Washing hands instead of feet on Holy Thursday? (was: Washington of ha da instradare of fertile...)
  • In my community the Triduum is celebrated in the Chapel of our retired members. Foot washing on Holy Thursday is a problem. Is there any concession for washing the hands instead of the feet?
  • No, but the foot washing is optional, so just leave it out. It wasn't added to the Mass until 1955 anyway, so you'd be in continuity with centuries of tradition.
    Thanked by 2CCooze rschi123
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,006
    And, lest we forget, the washing of the hands has a very different connotation in the context of the Triduum from the washing of the feet. It would be better to wash footwear (on the foot) if the licit option of omitting the rite is not something anyone would consider in that community.

    PS: If a moderator can correct the caption of this thread, it might be helpful. (I suspect it should be "Washing hands instead of feet on Holy Thursday?")
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,460
    PS: If a moderator can correct the caption of this thread, it might be helpful. (I suspect it should be "Washing hands instead of feet on Holy Thursday?")


    I like it the way it is.
  • I recommend omitting the rite.

    I second the recommendation that the title be fixed. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to see when I clicked on it -- but somehow I clicked on it anyway.

    And finally, as a matter of historical interest, in England the custom of having royalty wash the feet of selected men existed in the Tudor period. I'm still trying to figure out if it was conducted with the aid of the Church, inside the Church, outside the Church building or something else.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • I oppose fixing the title. I would not have clicked on it if not for the interesting title.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,183
    I compromised.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • To me the title is nonsense.
    Does it mean something?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,183
    No; it appears to have been garbled typing or imperfect speech recognition.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Drat!
    I thought it might have been a clever bon mot.
    Thanked by 1JL
  • in England the custom of having royalty wash the feet of selected men existed in the Tudor period. I'm still trying to figure out if it was conducted with the aid of the Church, inside the Church, outside the Church building or something else.


    It was part of the Royal Maundy Service, which happens to this day but without the washing. There is some information on the service here, on the Monarchy's website. Wikipedia also has quite a lot to say on the subject.
  • Looks like Italian autocorrect.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • Footwashing before 1955 was a separate service in cathedrals, monasteries and at royal courts (the Catholic Encyclopedia mentions specifically the Courts of Spain and Austria; the latter had washing of the feet of men by the Emperor and the washing of the feet of women by the Empress).
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    Handwashing?
    Oh, yes, please let us do that!

    And make sure the washers know they can wander down the aisles
    hunting for the person they want, and coax them repeatedly
    to a distant washing station.

    But invite anyone to stay for Adoration until midnight?
    Are you serious??!!
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CharlesW
  • Of course, EFT, one could simply wash one's hands of the problem, right? The rite is optional, after all.
    Thanked by 2CCooze tomjaw
  • Just a reminder of this absolute legend of a thread.

    Washington of ha da instradare of fertile in Holy Thursday?"

    Happy Sunday!
  • “Washington of ha da instradare of fertile in Holy Thursday?"

    Artificial intelligence: Just like the real thing, only not.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • Simon Peter saith to him: Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head

    we are not told that our Lord then proceeded to wash Peter's hands.
    I agree with previous. It's optional; either perform the rite as laid down by the Church, or leave it out.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    My pastor decided that it had become so politicized it would be better to leave it out. It is optional.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,784
    The thing is: the rite is the rite.

    That rite consists of washing men’s feet “in persona apostles”.

    If people don’t want to do the rite as it is, it is better not to maim it and turn it into something it isn’t. To make ahistorical adaptations (deformations) to the rite seems grossly inappropriate, IMHO.

    Let us do it as it has been received. Not another way to suit our own whims or agendas.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 429
    That rite consists of washing men’s feet “in persona apostles”.


    I disagree somewhat with this statement. The recent change in rubrics indicates that the feet of anyone may be washed, not just men. The Mandatum wouldn't have been performed in mediaeval convents if this was about a re-presentation of the foot-washing performed by Christ. Rather, this is taking up the command noted in what used to be the Communio for this Mass (and has now been moved to second antiphon during the Mandatum):

    "The Lord Jesus, after eating supper with his disciples,
    washed their feet and said to them:
    Do you know what I, your Lord and Master, have done for you?
    I have given you an example, that you should do likewise.


