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.