Monday, March 24, 2008

"The Fifteenth Station Of The Cross"
The agony of de feet

Again... we see the washing of women's feet on Holy Thursday. And again... we see the slow but deliberate destruction of the male priesthood.

And as innocuous as the washing of women's feet seems to be, no matter how well meaning the catechitically-impaired laity feels about the topic at hand, the Sacred Tootsie Washing (AKA: Poncho Lady Pedicure Bop) is just flat-out wrong.

Here's why we should never be washing the feet of other than adult males -- (borrowed from the CUF site on the subject) -- The Church’s current guidelines clearly prescribe that only men may have their feet washed in the Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual. And this is based upon the fact that The Holy Bible states that the only ones present at the washing of the feet were Christ's Apostles (Jn. 13:1-20).
And let's not forget... the Apostles were the first priests, bishops and pope. Right? But I'll emphasis that in a bit later in this posting.

Anyhow, this brings into question the phrase viri selecti in which the GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) uses, which can only be translated as “chosen men” (males). Notice it doesn't say mulieribus selecti, or even the generic, all encompassing homo selecti. It's VIRI selecti. As in VIR Speluncae Catholicus. Get it?

Unfortunately, many don't. That's why the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued the circular letter, “Concerning the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts” (Paschales Solemnitatis) on January 16, 1988 (emphasis mine).

“The washing of the feet of chosen men 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.’ This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained”.In other words... when Christ washed the feet of His Apostles, it signified that the priests are to serve... not to be served. The purpose of the ritual is to focus on the role of the priest.

Yet alas, in many corners of The Church, everybody and their brother (or sister, as the case may be) are getting their footsies hosed down every Holy Thursday. So now the focus is now off the priest, and placed squarely on the laity.

But hasn't the "Spirit of Vatican II" has been diabolically striving for lo these many past decades?

I think CUF says it best;
Unfortunately, in many parishes changes have been introduced to the washing of feet ritual. These changes violate liturgical norms and destroy the sign value of the ritual. These changes include washing the feet of women and children, having extraordinary ministers wash feet, having the entire congregation come forward to have their feet or hands washed, or having hands anointed. Proponents of these changes argue that those whose feet are washed should represent the many different people in the parish and the equality of all. In places where hands are washed, they argue that it is easier to do and everyone can participate. Such arguments wrongly de-emphasize the purpose of the prescribed ritual.

When women, children, or large numbers take part in the foot washing ritual, the focus shifts from the priest to the congregation. This is not the purpose of the ritual. The purpose of the ritual is to focus on the role of the priest. When hands are washed rather than feet, the connection with Scripture and the actions of Christ are lost (Jn. 13:3-11). As Jesus Himself said to Peter, who wanted his hands and head washed with his feet, “He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet…but not everyone of you (are clean)” (Jn. 13:10). These last statements of Jesus show that the emphasis of the ritual is not on the people, but on the actions of the priest. For the ritual does not symbolize that everyone is made clean, or that everyone participates, but rather that the priest is to serve.
And just out of curiosities sake... have any of you had other than adult males as participants in this particular ritual last Holy Thursday?


Blogger Al said...

Past years, yes. This year, NO. But then I went to Mass at a parish where I knew the priest would ensure the rubrics were followed.

7:05 AM  
Blogger mig said...

It changes the whole feel of Holy thursday to walk in and see a bunch of women and children sitting with a couple of men. At the church we attended there were two men, the rest women, kids and teenagers. The kids were wiggling and giggling, the teenage girls were whispering, the women were looking stoic and the men looked uncomfortable.

I wanted to get up and bolt right then and there. 4 Altar girls. Some woman running around playing conductor. Just to many dern women running the church. I am all for equality but lets be honest. The women dominate the American Catholic Church.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Leo XIII said...

Dear Vir,
In my eastern Catholic (Ukrainian) parish, the priest washed the feet of 12 men, all of whom were selected by the subdeacon.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Kevin - "pax tecum" said...

