Viewpoint: Holy Thursday Washing of Women’s Feet Now Official

I think as we get closer to Holy Week, it might be wise to read this article.  It brings out a bit how pastors might be thinking about dealing with this issue.  The comment string, while from “liturgy nerds”–and I say that fondly as these folks sometimes have a thankless job–are nonetheless interesting to read because you can already get a sense of some of what is brewing out there on this issue…..Reyanna

By M Frances Mannion          February 23, 2016          PrayTell blog site

At the behest of Pope Francis, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS) issued on January 6 a Decree stating that all members of the people of God—including women—may have their feet washed during the evening liturgy of Holy Thursday. This decision was no doubt an outcome of the practice of Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires and since he became Pope.

This is a welcome development given that many bishops and pastors had been for years washing the feet of women on Holy Thursday. The January 6 Decree clarifies the lingering ambiguity about the legitimacy of the practice.  Furthermore, the Vatican had been for some time giving mixed signals on the matter. When Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston asked the CDWDS a couple of years ago about the practice of the washing of women’s feet, he received an unofficial positive answer; meanwhile the official position of excluding women seemed favored.

I have a few observations and questions about this liturgical development. For one thing, the Decree and its Commentary allow pastors to forego the ritual of the foot-washing altogether when it states, “The washing of feet is not obligatory during the Holy Thursday Mass.”  Furthermore, “It is for pastors to evaluate its desirability according to the pastoral considerations and circumstances that exist.” No doubt some pastors may grab on to the option to omit the ceremony altogether for no other reason than a “conservative” aversion to having women involved in liturgical ceremonial

To continue reading, click HERE.

This entry was posted in In the News. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *