How WDTPRS deals with anger? Fun!

Tonight all across the world people will, alas, take note that some priests and bishop have decided to wash the feet of women during the Holy Thursday Mass. 

They do this even though they shouldn’t and, probably, know they shouldn’t.

Pretty frustrating, isn’t it?

And in those times when we are irritated by such disrespect what do traditional, conservative Catholics do? 

They write parody songs, of course!

The official WDTPRS parodohymnologist, Tim Ferguson, has sent me this:

A Holy Thursday Reflection on “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” by Lew Brown, Sam Stept and Charles Tobias.
(Imagine Ray Eberle and the Modernaires singing this…)

Don’t go washing those women’s feet; the Latin is plain to me:
“selecti” should be “viri.” The rubrics are clear you see. No, no, no,
Don’t go washing those women’s feet at Thursday night’s liturgy,
Thus says the Pope of Rome.

Don’t go altering rubrics now, no matter who you may be,
Or where you got your degree in Scripture and Liturgy. No, no, no,
Don’t go altering rubrics now, this calls for humility:
You’re not the Pope of Rome. 

I just got word that Ranjith has heard,
‘n put the Vicar in a jam,
Seems some priest here, washing feet last year,
Scrubbed a nylon-covered gam.
So, don’t go washing those women’s feet at Thursday night’s liturgy,
Or feel the wrath of Rome.

There… isn’t that better?

Has anyone else noticed that it seems only serious, traditionally minded Catholics tend to have a good sense of humor?  I guess this comes from the fact that when you are right you can’t be wrong.  That gives us the security to be funny.


But, getting back to business… I am feeling that old anger rise up inside again, …. and I need an outlet.

And what better outlet than …. another song!

From the Musical: Fiddler on the Apse
(a parody of Matchmaker, Matchmaker, from Fiddler on the Roof)

Yenta: Modernist Liturgist,
Please wash my feet,
I’m not wearing sox,
And I’ll be discrete,
Inculturate the American Way,
And please wash my feet Thursday….

Fr. Lovebeads: I am the Liturgist,
Take off your shoes!
Women and men,
There’s no need to choose!
“Viri selecti,” is just not too clear,
I’ll wash all your feet this year…

Fr. Lovebeads: For me now,
It signals inclusion!

Yenta: For me now,
It’s my chance to shine! 

Congregation: For us, well,
It doesn’t matter,
As long as we’re leaving for home by nine! 

Congregation: Modernist Liturgist,
Give us a break!
Follow the red words
For pity’s sake.
Mass after Mass we feel under attack,
Please, just say the words in black!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Parody Songs, SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. A parody song, based on “Holy Thursday”?

    What’s this world coming to?!?

    Nick Alexander
    The “Catholic Weird Al”
    Author of “Holy Thursday” (parody of Monday Monday)

  2. Okay… Since this post is FUN, I deleted a few comments right away.

    Let’s try this again. Less bitching, more happy. ‘kay?

  3. My Mom had a great response when someone asked her at her parish if she wanted to have her feet washed. She said, “Are there no more men left in the Church?” and promptly turned down their offer.

  4. Chris says:

    Father, I had no idea until just recently that the washing of feet was intended for men only. You’d never know it around here…
    I was unable to attend Holy Thursday last year because I had just had surgery, but the year prior— we had not only washing of anyone’s feet who wanted washing, but people went up and washed each others’- women, children, everyone. It went on for quite some time as I recall.
    At the time I thought, “Oh, what a nice gesture.”
    Thank goodness I know better now!
    I plan to drive up to St Agnes for a “good old fashioned” Maundy Thursday Mass tonight!

  5. a catechist says:

    Thanks for the songs! I’m not angry, I’m sad. Last night a 2nd grade boy preparing for 1st Holy Communion begged his dad right after RE to go to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper tonight & have his feet washed–and his father said no, in obvious irritation. Please pray for that family, and for God to call boys from this spring’s 1st Communion class to the Holy Priesthood.

  6. Deacon Bart says:

    Fr. Z,
    I linked here from CWN site. Thank you for the smile-I’m blessed this year to be a a truly
    faithful parish (I even assist at the Novu Ordo Mass every Sunday in (GASP!)Latin) but having
    been put in the position in other parishes of assisting pastors who played fast and loose
    with the Rubics I do appreciate the relief given by knowing others understand. I know God
    has a sense of humor; He allowed me to be ordained a Deacon! So to those who take themselves
    too seriously please relax enough to enjoy the great mystery of God’s Love.
    Again thank you and a blessed Tridium to you and all your readers.

  7. Rose in NE says:

    Bless me Father…

    I’m a woman who had her feet washed a few years ago. Please forgive me! I didn’t know!! I just trusted that my pastor knew what he was doing. I promise I’ll never do it again. This year I’ll be attending Holy Thursday Mass(and the rest of the Triduum) in the Extraordinary Form–thanks be to God!

