No “viri” here

No “viri” here

Last year, several bishops made news by upholding the Church’s rules concerning who gets their feet washed on Holy Thursday. The Church has said that the 12 people chosen for the service should be men (viri selecti), to reflect the apostles who were washed by Jesus. Like so much else, this rubric had been generally ignored in most places. But among those reiterating the rule last year was then-Atlanta Archbishop John Donoghue.

That appears to have been a short-lived change. Donoghue’s successor, Archbishop Wilton “the scandal is history” Gregory, has apparently decided that violating the Roman Missal’s rubric is just fine.

Under the former archbishop, Atlanta had garnered a reputation as being a place where orthodox Catholicism was growing. Vocations had increased, traditional devotions were flourishing, the pews were filling. Looks like a new wind is blowing through the South.

Remember when I said that post-Scandal the Vatican was making better episcopal appointments? Never mind.

  • In reading the linked piece about Abp. Donoghue, I noticed that at least two of Atlanta’s seminarians are being trained at Mt. St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, MD.  That seminary is well-known for turning out what the libs like to call “arch-conservative priests.”  It’s the kind of place where real Catholic moral theology is taught, rather than the “Loopholes 101-102” taught at the more “progressive” seminaries.  You can be sure that at Mt. St. Mary’s, the opinions of Charles Curran aren’t given the same weight as consistent, universal Church teaching (as, for example, was done at St. John’s in Brighton).

    Here’s a no-money wager offered for any takers:  within a year, Atlanta—under Wilton “the scandal is behind us” Gregory—will no longer send young men to Emmitsburg for preparation as priests.  I’m guessing St. Mary’s in Baltimore, Mundelein in Chicago, the Josephinum in Ohio or St. Meinrad’s in Indiana.  All of which are good, “progressive” seminaries.

    Any takers?

  • I too am an alumnus of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Class of 1999, and Fr. Brian Higgins, the vocation directo in the Archdiocese of Atlanta is a seminary class mat of mine. I can remember while being in my first priestly assignment following ordination, I was put in charge of planning the Triduum, and I followed the directives of the Roman Missal regarding the Mundatum, by using only men. All in all it was received very positively by most of the parish, however, there was a contingent of M.S.C. sisters that visited for the Holy Thursday mass and they informed me that they were offended that this practice was followed. I told them that the rubrics stated rather directly viri slecti, and they obviously did not buy it, but ever since we have only observed the directives of the GIRM with regard to Holy Thursday and the Triduum.. As for the archdiocese of Atlanta, I can see a great undoing of may great things accomplished by Archbishop Donoghue.

  • I won’t say “relax guys” because I agree with every and all on this score, but the viri selecti tradition/discipline is pretty much dead in the water—one more AmChurch casualty.  Look at the incrimental disobedience in the US and Canada (and western Europe) we all saw on the altar girl issue.  The protocol is this: stop obeying the GIRM here and there for long enough and the Holy See will eventually obey *you.*  As the altar boys, so the viri selecti.  Does even the most optimistic orthodox Catholic doubt this? 

  • I’m trying to imagine what it must be like to be a priest living with this sort of inconsistency.  The issue is not which of the particular Churches a priest belongs to, but rather which seminary he graduated from, that determines what theology he believes in.

    As confusing as this is for the laity, it must be doubly so for priests who surely have to be very cautious in large gatherings about what they say and who could possibly overhear it.

    With all the talk of ecumenism among other ecclesial communities and religions, it surely does seem that ecumenism should begin at home!  It hasn’t always been this way.

    I’ll cast my vote with the rubrics on the feet-washing issue, not that anyone is asking.  There is something that just doesn’t sit well with me about a priest washing a woman’s foot.  The act is just a little too intimate.

  • That appears to have been a short-lived change. Donoghuemuch; and he that is unrighteous in the least is unrighteous also in much.

    He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

    He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much.

    The man who is honest in a very small matter is honest in a great one also; and he who is dishonest in a very small matter is dishonest in a great one also.

    He who is faithful in the least, ‘is’ also faithful in much; and he who in the least ‘is’ unrighteous, is also unrighteous in much;——-

    It’s about obedience & faithfulness in love – big and small things.

  • Right you are, Seamole o’ mine! I was privileged to be at that Mass last Chrism Tuesday. The homily on sermons was riveting!

    Peggy: Amen!

    At the moment, itl>
    2005-03-08 09:50:40
    2005-03-08 13:50:40
    Thanks Peggy! I am a bit slow this AM LOL!!

  • Peggy & Nan,
    While I’m completely opposed to altar girls, I see no problem with married and older women who are not called to religious life to be instituted as EMHCs, in parishes where there is a scarcity of acolytes. 

    Once instituted as an EMHC, the provisions of Canon 911 apply:

    Can. 911
    2005-03-20 11:41:26
    2005-03-20 15:41:26
    For the past several years in the Diocese of Arlington, the bishop has eliminated the practice of the Washing of Feet on Holy Thursday in all parishes of the Diocese, replacing it with a collection of food items for the poor. This in response to all the whining going on.

  • I read today that Abp. O’Malley also caved on the washing of women’s feet.  He reportedly appealed to Rome to allow it and Rome agreed.  What is going on?  Even the ‘good ones’ are questionable.  A prelate with a spine is an endangered species in this country!

  • Whoa, I’m doing this too late.  Kelly, I missed your link.  Must have…sleep.

  • midwestmom:

    It may be within the perogative of the Holy See to grant a particular diocese an indulgence for a particular disciplinary practice. They probably owe him one for sticking him in an assignment like Boston.

  • David,
    What Arlington did sounds like a “pastoral” response.  Rome did not give Boston an indulgence, but merely reiterated the general “pastoral reason” exception available to bishops and priests to modify any liturgical ceremonies.  Archbishop O’Malley has not explained what his “pastoral” reason was.

  • Seamole: Since posting, I’ve heard the same from our diocese. Actually, it’s an option, otherwise the practice of foot-washing is to be done as prescribed. As to the “pastoral reason” option, I heard about that too from the same source. These things can be a headache for a bishop, who usually has more pressling matters. There is no “justice” issue here, because having your feet washed by a priest is more a privilege than an entitlement.