"In parishes around the world, Holy Thursday has been a sad and sometimes sacrilegious side show for years. Now the side show is official."No doubt readers know to what she is referring, Pope Francis authorizing the washing of women's feet on Holy Thursday. Of course it's been going on for years with priests disobeying Holy Mother Church. The pope himself engaged in the disobedient practice in Argentina. So is it any wonder that he would now institutionalize the disobedience when he has the chance?
But really, what difference does it make, you may ask? I can think of several reasons.
- It removes the connection to the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and made it clear that their role was to be servants of the people of God -- not princes, not tyrants, but servants. Jesus was, in effect, teaching about the role of priests in His Church. That meaning is now lost. The foot washing no longer has anything to do with the relationship of priests to Holy Mother Church. I think that is a tragic loss.
- The women's ordination movement is chortling. They clearly understand the connection between the foot washing and the priesthood. Here's what Erin Hanna, co-director of the Women's Ordination Conference, told Reuters. “This is great news, a wonderful step forward. This means that change is possible, doors seem to be opening in the Vatican. Anyone with half a brain can see that the "change" she sees is the possibility of women's ordination.
- There is something inherently undignified about putting a priest at a level of a woman's knees especially if she is wearing a short skirt. Look carefully at the above picture of Pope Francis when he was still Bergoglio and tell me where a kneeling priest's eyes are tempted to look when he bends over. Are pastors going to give women a dress code? No mini skirts please! Do you think that would fly with the feminists in the Church?
Pope Benedict used to wash the feet of priests. Now that makes total sense! Jesus also washed the feet of His first priests. Pope Francis' decision to wash women's feet, on the other hand, makes no sense. It is a complete break with tradition. I suppose it represents just one more of his "surprises." And no one can convince me that this is a "surprise" from the Holy Spirit. I do wonder, though. We are always hearing about how the pope loves to consult with his bishops, that he is just one among them, the Bishop of Rome. What do you think? How many of the world's bishops did he consult before making this autocratic decision?