Annual Lenten Foot-fight: Women’s Feet Washed on Holy Thursday

by Steve Ray on March 26, 2013

The Annual Lenten Foot-fight

by Dr. Edward Peters

“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?”

What do you think? News writes about Pope Francis’ plans for Holy Thursday. Do you think he will wash the feet of male and female?

“The Holy Father will celebrate the Mass in the chapel of the Casal del Marmo Penitential Institute for Minors (IPM)…

“Of the 10 girls and 40 boys expected to the attend, the Holy Father will wash the feet of 12, who will be chosen from different nationalities and diverse religious confessions. The youth will will also participate in the mass by proclaiming the readings and the prayer of the faithful.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rakhi March 26, 2013 at 11:00 AM

I think we will have a whole new view of the matter in about two days. All eyes (well, the eyes of the Catholic world that pays attention to such matters) will be watching Pope Francis I dare say. My feeling? It’s above my pay grade theologically and canonically. As far as preference goes, I enjoy the symbolic washing of the feet, but have been at parishes where the whole congregation gets their feet washed. While I appreciate the symbolism, I’m not sure the liturgy is the appropriate place for that magnitude of foot washing. On the other hand, personally, the act itself to me is one of the humility of the washer, not the gender of the recipient. As in all things, though, if this whole question of foot washing is taking our eyes off of the significance of the Holy Thursday Mass, that is Christ preparing to sacrifice his life for us that we may never perish, then let’s just come with clean feet from home. Or to the ladies out there, may I suggest a Holy Thursday pedicure prior to Mass?

Lynda March 27, 2013 at 2:04 AM

The rubrics are to be followed by all, including the Pope. Adult male Catholics.

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