Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Washing Feet on Holy Thursday

March 29th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

If your parish will be having the priest wash the feet of members of the parish on Holy Thursday, and your priest will be performing this ritual on members of both sexes, be sure to gently remind him that this ritual is reserved to men alone. The reason is because the ritual recalls our Lord washing the feet of the twelve (male) Apostles at the Last Supper.

Here is the documentation to support this:

Fr. Edward McNamara, liturgy professor, on whether women may be permitted to participate in this rite:

“The rubrics for Holy Thursday clearly state that the priest washes the feet of men (“viri”) in order to recall Christ’s action toward his apostles. Any modification of this rite would require permission from the Holy See.

It is certainly true that in Christ there is neither male nor female and that all disciples are equal before the Lord. But this reality need not be expressed in every rite, especially one that is so tied up to the concrete historical circumstances of the Last Supper.”

From the Roman Missal, emphasis added:

“Depending on pastoral circumstance, the washing of feet follows the homily. The men who have been chosen (viri selecti) are led by the ministers to chairs prepared at 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.”

Crystal clear?

Tags: ,


8 Responses to “Washing Feet on Holy Thursday”

  1. Bernie says:

    I don't think any church in this diocese will limit participation to men. (Well, maybe one.)

  2. Ben Anderson says:

    I'm not disagreeing w/ you that it should be men, however Bishop O'Malley (Boston) did receive permission a few years back from Rome to allow women's feet to be washed. Couldn't one assume, then, that this special permissions would be extended to all US dioceses?

  3. Anonymous says:

    But, of course, this is for men only …. because it's a performance of the Last Supper ritual in John's Gospel … oh, wait, no "performances" in the sanctuary. Maybe they shouldn't wash feet at all!

  4. Dr. K says:

    Ben — Yes, permission was issued, but only to that one diocese. It does not apply to the entire United States, or any other diocese.

    Anon 8:04 — This isn't a performance, it's a rite described in the Roman Missal. I'm sorry that you had to waste your sarcasm like that.

    ~Dr. K

  5. CPT Tom says:

    Of course the letter or document supporting the Claim of the Archbishop of Boston has never been made available.

    In my parish the priest and "other ordained ministers" (I guess that means the deacons) will wash "people's" feet and then people in the congregation will be invited forward to have their feet washed and then will be able to choose to wash someone else's feet.

    They've done it this way the last couple of years…it was embarrassingly uncomfortable 30 minutes the first time, 20 mins the second time and the last time only a few went up.

    The parish bulletin justifies this as follows:
    This is not a reenactment of what Jesus did long ago in the Upper room, but what is now happening to us gathered as a community of faith.

  6. Gen says:

    And people are afraid to take communion on the tongue because of germs . . . I guess people's feet are perfectly clean to be touched at will.

    Sounds disgusting, both liturgically and physically.

  7. Anonymous says:

    You have to be kidding!!! No one touches my feet except the person who grooms them!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    AND I have to pay for it!!!!

Leave a Reply

Log in | Register

You must be logged in to post a comment.

-Return to main page-