Our Parish Priest would never even entertain the thought...thank goodness...

8:27 AM  
Blogger Hail3N1 said...

Any priest/bishop who washes a female's feet on Holy Thursday, deserves the one which is pictured.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Alli said...

Fr. P loves to torture me, I think.
He told Adam to ask me one Sunday if I would like to be one of the people whose feet he washed on Holy Thursday, and doubled over laughing at my expression (of horror, thank you very much).

Too bad you ran off so quickly that week, it was hilarious.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Alli said...

Oh, and naturally at my parish in Orange County (some of my friends and I like to speculate whether there will EVER be a TLM here...), there were a couple of Ladies Pedicures... but I've come to expect that.
In Charlotte, bless him, Bishop Jugis won't have any of that nonsense.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Vetus Melius Est said...

VIR Speluncæ Catholicus,
You may be certain that no mulieri were recipients of the Mandatum in my Parish. In the past, however, the priest has - on occasion - washed the feet of one or two of the older, faithful (home-schooled) altar boys (alongside the viri selecti) who have been like true, though young, apostles in their unwavering dedication to serving the Mass. Their assistance at the Traditional Mass, practically on a daily basis, has been more than crucial in Father's work of re-introducing Catholic identity in the Parish.

But I have never seen women having their feet washed in the Parish. Father makes no mistake about how much he depends on the help of good, faithful, holy women. However, he neither makes apologies for their exclusion from the Mandatum since women were not apostles, and the Lord washed no women's feet on that first Holy Thursday.

As a matter of Scriptural historicity, the only time women were ever involved in the activity of foot washing was when they, themselves, were doing the washing - I, of course, speak of the episode of the sinful woman washing our Lord's feet w/ her tears and drying them w/ her hair in the home of the Pharisee.

Maybe next year, after the priest has finished washing the men's feet, some faithful mulieri selecti could come forward and wash his feet.......

11:29 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

At our parish, as usual, anybody and everybody had the opportunity to have their feet washed. The priest washed the feet of 12 adults - mostly women. Then those whose feet the priest washed would wash the feet of anyone who came forward. As each person had their feet washed they would then wash the feet of the next person. About 50% of those present went up to have their feet washed. Typical abuse for this parish/diocese.


2:18 PM  
Blogger Celibatarian said...

3 men (I was one), 3 women, 3 boys and 3 girls. All of us from RCIA. Some how I just knew that we would celebrate it in the PCF (Politically Correct Form). [sacrasm] oh yes there are three forms in the latin rite. The old way, the new way, and the way that the spirit of Vatican II would have wanted it. [/sarcasm] We don’t have an extraordinary form within 200 miles as far as I know and being a candidate coming in this year I can only imagine what things are supposed to look like from seeing them done wrong and then trying to piece together in my mind how it should be from what I read here and at other tradition sites.

One thing I did enjoy that night was when Our Lord, in the monstrance, was being taken to the adoration chapel for vigil. Many people genuflected but most just bowed a little as He passed by. I couldn’t help but take a knee and bow my head as He passed. It simply made sense to do so. But then, out of the corner of my eye I saw all three of those little boys next to me doing the same. It was very satisfying and encouraging. It was also a humbling reminder of why we need to do things right. The single mom of one of the boys, one of the three women getting her feet washed seemed a little surprised. It was like I had three little shadows.

Oh and don't get me started on the Life Teen mass. I will end up having to go to confession if I dwell on it too long.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

No WOMEN's feet were washed at my Church, The Carmelites, myself, and the Litugical director are having none of that! :)

4:10 PM  
Blogger Kasia said...

Last year we had men only. This year - new pastor - there were women and kids.

All I can say is that I was offered the opportunity to volunteer to have my feet washed - twice - and declined to volunteer both times. I can't stop 'em, but I don't have to participate.

8:54 PM  

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