For those of you thinking that this is a tad too politically correct to be in line with Our Lord’s purpose of washing the feet of His apostles, and with the mind of the Church when including this ritual in the Liturgy on Maundy Thursday, the following article entitled The Washing of Feet on Maundy Thursday, by Ernest Graf, O.S.B. – extract below – will be of much interest:
“The ceremony is an integral part of the ritual of Maundy Thursday, and should not be omitted wherever the day is observed with full liturgical splendor. The ritual is simple, but varies somewhat according to different countries.
The bishop, or celebrant, is vested in a purple cope, assisted by a deacon and subdeacon in white dalmatics. The deacon begins by singing the Gospel of the Mass (John, xiii. 1—15), which contains an account of Our Lord’s washing of the Apostles’ feet. The celebrant then puts off the cope and a white towel is tied round his waist. Kneeling in turn before each of the “apostles,” he washes the feet (or the right foot) with water poured out by the deacon, wipes the foot with a towel and kisses it. When he has washed the feet of all, he washes his hands, resumes the cope, and chants the beautiful prayer in which he prays that the Lord God Himself would help him worthily to imitate His own example according as He commanded, to the end that, even as by this ceremony external and purely material stains are washed away, so the sins that are within may be blotted out from the souls of all. These words sufficiently explain the twofold purpose of the rite: on the one hand, we obey Our Lord’s injunction to do to one another what He first did to His Apostles, and secondly, the rite is no mere imitative gesture devoid of spiritual virtue, for no rite of the Church is ever barren; on the contrary, it is a sacramental, endowed with spiritual energy for the cleansing of the soul from such lighter sins as are symbolized by the dust that clings to the feet of a wayfarer.” (Emphasis added).
Click here to read entire article on the history and significance of the Washing of the Feet on Maundy Thursday.
So, is it correct to argue that Jesus would be fine with the Pope or any bishop or priest using the Maundy Thursday washing the feet as an act of symbolic charity or mercy, or as a way of portraying “a more inclusive Church” – or would He have a very different perspective on the matter?