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The Meaning(s) of Holy Thursday Feet Washing

January 26th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie
From the National Catholic Register
Liturgical Change Is Afoot in the Catholic Church

Master of the Housebook (fl. between 1475 and 1500) Link back to Creator infobox templateThe work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide. The reproduction is part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project. The compilation copyright is held by Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Artist: Master of the Housebook, from a “Passionsaltar”. (fl. between 1475 and 1500) *

Pope Francis has approved the practice of permitting women to have their feet washed, alongside of men, in the Holy Thursday mandatum liturgical ceremony. Francis himself has…

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*The work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction there of are in the public domain worldwide. The reproduction is part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project. The compilation copyright is held by Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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2 Responses to “The Meaning(s) of Holy Thursday Feet Washing”

  1. avatar christian says:

    The washing of feet of both men and women, and both boys and girls, has long been a norm for many years in Catholic parishes in Rochester which I have attended on Holy Thursday.

    The emphasis was put on servant hood to each other as well as forgiving each others sins through Jesus’ example. The washing of feet was based on our baptismal call rather than on ministerial priesthood.

    I really don’t see this as an earth-shattering liturgical change as it has most probably been done in other dioceses throughout the United States and elsewhere.

    The bigger question – During the washing of the feet, why is only one foot washed?

    The washing of one foot has been a standard practice in most parishes for some time. Maybe the powers that be think it is more expedient with regard to the number of people coming up, but I and others would rather have both feet washed rather than just one foot. How much longer could it take to do both feet instead of just one foot?

    I’m sure they would argue that one foot is good enough after all it’s just a liturgical symbol. But I say from a liturgical standpoint and symbolism, washing only one foot sends an incomplete message on forgiveness and servant hood. (Unless someone only has one foot), the liturgical washing of only one foot lacks integrity.

    Do you comb your hair on just one side? Do you shave just side of your face? Do you wash only one side of your body in the shower? Do you clothe only one side of your body? Do you only wear one sock? one shoe?

    I’m sure Jesus would not have told his disciples “Just take off your left sandal and I will just wash your left foot.”

  2. avatar militia says:

    As I read the directives, the hodge podge of participants (even possibly of different faiths) is allowed but I didn’t see that it is required. Perhaps, like ‘altar girls’ the pastor has some leeway? If a pastor is going to stick with 12 men, I’d like to know who that pastor is so that I can go to Holy Thursday Mass in his parish.

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