Expert Answer Forum
PASCHALE SOLEMNITATIS QUESTION from Adrian G. Bruley December 27, 2000 I am prompted to write after reading an e-mail to you from joe with the subject: MANDATUM IN HOLY THURSDAY LITURGY and I have been wondering whether this was part of church law, instruction, etc. concerning how the washing of feet is to be conducted. In Paschale Solemnintatis, Article 51 states The washing of the feet of chosen men, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came not to be served, but to serve. This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained. My questions is does Paschale Solemnitiatis or the circular letter quoted above have the force of law. As it stands now in many churches many people, male and female, have their feet washed by one and other, so that they then can feel all warm and fuzzy and in my estimation validate each other. My belief is that the foot washing of the laity is outside in the community. I was taught that this was a recreation of what Jesus did and taught in John 13:4-14. I would appreciate your thoughts. Peace
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on January 22, 2001 Dear Mr. Bruley:
Yes, it has the force of law. Parishes that are allowing women to hold the place of the apostles to have their feet washed in this ceremony are violated Church teaching. The foot washing is apart of the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper which may being with the solemn reception on the parish church of the holy oils blessed previously by the bishop. The homily expounds the purpose of this Mass. And the foot washing may follow. But the twelve people who will have their feet washed MUST BE MEN. They represent the 12 apostles, none of which were women.
I personally would refuse to participate in such an illicit ceremony.
This flippant disregard for Church teaching and discipline must stop.
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