Washing Feet on Maundy Thursday

I feel that priests, bishops, and pope should wash the feet of 12 men from the parish on Holy Thursday.

First, I think it’s a much greater act of humility to wash the feet of those you know than the feet of complete strangers. I personally would much rather wash the feet of strangers at a soup kitchen than the other attorneys in my office.

Second, I think it’s an act of obedience because the General Instructions to the Roman Liturgy direct the officiant to wash the feet of twelve “viri” (men) from the parish. Even if you disagree with the directive, I think it’s a better example of obedience and humility to follow the directive than to choose to do your own way.

And finally, there’s nothing remarkable about washing the feet of male parishioners so there’s less chance the act of humility will be seen by the media and praised. By washing the feet of prisoners or other “outcasts,” you increase the chances that your act of humility will be viewed asan attempt to gain the applause of men, not perform an act of charity.

I’ll be interested to read the various ways that people say their parish does this…:popcorn:

I guess you don’t approve of the Pope’s plans for Holy Thursday then.

According to the Vatican Press Office Italian original / English translation] he will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in the chapel of the “Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi – Centro Santa Maria della Provvidenza” in Rome. This is a facility for people with disabilities. Participating will be patients, their families, and workers from the center. The facility, which is run by the Catholic foundation “Don Carlo Gnocchi,” has over 150 beds and is also a training center for those who care for and work with people with disabilities.

Catholic NEws Service cites a totally different place…a prison.

Or maybe I’m just confusing the articles? :confused:

The article you link to is dated last year. And he did celebrate Mass at a juvenile detention facility. But he has different plans this year.

Ahhhh. my mistake.
But is he still washing men’s feet? or random people?
Just curious

I don’t. It feels like a contrived publicity stunt.

If the world hates you, know that it hated me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love what is its own. Because you are not of the world, therefore the world hates you.

I haven’t seen anything resembling an announcement. My guess is that he will wash the feet of both men and women but we won’t really know until afterward.

Seeing him embrace people who are normally rejected is so inspiring. He sets an example for all of us.

For sure. At my parish we do children.

Maybe if you became a priest you could put all these ideas of yours into play. Not do as I say but rather do as I do.

At my parish, the priests wash the feet of men and women, but not children.

Would you consent to having your feet washed?

Nope, I prefer someone else do it.
Pastors make the decisions anyway.

Actually, washing feet doesn’t have to be done at all. It is optional.

Perhaps, like the Jews, you feel that Christ’s healing on the Sabbath was contrived? There was a rule, far more strict in its coverage and observance, than the rule about men only for feet washing.

Our Holy Father has repeatedly tried to get people to understand what being Catholic is all about; and it is not about rules.

And for those who respond to an act of true humility by implying that it is done to gain recognition, I would suggest that such a statement says more about the person implying, than it does about the person who is being truly humble. It is amazing how uncomfortable people become around someone who truly is humble. Maybe it is the mirror effect?

Your post brings a very distressing picture to my mind of the first Holy Thursday Mass we attended after moving here. Everyone who wanted to participate was invited forward. We had never seen anything like it before and by the time it was finished the aisles were littered with the dirty socks and tennis shoes of the children who had taken them off and run up to the altar. It was a long affair, this foot washing and was exceedingly irreverent imo.

Our pastor follows the **universal rubrics **in that only 12 men are chosen. And if you carefully read the USCCB mandate you will find the wording such that even American bishops do not say it is licit to wash the feet of anyone other than men, but only that it is a widespread practice to do so.

Some bishops have banned the practice for women such as Bishop Morlino in Wisconsin: God Bless Him!


If the Pope washes the feet of women I do wish he would choose to do it either outside of the Maundy Thursday liturgy or otherwise formally legislate that men and womens’ feet can be washed within the liturgy. Otherwise it’s quite confusing. Rubrics safeguard us, and no, I don’t think it’s pharisaical to slavishly adhere to them especially in the Holy Liturgy.

Agreed! To follow the rubrics is also virtuous…when did obedience to ecclesiastical law become such an unpopular thing?

I couldn’t agree more.

To compare the Pope’s decision to wash the feet of women as a part of the Maundy Thursday liturgy to Christ’s healing on the Sabbath is a gross misrepresentation of scripture.

Whilst I am sure that the Holy Father is acting with profound humility, I honestly feel that it is misplaced. If he were to officially change the liturgical rubrics, then it would be about the Church and the world and not just him.

But also a valuable lesson transmitted to many who wouldn’t otherwise hear what he’s saying and doing.

Is liturgy at the service of the people, or are people at the service of the liturgy?

In the case of whose feet get washed, what does it mean to say that women are unwelcome? Is that Christ’s message? Is that the message the Church wants to convey? Because through its actions, that is the message that is presented. Unless, of course, a pastor is sensitive to presenting this message and ignores the “men only” rule.

I agree that it’s time to change the rubrics to make what is already common also legal. However, I don’t think liturgical rubrics are particularly high on the Pope’s agenda.

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