  8. Rose in NE says:

    Bless me Father…

    I’m a woman who had her feet washed a few years ago. Please forgive me!! I didn’t know! I just assumed my pastor knew what he was doing. I promise to never do it again. This year I’ll be attending Holy Thursday Mass (and the rest of the Triduum) in the Extraordinary Form–thanks be to God!

  9. Abigail says:

    Years ago, there was a problem in my parish: the women were wearing nylons! So, the pastor came up with a solution. Instead of the Washing of the Feet, he would do a Washing of the Hands.

    Yup. Just like Pontius Pilate. I thought the symbolism was absolutely perfect, even if not intended.

  10. KK says:

    To his credit, our new young priest has ended the previous pastor’s practice of having the entire congregation wash each other’s feet. However, I’m told he looked up the USCCB guidelines and reported back that it said 12 men or women.

  11. Habemus Papam says:

    Say the Black do the toe-nails Red.

  12. David Andrew says:

    Perhaps next some bright suburban metrosexual priest will get the grand idea of installing one of those Lazy-Boy style “relaxation chairs” complete with the massage units and jaccuzzi-style footbath that you see in the trendy salons to use for the Mandatum.

  13. Jeff Ferguson says:


    Regarding your comment about the USCCB mentioning both men and women — I did a bit of searching and found the following at

    “Because the gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday also depicts Jesus as the ‘Teacher and Lord’ who humbly serves his disciples by performing this extraordinary gesture which goes beyond the laws of hospitality, the element of humble service has accentuated the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service.

    “While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men (‘viri selecti’), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, ‘who came to serve and not to be served,’ that all members of the Church must serve one another in love.”

    Interesting …

  14. TJM says:

    Wickedly good fun, Father Z. Happy Easter! Tom

  15. Tom says:

    Considering the numerous and often shocking ways in which daily and Sunday Novus Ordo Masses are far-removed from the Roman Liturgical Tradition, washing the feet of women once a year during Holy Thursday Mass shouldn’t upset us.

    Our Latin Church liturgical tradition has been shattered.

    Therefore, the insertion of yet another liturgical novelty by bishops and priests into the Novus Ordo liturgical experience is just par for the course.

    Shouldn’t we be past the point of permitting such nonsense to upset us?

  16. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    *Has anyone else noticed that it seems only serious, traditionally minded Catholics tend to have a good sense of humor?*

    I’ve been around “traditionally minded [ _sic_ ] Catholics” for a long time: Many are friends and a few are priests. I love them all . . . but, “sense of humor” is not the first phrase I’d use.

    *I guess this comes from the fact that when you are right you can’t be wrong.*

    And, he wrote those words with a straight face.

    *That gives us the security to be funny.*

    We are dust (Gen 2); worms (Job 25:6); wayfarers upon the earth (Ps 119:19).

    Such humility — which, priest or no, you do not have — can generate good comedy . . . about which the authors of those scriptures, the Jews, know a thing or two. But, when you actually have to *tell* people you’re funny, then you’re probably not funny. To wit . . .

    *But, getting back to business… I am feeling that old anger rise up inside again,* ….

    That didn’t take long.

    Interesting that you say your “business” is to be angry: As the Scholastics used to say: “Grace builds upon nature.”

    Physician, heal thyself.

  17. Kathleen says:

    At our parish, the pastor used to wash the feet of 12 altar boys (we have no altar girls). In the last year or so, the boys were replaced by men, some of whom had to be gently persuaded to participate. Just curious whether the rubrics would require adult males rather than boys?

  18. Yes, it often seems today as though the only norm in the Ordinary Form is the complete lack of norms, or barely suppressed chaos. Those who seek God’s goodly order in our worship must “love Him more than these”. And, as Fr Z shows, humor can help smooth the way.

  19. Elizabeth V. says:

    “Yes, it often seems today as though the only norm in the Ordinary Form is the complete lack of norms, or barely suppressed chaos.”

    That’s just not true!

  20. Lynne says:

    Thank you Father Z. Excellent points as always…

  21. Irulats says:

    Father, I’m just back from the Mass of The Last Supper. With all the talk of washing womens’ feet, I brought my family to another parish this year. You know what, the priest just celebrated an ordinary Mass (OF). The communion hosts including his own were all reserved in the tabernacle before hand. When communion was over they went back in as usual and the Mass ended with the usual blessing and dismissal. No repose and no stripping the altar. As I was leaving they were starting a final rehearsal for their readings tomorrow up in the sanctuary. I came away more sad than angry but still feel I need to compose a tune. God Bless.

  22. JP says:

    Fr. Z. said: Has anyone else noticed that it seems only serious, traditionally minded Catholics tend to have a good sense of humor?

    And then Matthew W. I. Dunn, who is by no means a serious, traditionally minded Catholic, is considerate enough to prove Fr. Z’s point.

