Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Washing of Feet on Holy Thursday

The US Bishops' Liturgy Committee issued the following statement on February 16, 1987:
... it has become customary in many places [in the United States] to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the church and to the world ... in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service.
HOWEVER, in 1988, the Congregation for Divine Worship (Vatican) reissued the rubrics for Holy Week:
“The washing of the feet of chosen men (viri selecti) which, according to tradition, is performed on this day (Holy Thursday), 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. (Congregation for Divine Worship, "Preparing and Celebrating the Paschal Feasts," January 16, 1988).
PADRE POINT: Regardless whether one agrees or disagrees on the matter, "...no other person, not even a priest, may add, remove, change anything in the liturgy on his own authority" (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, no. 23).

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