Pope Francis’ Holy Week Schedule

In today’s L’Osservatore Romano I saw the Holy Father’s upcoming schedule for Holy Week.

Notice anything interesting?

What we won’t be seeing:


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  1. Papabile says:

    Quick question, Father.

    In that photo, it looks like Benedict is wearing a Dalmatic with a Gremial? Am I missing something here?


  2. wolfeken says:

    A scheduled 9:30 a.m. Chrism Mass leaves plenty of time in the evening for a surprise washing of Moslem girls’ feet somewhere in the region.

    I hope I’m wrong, but a pretty damaging bar was set last year, and I am suspicious of so much free time on Maundy Thursday 2014.

  3. donboyle says:

    But the VIS also said this, at the foot (ahem) of the schedule:

    “The Pope will preside over the ‘in Coena Domini’ Mass on the afternoon of Holy Thursday but, like last year and in previous years in Buenos Aires, he will select a situation of a special nature from a pastoral point of view, which will be communicated when appropriate. There will not, therefore, be a celebration in a Basilica or the possibility of participation by a large number of faithful; the Prefecture of the Papal Household will not distribute tickets for any such celebration.”

    Definitely not like the photo.

  4. Vecchio di Londra says:

    “from a pastoral point of view” – hmmm, maybe in the Campagna?…

  5. Nicholas Shaler says:

    But Father!!!!

    Washing Catholic feet would be anti-VII. This is madness, I tell you, madness!

    But really, why would a Muslim want her feet washed?

  6. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Out of curiosity, it 5pm the usual time in Rome for the Good Friday celebration?

  7. Vecchio di Londra says:

    ‘is’, not ‘it’. Sorry.

  8. Geoffrey says:

    The whole issue of foot-washing aside, it seems bizarre that His Holiness would not celebrate a public Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper… That is what “kicks off” the Sacred Triduum…

  9. Fr. Erik Richtsteig says:

    The Pope, having removed the chasuble, is wearing the pontifical dalmatic with a gremial on top of it.

  10. Parochus says:

    Yes, Papabile, the Pope is wearing a dalmatic and gremial. It is always fitting for a bishop to wear a dalmatic underneath his chasuble at solemn celebrations (Cæremoniale Episcoporum, 56). For the washing of feet, the bishop removes the chasuble but not the dalmatic, and may wear a gremial as circumstances suggest (Cæremoniale Episcoporum, 301). That’s what you see the ever liturgically [and theologically]-correct Benedict XVI wearing in this photograph.

  11. “The Pope will preside over the ‘in Coena Domini’ Mass on the afternoon of Holy Thursday but, like last year and in previous years in Buenos Aires, he will select a situation of a special nature from a pastoral point of view, which will be communicated when appropriate.”

    Does “select a situation of a special nature from a pastoral point of view” suggest that the photo we will see, of this year’s papal Mass of the Last Supper, may differ in some minor details from the photo that Fr. Z includes above?

  12. Magpie says:

    Seems from donboyle’s little snippet from VIS that we are going to see another missing of the point with the footwashing this year, where, rather than an ordinance associated with the ordained priesthood, the footwashing becomes the special interest of a select, exclusive group.

  13. Priam1184 says:

    Eh, looking at what’s going on on the northern shores of the Black Sea today there is a distinct possibility that the world may have bigger things to worry about than whose feet Francis is going to wash by the time Holy Week rolls around…

    [We can actually think about more than one thing per month.]

  14. Oh my….here we go again

  15. iPadre says:

    Since the foot washing is optional. I will not exercise that option this year. It has become to much a source of division. My focus will be on the important things on that holy night – Priesthood & Eucharist.

  16. SimonDodd says:

    I’m giving him up for Lent, so I’ll have to worry about whatever scandal he manages to cause this time after Easter.

  17. bdouglass says:

    Maybe he will pay a visit to the SSPX? That would fit the VIS snippit.

  18. Stephen Matthew says:

    Would it not be fitting for at least some portion of the Triduum to be celebrated at the Lateran Basilica?

    It is after all the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, thus the proper seat of the Bishop of Rome.
    It also just happens to be dedicated to Christ Himself (and St. John, though as to if it is the Baptist or the Evangelist/Revelator is a wee bit uncertain). Likewise I should think that great baptistry at the Lateran should be used by the Pope to perform baptisms from time to time, rather than some bizarre contrivance wheeled into the Sistine Chapel.