  23. Anna Trad says:

    You beat me to it JP

  24. michigancatholic says:

    Well, Matthew Dunn, it sounds like you’re the humourless one ripping into somebody here. Just sayin’.

    Cute songs, Fr.

  25. Alice says:


    St. Agnes (St Paul, MN) has been washing altar boy feet for I don’t know how many years. I always thought it quite something to watch the holy priests stoop down to wash the feet of these young boys. My son, a torchbearer last year, was so honored. Yet we go by rubric, not feeling (even though there was rarely a dry eye, at least among the Catholic Mom contingent). But if St. Agnes is going to provide the Liturgy faithfully, we need to do it all the way, huh?

    Fr. Ubel ditched the local tradition and washed the feet of viri selecti this year.

    That took guts. Way to go.

    BTW, maybe you should podcazt these new songs of yours…. or sing from the pulpit like Archbishop N? :-}

  26. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Holy Thursday? What’s that? That’s Ascension Day. Today is *Maundy* Thursday. Let’s keep the Maundy name. It brings to mind mandates and the mandatum, and it leads to innocent children’s questions, such as “Which is it? Monday or Thursday?”


  27. Emilio III says:

    Irulats, we had a bilingual (Spanglish) mass, where the congregation was supposed to sing alternate lines in English and Spanish. This resulted mass confusion and very little singing. I never did figure out what “poder es servir” is supposed to mean (literally “power is to serve”). The Gospel was read by a saintly old Vietnamese deacon, not exactly idoneous in English. This was later translated to Spanish by the Irish priest giving the homily, so that “washing the fits” became “limpiando los peces” (literally “cleaning the fishes”) rather than “lavando los pies”. He also mentioned that St Peter “was a little slow” and translated it word for word as “era un poco despacio” which makes absolutely no sense. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.

    Only twice did the entire congregation seemed to join in the singing: at the Agnus Dei; and and at the Pange Lingua during the procession. Even using their definition of “active participation” it worked better in Latin!

  28. Goofy says:

    Modification of the Beatles “Yesterday”

    At the Mass,
    All the rubrics seemed so far away,
    Now I know that they are here to stay,
    Oh I believe in the old way.

    I’m not the liturgist I used to be,
    There are changes coming over me,
    Oh, B16 came suddenly.

    Why abuse
    Had to go I don’t know, Pope wouldn’t say.
    I did,
    Something wrong, now I long for the old way.

    Novus Ordo – easy Mass to say,
    Now I need a place to hide away,
    Oh, I believe in the old way.

    Ordinary Form, it’s here to stay,
    Now I
    say the black, do the red – it’s the way.

    Now today,
    Mass is prayerful and a joy to say,
    People even want to stay and pray,
    Oh, I believe in the old way.


  29. Meg Q says:

    At our (Latin-rite) parish, for the foot-washing there were six men and six women. Nicely balanced, no?

    I just can’t figure why Jesus didn’t do this in the first place . . .


  30. How dare you poke fun at women’s feet… (just kidding!)

    These are hilarious. I love these Father.

  31. Jenny Z says:

    Ouch… I actually didn’t know women weren’t supposed to be up there till reading this blog :( Our wonderful priests are usually so good about following the rules!!

  32. Bryan Muench says:

    These parody songs would be so much more appropriate for me, as a 34 year old, if “tunes” were selected that more people, such as myself, could relate to. Sadly, my uncultured ears and eyes have never heard nor seen “Fiddler on the Roof”, and I have only heard my mother sing “Don’t sit under the apple tree.” How about something everyone can appreciate…like THE BARNEY SONG! It would go like this:

    I wash you,
    you wash me,
    It’s all about community. With a woman over here, and a man over there, Rubricly we just don’t care!

  33. Cel says:

    We went one better Meg Q, 3 men (I was one), 3 women, 3 boys and 3 girls. Some how I just knew that we would celebrate it in the PCF (Politically Correct Form). [sacrasm] oh yes there are three forms in the latin rite. The old way, the new way, and the way that the spirit of Vatican II would have wanted it. [/sarcasm] Sorry, couldn’t help that last one. We don’t have an extraordinary form within 200 miles as far as I know and being a candidate coming in this year I can only imagine what things are supposed to look like from seeing them done wrong and then trying to piece together in my mind how it should be from what I read here. Thank you Father for doing this work. It has kept me going at times.

    one thing I did enjoy last night was when Our Lord, in the monstrance was being taken to the adoration chapel for vigil. Many people genuflected but most just bowed a little as He passed by. I couldn’t help but take a knee and bow my head as He passed. It simply made sense to do so. But then, out of the corner of my eye I saw all three of those little boys next to me doing the same. It was very satisfying and encouraging. It was also a humbling reminder of why we need to do things right. The single mom of one of the boys, one of the three women getting her feet washed seemed a little surprised. It was like I had three little shadows.

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