Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: washing of feet on Holy Thursday
washing of feet on Holy Thursday QUESTION from carmel farmer March 28, 2001 Is there any Vatican document which states that women are allowed to have their feet washed as part of the Holy Thursday liturgy?
Our priest claims this is so but it sounds like one of these novel, innovative feminist ideas to me. It is my understanding that Jesus instituted the sacrament of Holy Orders & the Eucharist at the Last Supper, so it doesn't make sense to me to allow women as part of this liturgy.
thanks & God bless,
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on April 17, 2001 Dear Mrs. Farmer:
No, there is no such document that I am aware of. Please ask your priest to produce this mysterious document.
Borrowing from an answer on the www.catholicliturgy.com ...
According to the sacramentary, The men [vir] who have been chosen are led by the ministers to chairs prepared in a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each man. With the help of the ministers, he pours water over each one's feet and dries them.
In 1988 the Congregation for Divine Worship reaffirmed that only men's feet are supposed to be washed: The washing of the feet of chosen men [vir] which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came 'not to be served, but to serve' (Matt. 20:28). This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.--Paschales Solemnitatis, 51.
In both cases the latin word vir is used which means that men is not referring to mankind but only to males. Therefore, only men may have their feet washed on Holy Thursday. The practice of having the congregation wash each other's feet is also not allowed as the instruction refers only to the priest as the washer of feet.
Your understanding is correct, and the attempts to illegally include women in the foot washing is, in my opinion, just another attempt of liberals to undermine our historic faith and to re-invent it in their own image. They will be held accountible on judgment day.
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