    Thanked by 3a_f_hawkins Liam fcb
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,784
    The recent change in rubrics indicates that the feet of anyone may be washed, not just men.
    The rubrics used to specifically refer to “viri” (men). The recent change is an innovation and not how the rite was received after a millennia of clear tradition.
  • Liam
    Posts: 5,006
    Well, fwiw, the innovation was including it within the Mass of the Lord's Supper (first time in 1956). It was its own ritual long before that, and used in many different contexts that were not limited to clerics washing men's feet. Tweaking the innovation not very long after its introduction is not messing with a millennia of clear liturgical tradition.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,784
    fair enough.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 429
    It was its own ritual long before that, and used in many different contexts that were not limited to clerics washing men's feet.

    This exactly.

    However, I think we can all agree it never included hands (or Washington of ha da).
    Thanked by 2Carol tomjaw
  • Carol
    Posts: 856
    I just came back from our Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper. No Washing of the Feet. It bothered me and I thought I might find something here to educate me. I am grateful to read that it is licit to omit it and surprised to learn that it is such a recent addition. I know my pastor is a stickler for following the rubrics and now I understand this. Thanks again to the members of the forum!
    Thanked by 2tomjaw canadash
  • DL
    Posts: 72
    The thing is, if you want to do it, you need those who are possessed of feet (at least one each) to volunteer/agree to take part. In my experience, people like seeing it done but not having it done to them, which is reasonable I suppose but does create something of an impasse.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 336
    In my experience, people like seeing it done but not having it done to them...

    Yet another venerable tradition:
    Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 276
    I do laugh each year about the washing of feet because it sometimes serves as a point of gossip amongst the old ladies in the parish: “Did you see who got their feet washed!?”
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,043
    My parish didn't wash feet this year because nobody volunteered to have their feet washed. I rather liked the Mass without that ritual. I don't think performing that ritual adds much that is meaningful to the Mass as long as the rest is celebrated well. The priest gave an excellent homily explaining that Christ commanded all of his disciples to wash others' feet, and he explained that we can do that through service to the poor, reaching out to the lonely, loving the cantankerous, reconciling with estranged family members, and in general being Christ to those we encounter; I thought that was sufficient and that performing the ritual would have been superfluous.

    Interestingly, the rubric in the Roman Missal only tepidly proposes that the washing of feet be done:

    10. After the Homily, where a pastoral reason suggests it, the Washing of Feet follows.

    Elsewhere in the Missal, when there is language about something being done for a "pastoral reason," it proposes a nonstandard option.

    The way the rubric is written, it seems that the default or standard practice is not to do a washing of feet, but it may be done if "a pastoral reason suggests it."
    Thanked by 2tomjaw ServiamScores
  • DL
    Posts: 72
    We may assume that Paschale Solemnitatis was fighting something of a rearguard action:
    51. The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came "not to be served, but to serve.This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.

    I wonder whether there are any postconcilar examples of retaining the Mandatum as a separate event, outside the Mass, perhaps with a slap up meal etc. (The Royal Maundy counts I suppose).
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,093
    I’ve long felt that the Royal Maundy was related but distinct from the Mandatum even as done in houses of religious, which is why I don’t have a problem with a bishop (rector, pastor etc.) doing it with men (his priests; seminarians; altar servers or the men of the parish — the ICRSP does it with servers), or a male superior with his charges, and an abbess or prioress doing it with women. Mixing the two is the problem.
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  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,411
    I have always thought the real problem is priests and bishops wanting to avoid looking up women's skirts. Someone had arranged yesterday that all the feet the Pope washed yesterday were protruding from trousers. https://apnews.com/article/pope-vatican-easter-6814e8fdbfadef8de585c35227eaa601
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,093
    I think touching their feet is also sort of odd. Yes, of course, male doctors and male religious nursing the sick do this and vice-versa, but there’s, if not strict privacy in the sense of a separate room, discretion and respect that the Mandatum turned into something theatrical for its own sake doesn’t have.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,735
    My parish priest (Fr. James Carolin) always did this on Maundy Thursday, he washed the feet of twelve of the servers, we had so many servers that this was not a problem so we had plenty to serve the Mass with the 12 remaining in choir. This was in the 1980's to early 1990's the main Mass on Sunday and major feasts was always in Latin N.O.

    As one gets older, my appreciation for the first parish priest I was aquatinted with grows stronger.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • LenaH
    Posts: 34
    At our parish, the altar servers' feet were washed, with the hope that some day, one at least might be called to be a priest.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    Our last pastor banned foot washing because he said it had become too political. He may have had a point.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw ServiamScores