    The prisoner in the Vatican stage of the papacy is over, perhaps it is time to once again give at least some of the major ceremonies back to the primal arch-cathedral of all Christendom?

  19. “I’m giving him up for Lent, so I’ll have to worry about whatever scandal he manages to cause this time after Easter.”
    didn’t know he caused a scandal. Confused.

  20. SimonDodd says:

    @Boxer He rarely makes it out of a week without doing something dismaying, infuriating, and/or scandalous–which is why, as mentioned, he’s outta here for Lent–but specifically with regard to last Lent, I have in mind the illicit mandatum, in which he violated the liturgical law of the Church. Didn’t change it, mind you, which he has every right to do–just flouted it leaving turmoil, chaos, confusion, and scandal in his wake. Every pastor who defies popular sentiment and adheres to the rubric from now until kingdom come will have Francis’ arrogance thrown in his face. It will ALWAYS hereafter be “but [ ] Francis did it!”

  21. not trying to argue or dispute your legitimate concerns. I just don’t seem to see a scandal in the making.So I’ll quote this:

    The Roman Missal of the Catholic Church contains the liturgical law regarding the celebration of the Holy Mass, along with the Mass prayers, etc… The current (since 1970) Roman Missal of the Catholic Church contains the directives for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday which are obligatory throughout the Catholic Church (i.e. throughout the world). In the Roman Missal, it states in the English translation, “The men who have been chosen are led by the ministers to seats prepared in suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each one, and, with the help of the ministers, pours water over each one’s feet and then dries them.” [Emphasis added]. Likewise, in the current Roman Missal, it states equivalently in the original Latin, “Viri selecti deducuntur a ministris ad sedilia loco apto parata …” [Emphasis added].

    The previous Roman Missal of the Catholic Church (used as the ordinary missal from the 16th century through the 1960s and still used today in the “Extraordinary Form” of the Mass) contains a similar instruction, “In medio presbyterii, vel in ipsa aula ecclesiae, parata sint sedilia hinc inde pro duodecimo viris, …” [Emphasis added]. Thus, one sees the great continuity through the centuries of this practice of The Washing of the Feet of men which represents Jesus washing the feet of the twelve male apostles at the Last Supper.

    The twelve male apostles are listed in Sacred Scripture by name. For example, in Matthew Chapter 10, they are listed as Simon (called Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, (Jude) Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot (who betrayed him). In Matthew 26:20, in the account of the Last Supper, it states “When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve.”

    The Mass of the Lord’s Supper represents the institution of the priesthood by Jesus Christ. Thus, it is reasonable that for the Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday, men (having their feet washed) represent the twelve male apostles and thus, the ministerial priesthood of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church. It all logically fits together.

    A couple of short points:

    1) The Latin word “homo” refers to mankind, i.e., to human beings in the generic sense. The word is used in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (Profession of Faith) when we say at Mass, “for us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven” or in Latin, “Qui propter nos homines et propter nostrum salutem descendit de caelis.” The Latin word “vir” or “viri”, which is listed above in the directives in the Roman Missal for the Washing of the Feet, refers to males (i.e., not mankind in the generic sense), and thus, means something different than “homo” and is thus, specific to males.

    2) Bishop Morlino, just like all Catholic bishops throughout the world, asks priests to follow the liturgical law of the Catholic Church. Thus, the proper Washing of the Feet, as articulated above, is simply one example of obedience to universal liturgical law.

    3) If Pope Francis wants to change an aspect of the universal liturgical law through a legislative act (which he has the power to do unilaterally), Bishop Morlino and other bishops throughout the world would obey the newly-promulgated liturgical law. Pope Francis has not done this in regards to the Rite of Washing of the Feet on Holy Thursday.

    4) Yesterday, Pope Francis washed the feet of two women along with men at the youth detention center in Italy. This is a single instance in a unique situation. Pope Francis, by disregarding a law in a particular instance, is not abrogating that law. Thus, his recent action is not a change in the liturgical law for the universal church, which would require a legislative act, as mentioned above.

    5) Pope Francis’ unique position in the church allows him not to comply with certain laws (i.e., certain laws not pertaining to divine or natural law), in this case a liturgical law. Bishops and priests do not have that option in regards to the Mandatum Rite (Washing of the Feet). Per the Roman Missal, bishops and priests can either wash the feet of men or omit the rite.

