Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pope Francis makes it official, women may now have their feet washed in Church ...

It's about time.

More specifically ...

(1) Pope Francis did not write a letter confirming the decree. He wrote a letter to Cardinal Sarah on December 20 requesting the change to the rubric in the Roman Missal.
(2) The decree has been issued not by Francis himself but by the Congregation over the signatures of Cardinal Sarah and Archbishop Roche.
The decree follows Francis’s request for “an adequate explanation” of the meaning of the rite, but it is interesting to see how Francis’s intent has perhaps already been mediated. He asked that pastors should be able to select participants from the entire membership of the People of God, but the decree from the Congregation specifies a “small group” (parvum coetum in the Latin,gruppetto in the Italian translation), which might be viewed as an attempt to control those celebrations where a large number, or even all, of those present have their feet washed.
However, also notable is the spelling-out that the group can include both men and women, young and old, the healthy and the sick, and clergy, consecrated religious and lay people. - Paul Inwood

It's not a big deal to me.

Song for this post here.

Wait for it:  1, 2, 3,

h/t jnstl


  1. I see the foot fetish cabal in the Vatican is stronger than ever.

    1. Haha! Well said - I wondered how I could include that and you did so splendidly. Thanks!

  2. Your label of 'female hygiene' made me laugh!

    In the grand scheme of things I suppose this change shouldn't matter much but I can hear the Traddies now!!!! The End Times are upon us!!!!

    When our former priest started at our parish it was mostly women getting their feet washed. Every year the pastoral assistant would ask me if our RCIA people would like to be part of it (I am a catechist.) Every year I'd trot out the same information (Paschalis Solemnitatis re: viri (men) NOT homines (mankind/humans)for her to relay to Father. No idea if she ever told him what I said but eventually the foot washing was limited to males only.

    Our new priest is very particular about the proper observance of liturgy so I really have no idea how it's going to play out this year. Personally I hope he scraps the whole thing since it's optional anyway and lost it's meaning years ago.

    As for my feet - nobody touches them unless I am getting a pedicure!

    1. That's my understanding too, it is optional and not meant to be the main practice of the Lord's Supper. I understand too that despite the decree permitting women, that is not a requirement either. Is that correct?

    2. Yaya - I believe from what I've read (which isn't a lot - just the Register article and Fr. Z blog entry - that it is NOT a requirement that women are included. If Father chooses 12 males, he chooses 12 males. My opinion - drop the whole thing at the parish level and leave it to the Bishop to wash the feet of 12 of his priests at the Chrism Mass (if he is so inclined).

    3. I agree. I hope since the washing of feet is optional. more will choose to let the Bishop wash the feet of 12 of his priests. I live in a diocese that is a bit of both - progressive and traditional. Whatever my Pastor decides to do, I will respect as long as no tries to make a show of it which I do not appreciate.

    4. Yaya - I am with you 100%.

  3. At our parish they've been washing women's feet for years. Not mine, thanks. But some people (men and women) find the experience moving.

  4. Good afternoon,Terry!

    Let me chime in on behalf of the traddies....

    I anticipate there will be no end of commentaries with regards this move.

    I for one do not like it because washing and kissing women's feet is a very intimate act, no? What place does such a sensual act have in our worship? There have been cults in the past--don't know about the present-- where worship and public sex acts were the order of the day. The OT Jews broke that tradition and I would hope we follow them in that respect.

    My second point has to do with something the Holy Father remarked about near the beginning of his pontificate....i.e. that he didn't want to 'clericalize the laity'.
    His meaning, as usual, is unclear. But I really thought he was referring to all the faux priests and priestesses running in and out of sanctuaries and basically not acting like laity and perhaps thinking that such churchy behavior was a substitute for true acts of Christian charity be they corporal or spiritual. This latest regulation disproves my hopeful interpretation of what he meant. Apparently His Holiness wants to move into more churchiness for the laity and not the other way around.

    I'm sure many will protest on other grounds, e.g. whether it's a pope's job to be changing things, as opposed to guarding things.

  5. "(1) Pope Francis did not write a letter confirming the decree. He wrote a letter to Cardinal Sarah on December 20 requesting the change to the rubric in the Roman Missal.
    (2) The decree has been issued not by Francis himself but by the Congregation over the signatures of Cardinal Sarah and Archbishop Roche."

    Gee ... I wonder how many will actually read and understand that important part being reported rather than read the headlines and run with it. It has often been reported that Cardinal Sarah is very traditional when it comes to the liturgy so I am sure he knew exactly what to say when he decided to grant the decree for women to be added. Like Maria said, this practice of including women has been going on for years without any say from the Vatican. At least now, well, let's hope it quells the confusion in the pews.

