comments, but would it be instructive to know precisely: (1) how is the Mandatum done in the 1962 Missal, or put another way, how would the FSSP do it; (2) how was it done before the 1955 reform?

  113. jhayes says:

    It’s been hinted at in some of the comments, but would it be instructive to know precisely: (1) how is the Mandatum done in the 1962 Missal, or put another way, how would the FSSP do it; (2) how was it done before the 1955 reform?

    “In the pre-1955 ritual, the Washing of the Feet, commonly known as the “Mandatum”, from the first word of the first antiphon sung during the washing, is done as a separate service from the Mass. After the stripping of the Altar is complete, and generally after a break of some hours, the clergy and servers go in procession to a place set aside for the Mandatum. (The service was often done immediately after Vespers, but it was not obligatory for the Vespers to precede.) If there is no other place where the Mandatum may be conveniently done, it may be done before the main altar of the church, but this is not the ideal practice.

    The Gospel of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is repeated, with all of the ceremonies normally observed at a Solemn Mass. After this, the priest washes the feet of 12 men, wearing an apron as Our Lord Himself did at the Last Supper. As he comes before each of the twelve, the priests genuflects before him, in imitation of our Lord’s humility. The subdeacon kneels to hold up the foot of each of the 12 men as the priest washes it, and the deacon proffers a towel with which to dry it, after which the priest kisses it.

    The Missal and Gradual have 9 antiphons to be sung during the washing of the feet, which are certainly to be ranked among the most beautiful pieces in the entire Gregorian repertoire. Of these nine, the first six are taken from the 13th chapter of Saint John’s Gospel, the seventh from the end of the 13th chapter of First Corinthians, Saint Paul ’s “Hymn to Love”. The eighth is the identical in text, but not in music, to the Introit of the feast of the Holy Trinity, and has a different versicle accompanying it; the last of these nine is the famous “Ubi caritas.”

    When the washing of the feet is done, the celebrant sings the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer aloud, and says the rest silently up to the verse “Et ne nos inducas in tentationem,” the choir responding “Sed libera nos a malo”, as is frequently done in the Roman Rite. There follow two versicles with their responses, and a collect.

    Synopsis of the Pius XII Reforms

    In the Holy Week reforms of 1955, the Mandatum was modified as follows.

    It is permitted, but not required, to insert the Washing of the Feet into the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, immediately after the Gospel (and Homily, if there is one.) A new rubric specifies that as many of the antiphons as are needed for the length of the service may be sung, but “Ubi caritas” may never be omitted. The eighth of the nine antiphons in the Missal of St. Pius V is suppressed. The rubric no longer says that the priest kisses the feet after washing them.

    Since the Mandatum may still be done outside the Mass, another new rubric specifies that in such case, the Gospel of the Mass is to be repeated at the beginning, as in the Missal of St. Pius V.

    In the Missal of 1961, a further slight alteration was made to this rite, namely, that the collect at the end is to be said “versus populum.”

    http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2009/03/compendium-of-1955-holy-week-revisions_30.html

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