    I hope this provides some clarification. Thank you again for your question. Let’s pray for each other as we approach Easter.

    Blessings, Msgr. Jim Bartylla

  22. Priam1184 says:

    @Father Z

    We shall see.

  23. Boxerpaws:

    That’s a nicely written bit you quoted by the monsignor. If I quote him, say, in my parish bulletin, people will naturally ask, and who is Monsignor Jim Bartylla? Can you tell me a bit more, please? Thanks!

    [At the time of that writing and at the time of my writing, Msgr. James Bartylla is Vicar General of the Diocese of Madison.]

  24. SimonDodd says:

    @Boxer I agree with virtually everything in Msgr. Bartylla’s analysis, although for me the decisive point is just one of the ones he makes: The text is “Viri selecti”—not personae selectae. Viri. I would have ZERO problem with Francis changing it to, you know, personae selectae or whatever; heck, I would have no problem with him changing it to mulieres selectae! But he didn’t change it. He just ignored it. And maybe we want to take a leaf out of Richard M. Nixon’s book and say “[w]hen the pope does it that means it is not illicit,” but whatever the case vis-à-vis Francis, what is so troubling is that his action will be taken as warrant for anyone who wants to disobey it to do so, and will be used as a cudgel with which to beat faithful priests and bishops who follow the rubric.

    Think about how this plays out in practice. When you show up at a parish in Madison and Fr. McCool is washing the feet of female congregants, you say: “But Father, the rubric specifically says viri selecti, and Bishop Morlino specifically asks you to obey that rubric!” What do you suppose Father will come back with? He will come back with Francis’ example, and if you really annoy him, he may even treat you to some Franciscan imprecations on your character and motivation—”I am following the example of our holy father, the bestest pope in like forever, you merciless, self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagian—so away and be hidebound by your small-minded rules and fashions somewhere else and stop trying to turn the clock back!” Day by day, that man hands new weapons to such people for them to savage faithful, traditionally-minded, orthodox Catholics. The benefit of the doubt only goes so far, and it has gone way too far for people to pretend that they don’t see the pattern.

  25. Imrahil says:

    Forgive me, while from a somewhat Prussian point of view it might have been better that the Pope granted himself a written exemption, first, before acting besides the rubric, and published the same in the AAS and clearly wrote down that it does not apply to other occasions*,

    that is something very unlikely to occur in the Vatican. And it may be a pity that it didn’t happen but I cannot see any grand scandal in it – all the more since I cannot see in the action anything wrong in itself besides the fact that it doesn’t conform to the rubric-as-is.

    Footwashing has nothing to do with Ordination. The traditional explanation is purification from venial and/or post-baptismal sins (which has a connection to being worthily ordained or acting upon ordination, but also to receiving Holy Communion). The modern (but not false) explanation is that it represents our Lord’s humility.

    If the important point is that, for all that, it was the Apostle’s College after all and they were men, then… yes then that’s a problem. If the problem merely is that it did not conform to a rather low-level** rubric, not so much. By which I don’t mean the priest should disobey it.

    [** Viri means men and excludes women. However, “viri” does not put specific stress on the fact that it’s men; Latin could also have used “homines mares” or “viri (non autem participet ulla femina)” or the like.

    *I can, by the way, imagine a priest who has no intention to actual disobedience but some intention to bend laws as far as possible, and who lives outside a diocese where a letter circulated such as that above, saying: “the Pope has not said he reserved this exemption only to himself, lex dubia non obligat, if he wants me to take males only let him, or let the CDW say so”. I don’t know whether that would suffice to make him in-disobedient, I’m no Church lawyer or morality scholar, but it would not seem totally absurd.]

  26. Imrahil says:

    By “a problem” I mean something that I would perceive as a problem in a Mass I visited, or that would justify to speak of a scandal.

    If laws are unjustifiedly not kept, that is of course not unproblematic in itself. However, frankly, if we would get disturbed at any of this we’d be rather confused in very short time. There’s some things where it’s frankly the job of Church superiors to adequately supervise rubrics-compliance, and not one other burden the simple parishioners have to shoulder.

    In this sense I meant “not so much”.

  27. FranzJosf says:

    Yes, I noticed that too. The Chrism Mass has customarily been at St. John Lateran. I wonder why the change of venue?

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