Stupid protests

Stupid protests

Of all the stupid things to protest, a group of women are going to protest in Atlanta because they can’t have their feet washed on Holy Thursday.

The Church’s liturgical discipline calls for viri, a Latin word that specifically means “men” to be the ones to receive foot washing, because they represent the apostles. That’s important because part of the Church’s explanation of why ordination is reserved to men is that Jesus only chose men to be apostles, and thus Christ’s calling has become the primary example for us to follow. Holy Thursday is about the institution of the priesthood. And because most parishes don’t have 12 priests assigned, other men must be brought to represent the priesthood. So what this protest is really about is women’s ordination, once again.

“We’ll stand in solidarity, and we’ll sing and we’ll pray,” said Lalor Cadley, a Catholic who runs spiritual retreats and workshops but does not work for the archdiocese.

I can’t imagine how good her retreats must be.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
10 comments
  • Dom,

    I am aware that Liturgical rules specifiy men and that The Congregation for Divine Worship
    Approved by His Holiness Pope John Paul II
    Promulgated January 16, 1988 mentions that men only.

    Where does Canon Law say this?

  • Wow.
    I was unaware of this.  In this parish-and many parishes I’ve been in people either came forward during the foot washing or were asked to be a part of the foot washing.

    Here we have asked people who have served Christ and His people-volunteers, Confirmandi, etc.  This isn’t alright?

  • I meant to add that yes, this is a stupid protest. Why not use their energy for something more productive, say poverty or hunger or real human suffering?

    man, sometimes my gender, i tell ya…

  • Sorry, I had canon law on the brain and misspoke. I’ll edit the post to fix that.

    But Richard is right, it is part of the rules specified by the Congregation for Divine Worship and universally ignored with the acquiescence of bishops, just like the altar girl thing several years ago before the Vatican caved on that.

  • Dom, this may enlighten also
    ZENIT – The World Seen From Rome

    Code: ZE04032321
    Date: 2004-03-23

    Washing of Women’s Feet on Holy Thursday?

    A-2: 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.

    A-3: The rite of the washing of feet is not obligatory and may be legitimately omitted. However, this is usually not pastorally advisable.

    While the rite may not be delegated to a non-priest, a concelebrant may substitute the main celebrant for a good reason.

    The rubrics describing this rite are limited to the essentials (selected men sit in a suitable place) and so allow for practical adaptations to the realities of place, time and circumstances.

    Thus, taking the example of our Holy Father, as he has grown older, and less able to bend over, the seats of those whose feet he washed were first elevated so that he could continue to perform the rite. But in the last year or so he has been substituted by a cardinal.

    Thus, if possible, the seats used by those whose feet are to be washed should be elevated, so that an elderly priest need not stoop too much.

    If this solution is not feasible, I do not think it is contrary to the overall sense of the rite to find other practical solutions resulting in a similar effect, provided the rite be carried out with decorum.

    (THE ABOVE DOES NOT HOLD IF PERMISSION FROM THE HOLY SEE HAS BEEN GRANTED TO DO—this is my expressed view. And I do not know if any permission has been given. If the USCCB can show proof of permission it would be greatly apprecisted)

  • Many parishes started to wash the feet of women on Holy Thursday, given that women were permitted to be servers, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, lectors, etc.

    I believe they acted in ignorance.  However, once the six-men six-women precedent was established it has become impossible to implement the rubric as written.

    Pastors have to pick their battles.  I cannot put this particular one at the top of the list where it’s become a “tradition” so much so that people no longer remember when it was done for men only.

  • What we are seeing here is sympton of bishops and priests not being as little children and putting trust and confidence in the Father of the Family of the Church, the Holy Father.

    They often shake their finger at us for not submitting to their authority. We are supposed to be like little children and have trust and confidence in them. They seem to exempt themselves.

    There is a great need of “Obedience which is nothing more than Love rendered to the Lord and His Vicar.

    When will the Sacred Liturgy stop being used as dividing the oneness of the Church?

  • If the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life and the priesthood is fundamental to the Eucharist, then a correct understanding of the priesthood is extremely important. You have to start somewhere in the long battle against misunderstanding, lack of knowledge, and dissent. Where would you propose they start?

  • Pmac,
    Are you saying that it is “stupid” that the good Bishop is submiting his will the to will of the Holy Father?  After all, this is an issue of “obedience” to lawful authority to whom he did promise to submit.

  • I would agree that some degree of explanation should accompany such orders for them to be effective.

    However, I would disagree that you need to reestablish a sense of authority before you can make such orders. How do you do that except by issuing orders for people who are disobeying Church teaching to stop?

    The best way for a bishop to establish his authority is to exercise it and people appreciate it when they are given clear teaching on what the Church believes and does.

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