Sunday, March 27, 2016

What is the meaning of this?

The long-established association of the Maundy Thurday foot washing service with our Lord's washing of His Apostles' feet in the Upper Room before His Passion has been turned on its head in recent times by the practice of opening up the rite to women, Middle Eastern refugees, including Copts, Muslims, and most recently, a Hindu.

Whatever the rite may now be intended to signify -- humility, a servant spirit, a spirit of ecumenism and inter-religious amicability, or, as some have suggested, a theologically-indifferentist politicizing of the rite -- there is little doubt that the Catholic faithful (as well as the watching world) may be scratching their heads and wondering exactly what all this is intended to mean. What does it mean to the Muslim? the Hindu? to Bill Mauer? What does it mean to Pope Francis? I wonder.

What it means to traditional Catholics is not hard to guess. For a good round table discussion of the issue (with five panelists), see the latest Download discussion from March 23, 2016 - Foot Washing (Church Militant, March 23, 2016). They offer a great historical survey and fair-minded discussion of the issue.


James Joseph


Anybody else wondering if the girl is single?

Edward Axton


The Lord reminded his disciples to not give to dogs what is holy, nor cast pearls before swine (St. Matthew 7:6). Dogs and swine cannot help themselves. However, popes should know better.

Michael Leahy


I think we can safely say that the practice is fairly devoid of sacramental meaning now. It seem's no more important than a thumbs up, if a little more embarrassing. One unintended positive consequence is that those feminists who saw in the practice a key to women ministry will now find this impossible to assert. Anybody can have their feet washed, by a pope or a priest. Possibly, one's pet dog or, though presenting some practical quandaries, snake can expect to be soon volunteered. The meaning of foot-washing has been washed away.



The Pope does not seem concerned with providing European or North American Catholics with much affirmation of the propositional theology or morality on which they have previously been fed. He appears instead to want to emphasis the peculiar 'sign of contradiction' and mercy that Jesus made himself to be, by confounding former ways and expectations.

This mentality will continue to create scenes that are as strange to eyes as those 'Hard Sayings of Jesus' are to ears. It's like Francis thinks he is a walking Red Letter New Testament (or better yet maybe Jefferson Bible, since he also seems adverse to much of Paul's Letters or the Apocalypse!) I'd argue that as the Vicar of Christ, versus Christ himself, he is attempting to copy aspects of the Passion Play that can't be properly repeated by humans, the famous Saint Francis notwithstanding.

A bigger problem is that as Popes give the impression that preconciliar councils/ideas don't much matter ("doctrine!"), a Church that claims to be the custodian of Tradition will have more and more credibility problems. For my money Francis seems like an inverted Catholic Donald Trump, propelling everything by the force of charisma an populist frustration. The Evangelicals appeal to the Bible, but right now it seems like Catholics appeal to... whatever version of the Biblical story this likable Pope is most inclined to embrace.

Catholicism has gone from Garrigou-Lagrange and Fulton J. Sheen to a hybrid of Oscar Romero and Hans von Barth. And Rome's verbal and visual messaging reflects the confusing state of affairs, one laymen can't very much follow or explain but can intuitively sense represents a pile of contradictions. Be Nice; Be Pro Immigration! Don't Use Birth Control; Lighten Up on Marriage and Sex Restrictions! Meanwhile Frs. Barron and McCloskey and Mr. Akin will continue to cue up prolix explanations on how things have never been freer and better, even as the the additional albatross of 60 years of architectural terrorism is an impossible to ignore ankle-weight reminder. And I imagine many of those photographed will most likely never...wash...their...feet again. Just the same way the people at Zayne's concert felt last night...

Amateur Brain Surgeon


It means our Inertia Into Indifferentism has intensified and increased in speed and still invisibilium within the hierarchy is a prelate whose puissant possession of Tradition is such that it could be applied as a force against this inertia.

Paul Borealis


People of God = human race, all people?

"Indeed, “it is expressed in the sharing of material goods, so that no one be left in need”. It is, moreover, “the lifestyle that God suggests, even to non-Christians, as the authentic path of humanity.” [...] Many of these young people are not Catholic. Therefore this gesture by Pope Francis takes on even more eloquence. It points to respect as the royal road to peace. Respect means being aware that there is another person beside me. A person who walks with me, suffers with me, rejoices with me. A person whom, one day, I may one day lean on for support. By washing the feet of refugees, Pope Francis implores respect for each one of them."

"Service was a major theme of the Holy Thursday liturgy: Pope Francis, in imitation of Christ at the Last Supper, performed the ritual washing of the feet of a dozen people – eleven guests of the C.A.R.A. Centre and one woman who works at the Centre for Auxilium. Four of the guests taking part in the ritual were Nigerian Catholics, three others – all three women – were Coptic Christians from Eritrea, three others were Muslims from Syria, Pakistan and Mali, and one was an Indian Hindu.

The majority of the guests at the facility are Muslim, and there are many Protestants and Coptic Christians as well – though the Auxilium group that operates the Centre – since 2014 – informs that there has never been any tension as a result of the religious diversity of the guests, and that among all the guests and Auxilium staff there was enormous enthusiasm for the Papal visit."

"In order that the full meaning of this rite might be expressed to those who participate it seemed good to the Supreme Pontiff Pope Francis to vary the norm which is found in the rubrics of the Missale Romanum (p. 300 n. 11): «The men who have been chosen are led by the ministers…», which therefore must be changed as follows: «Those who are chosen from amongst the people of God are led by the ministers…» (and consequently in the Caeremoniali Episcoporum n. 301 and n. 299b: «seats for those chosen»), so that pastors may select a small group of the faithful to represent the variety and the unity of each part of the people of God. Such small groups can be made up of men and women, and it is appropriate that they consist of people young and old, healthy and sick, clerics, consecrated men and women and laity."

"The current change foresees that individuals may be chosen from amongst all the members of the people of God. The significance does not now relate so much to the exterior imitation of what Jesus has done, rather as to the meaning of what he has accomplished which has a universal importance, namely the giving of himself «to the end» for the salvation of the human race, his charity which embraces all people and which makes all people brothers and sisters by following his example. In fact, the exemplum that he has given to us so that we might do as he has done goes beyond the physical washing of the feet of others to embrace everything that such a gesture expresses in service of the tangible love of our neighbour. All the antiphons proposed in the Missale during the washing of feet recall and illustrate the meaning of this gesture both for those who carry it out and for those who receive it as well as for those who look on and interiorise it through the chant."

Zbigniew Brzezinski


I do not believe that the washing of feet was ever considered anything more than a tin-eared gesture of "the high shall be brought low" or "the meek shall inherit the earth" variety. As such, it probably appealed (or was thought to appeal) to humble pew dwellers of old. And it most definitely whets the appetites of modernists and semi-marxian Catholics, who treasure the self-abnegation of others, and who have a litany of their favorite "humble" victim groups tattooed on the hind parts for easy access. So, as James Taylor warbled about the beady-eyed president brought low, "line 'em up, line 'em all up": women, homosexuals (apparently "the high shall be brought low" applies to orifices too, as does "the back shall be made front"), non-whites of every rainbow shade, illegals, convicts, "refugees," etc etc. Lose the socks if you wear them, brothers and sisters, and prepare your doggies for holy oil, unless His Excellency can wring out a sufficient supply of crocodile tears to do the job.

Pertinacious Papist


"Zbigniew Brzezinski" ... LOL

Mark Citadel


It can be called bizarre. I have other choice words for it I won't repeat.