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Author Topic: Question about Holy Thursday Liturgy  (Read 2067 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jennifer
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« on: April 28, 2005, 05:41:21 PM »

I missed liturgy this morning because I had a training session for my new job which starts next week.  Does the priest wash everyone's feet or just a small group? 

Also, there was a big scandal this year at my parents' RC parish because the priest refused to wash women's feet.  He was forced to do it anyway and he preached about how women who wanted their feet washed thought they were above God.  My former conservative RC priest washed women's feet so I didn't know that was an issue.  Has anyone heard about this being controversial? 

Personally I'd rather not have my feet washed. 
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2005, 05:43:10 PM »

Huh.  I don't remember any feet being washed this morning.  I probably missed it if it happened at the end, since I had to leave right after communion to make it back to campus for a final, though.  Is the feet washing (foot washing?  feets washing? *shrug*) always part of the service?
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2005, 06:29:03 PM »

It's part of some church's customs. Sometimes it takes the form of the Bishop washing the feet of the priests who serve with him in Cathedrals. But it's not always done--Ive never been to a parish that did it.
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2005, 06:40:29 PM »

Usually the Bishop washes the feet of the priests under his authority as a "symbolic" action according to the example given by the Lord as He washed the Disciples' Feet (John 13:5-17).

I think that when people take literally the words of God it ends up into comic or tragic situations. I think that the incident with the ladies with the persistent demand to have their feet washed by their priest is a comic one. It does not have any "theological" consequences. Maybe the priest knew these ladies personally and for that he said that "they thought they were above God".

Their persistence just shows that they fail to realize the meaning of Christ’s example. For if they had apprehend His example they should have asked to wash priest's feet in order to server him, rather than having the demand to be served by him.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2005, 06:42:22 PM by lpap » Logged

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Jennifer
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2005, 06:45:24 PM »

Women had always had their feet washed in this parish.  One of the women was a good friend of my parents.  She's a very pious woman.  She doesn't think she's above God. She apparently was reduced to tears during the homily. 

I don't think it was "persistence" but rather that this had always happened in this parish.  The new assistant priest refused to do it and was overruled by the main priest. 
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2005, 06:52:06 PM »

This article may be relevant to this particular controversy in the Latin church:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/03/19/omalley_to_wash_womens_feet_in_rite/
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2005, 07:12:44 PM »

Ok. I think I see now what happened.

The real issue in the case that a tradition is denied is about doing a blind act. I suppose that the previous priest had the humbleness to wash everybody’s feet. Then why did they let him do that for? Maybe they thought that “it was a tradition”, but then weren’t they ever curious to find out what this tradition stands for? Why did they act blindly?

Inside Church life many things come as “they are”. We used to call this: “Church tradition”. But every action in this context is performed by persons. As long these persons ignore that tradition is the way to live in realities of personal relations, they become non-persons participated in predefined roles of a play. That behavior results in incomprehensible relations.

In this case the presence of a charismatic/blessed priest is the only solutions. Because a priest that responds to the behavior of a faithful rather than relating with him/her makes the worse mistake that he could make: to talk with himself about this behavior instead of talking to other persons while listening to them.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2005, 07:16:19 PM by lpap » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2005, 07:17:44 PM »

I dunno,.
I think it may be a bit indecorous these days for men to wash women's feet and vice versa.
Foot washing can be a pretty intimate act.
And it must have been awful in the eighties when plastic shoes were in fashion!
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2005, 07:54:37 PM »

Fascinating. Since I've been attending my current parish for the last couple of years, the priest washes the feet of twelve adults, both genders, in the Rite of Footwashing on Holy Thursday. I've never heard of this being controversial.

P.S. No, I didn't sign up.
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2005, 12:38:09 AM »

I think the practice in the Armenian Church is to only wash the feet of 12 men.  The men, afterall, represent the Apostles, who were male.

Before we got our present priest, our church breifly had another one who was viewed by some as a bit liberal and too "Americanized."  Among other things, he washed the feet of some women on Holy Thursday.  He had 12 persons on the bema (in our church that's what we call the raised place where the altar is.)  I think three of them were women.  He washed the feet of all of them and then, if I remember correctly, a woman from the congregation came up onto the bema and he washed her feet as well.  I was sitting in the balcony next to an elderly woman and I remember her taking part of the veil she had on her head and covering her eyes with it.  It was as if what was happening at the altar was such an abomination, she could not allow her eyes to see it.

I won't give the details, but there was a lot of controversy over this afterwards.

My current priest washes the feet of 12 boys from the Sunday School up on the bema.  Then he moves down to the part of the church that is in front of the bema (but not on it.)  He then invites parents to bring their children and he washes the feet of all of them, regardless of gender.  This has become a much loved gesture and the church unfortunately becomes a bit of a zoo with hundreds of parents bringing their children forth to get their feet washed and annointed by the priest.  I think people feel it is a blessing for their children.  The good thing is that this has brought many people to church who otherwise wouldn't be there and it has encouraged many people to enroll their children in Sunday School who otherwise would not be going.

« Last Edit: March 21, 2006, 01:40:05 AM by Salpy » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2005, 03:36:40 AM »

Also, there was a big scandal this year at my parents' RC parish because the priest refused to wash women's feet.  He was forced to do it anyway and he preached about how women who wanted their feet washed thought they were above God.  My former conservative RC priest washed women's feet so I didn't know that was an issue.  Has anyone heard about this being controversial?

Yes.

I don't see why it caused such a scandal.  The Roman Rite specifies that the number of people's feet to be washed is to be 12, and that these people are to be male.  Therefore, I don't see how the cardinal's wish to wash the feet of twelve men is controversial.

Rome generally tends not to interfere too much with what  bishop does in his own diocese with regard to these matters, and so he probably won't get a slapped wrist or anyything for doing his own thing, but it is certainly not part of the Roman rite to wash women's feet on Maundy Thursday.
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