Every year, before Easter, the Catholic Church celebrates Holy Week. Holy Week is good time for the smells and bells Catholics. It’s a different week in the liturgical year — palms, parts of the Gospel read outside of the Church, empty tabernacles. And incense. Lots of incense. All designed to let you know that this week is different.
One of the unofficial rituals is carping over the Holy Thursday’s washing of feet. During the Holy Thursday mass there is an optional ritual — the washing of feet. During this ritual the celebrant imitates Jesus’ washing his disciples feet at the last super. This is supposed to remind the celebrant that he is a servant of the community. On occasion the reminder has lasted until Easter.
Now, in a classical “Blessed are the makers of all dairy products” moment, there is a great deal of argument over what kind of people should have their feet washed, ie, should they be men or women? The instructions from the Vatican are quite clear; they people having their feet washed should be men. The 12 apostles, were, after all, men. Some claim we should follow His example. But, others are clearly upset that women are excluded.
What to do?
I have three proposals for modifying the rite.
Proposal one: Jesus didn’t just wash men’s feet. No, the interpretation is rather more particular about it then that. In my modified rite #1, the twelve foot washees must have names identical to the twelve apostles. Otherwise, confusion among the faithful might result and people might not realize that the people having their feet washed represent the twelve apostles.
Proposal two: Jesus didn’t just wash men’s feet. No, he washed first century Jews feet. I’m willing to give in on the first century part, but for proposal two the twelve people having their feet washed must be Jewish. And have names identical to the twelve apostles.
Proposal three: Holy Thursday is considered to be when the apostles were ordained (note: this means they all bailed on Him after ordination), therefor — all twelve foot washees must be bishops. Converted from Judaism. With names matching the twelve apostles.