Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Feet First

From the current edition of The Tablet:

Mean Feat
CONTINUING CONTROVERSY over the Pope's revision of the Good Friday prayer for the Jews in the old rite, which continues to appeal for their conversion to Christianity, may have masked for some another significant difference between old and new rite in one of the ceremonies taking place during Holy Week: the washing of the feet at the Maundy Thursday Mass.
In the new rite the presiding priest washes the feet of 12 men and women from the congregation in a re-enactment of Christ's washing of his Apostles' feet. However, if the ceremony is used in the Tridentine Rite, only men's feet can be washed. Gordon Dimon, Master of Ceremonies for the Latin Mass Society, told us this week that it is against the rules for the priest to wash women's feet.
"It would not be considered faithful to the rubrics. There would be no question of women's feet being washed. There is no sexism, it is a matter of decorum," he said.
Er, I was under the impression that the new rite said exactly the same thing. Not (I observe ruefully) that it is always easy in every parish to practise what the law requires in this instance.

5 comments:

leutgeb said...

I've never seen women having their feet washed, nor noted any wish for it to happen.

Given that my Dad almost hides in his seat, until the hand of fate, in the form of one of his friends rests on his shoulder to ask him to do it, I don't know why any woman would be feeling left out at this moment. Save the collection of Holy Pictures etc that my Dad has built up. Oh the unfairness of it all ....sigh :-)

Old Believer said...

In the Tridentine rite the feet of thirteen men are washed, not twelve.

Pastor in Valle said...

Old believer: I'm not sure what your source for this is. Fortescue agrees with you, but doesn't cite his source (presumably something in the SCR or simply customary). The missal (in this case 1938) makes no mention of a number at all.
1962 (which has the washing of feet within the Mass) very clearly says 12: In medio presbyterii, vel in ipsa aula ecclesiae, parata sint sedilia hinc inde pro duodecim viris…

Mac McLernon said...

It should be perfectly possible in any parish... you don't need twelve men, just some men...

Old believer said...

For thirteen men in the service of the Mandatum vide: Caeremoniale Episcoporum Liber II, Caput XXIV. To the good Dr. Fortescue one could add the authority of Bauldy, Gavantus, Martinucci, Moretti, Le Vavasseur, De Herdt, Van der Stappen et al.