    "Let me chime in on behalf of the traddies"

    May they be reasonable and charitable is all I gotta say. ;p

  6. Where is it in the Roman Missal? I thought it was in a circular letter.

    1. I have the understanding that it is to be revised to reflect the change. I read it here:

  7. Weighing in for the people who don't like it, I don't like it. Jesus washed the feet of His Apostles, who were all men.

  8. Last year my goddaughter was received into the Church. She was asked if she wanted to have her foot washed on Holy Thursday. I explained what the rules were but as she is an adult it was up to her to make the decision to participate or not. She decided to do it because the priest and RCIA told her it was about serving each other (even though it was only the priest doing the washing - it wasn't bath night at Saint Such-and Such Parish). So I zipped my mouth shut and kept my eyes on my missal during the event. After Mass we ran into one of the RCIA helpers who asked my goddaughter what she thought of the experience and did she feel all squeaky clean? I hope he could not hear my eyeballs rolling in my head because he completely misunderstood and/or missed the point of the foot washing. Sadly, I had another encounter with him in front of the sanctuary Easter Sunday after Mass while we were taking some photos. I told my newly baptized godchildren not to walk across the sanctuary but the RCIA helper said the sanctuary was for everyone. I just told him flat out it wasn't. I think I hurt his feelings and I feel bad about being so blunt but crikey! what the heck were they teaching in this RCIA class?!

  9. This move seems more to be motivated by populist sentiments. Thankfully the foot-washing rite itself is optional...perhaps this move will lead to a increased disuse of it.

  10. The whole thing is disgusting period! I don't want to wash anyone's feet or have my feet washed either! Thankfully I have never seen this weird ritual at my church...As to the sensuous aspect of really got to be a Foot Fetish-ist to get into it...and I doubt few of those are getting their jollies washing Grandmas feet in Church...(though who knows...)

    Though if they are going to do it, they should do it for everyone. Sorry my insights are not very spiritual but come on..ugh!

  11. Pius XII reintroduced it in the reforms of Holy Week or something on that order. When I was little I think it was only done at the Cathedral and if I remember correctly it was a novelty - for me - and that's about it. Later, when regular parishes did it I liked the 'down time' with 'where charity and love abound' singing in the background while I closed my eyes waiting for it to end.

    It has never been a favorite of mine - always a bit too theatrical. However, when Pope Francis does it, I'm deeply moved.

    I'm fine with the changes in understanding of the ritual and what it represents. I'm fine with a bishop washing the feet of his priests in imitation of Christ.

    I'm happiest with the ordinary form of Mass, simply and yet solemnly celebrated. The Eucharist and adoration. I'm a simple guy.

    1. I have watched Papa Francis wash feet too. His face is alight with such love and joy it is moving to see himself at the service of others.

      Apparently though ...

      UPDATED: Even Catholic headlines are misleading about the washing of feet

    2. That is the other Fr. Z who always gets it right. I love him. Thanks Yaya.

      My headline for the post was simply to push buttons. There is always a reasonable explanation for such changes. ;)

    3. Okay, wait, what? There's more than one Z?

    4. Yes - one of them will be a bishop too.

  12. The whole foot-washing thing - I take advantage of stuff like this to zone out in church....
    actually it has not been done for years in the two I frequent. I like what Yaya and Angela were talking about, the Bishop washing his priests feet.
    I was also very struck by the essay about schism over at Ron Conte's site, "Whoever ridicules the Pope, ridicules Christ": the parts re: Fr. Z.
    Don't hurt me. I feel Very protective of our Pope Francis. I agree with Conte.

    1. "I was also very struck by the essay about schism over at Ron Conte's site, "Whoever ridicules the Pope, ridicules Christ": the parts re: Fr. Z.
      Don't hurt me. I feel Very protective of our Pope Francis. I agree with Conte."

      Dear Consolata,

      I stand with you in love and respect for our Holy Father. Let's cover him with lots of prayer since he is under constant attacks.

      Here's two links that might be of interest to you to read and affirm what I just wrote:

      and this one:

      After I read both these articles, and when I read what Terry has to say, I understand more than ever that aside from prayer, one needs to be informed so as to correct any misinformation being spread about Papa Francis.

    2. Thanks Yaya: that was so good to read and I went on to read more of Mark Mallett - It has been nearly soul-crushing to occasionally pick up on all the nuttiness and betrayals going on - so I tend to avoid all/most of it, except here. I figure our influence extends about as far as we can throw a stick, most days, if we are lucky.....and depending upon what our stick is made of. Hopefully, serenity/prayer/humility.
      (I have no idea what that means)


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.