Images of Pope Francis: Washing a Woman’s Feet

Argentine Cardinal Bergoglio washing the feet of a woman

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16 comments

  1. Lovely. I live in a diocese whose bishop has prohibited the washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday–a move that has been very painful to many in my parish (last year the pastor declined to wash any feet at all). This image will sustain me in Holy Week this year.

  2. An image of service if ever there was one, service to the poor, to women and let it be said to the infant that she cradles. We could be in for a whole new ball game that will invigorate the Church after troubled times.

  3. When I firt saw that picture on Wednesday, my first thought was: those are the feet of a woman.

    I have read several items that discourage the use of women in this important ceremony on Holy Thursday. We need to stress the image and reality of service and inclusion. The Eucharist demands no less. Thank you for highighting the picture.

  4. Our bishop (Arlington Diocese) also prohibits the washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday. I hope he now re-thinks it following Pope Francis’ example.

  5. The washing of the feet used to be accompanied by verses about the women who anointed Jesus’ feet. Perhaps those can be revived, separately if not during the Holy Thursday service, to prepare for a change that includes women in the rite.

    These verses were in the Roman Missal unti the last century, though other sources did not use than.

  6. What an inspirational Picture of our Pope Francis in our times! This picture illustrates a great sense of maturity between religious leaders and the communities.While Jesus Christ came for all of us men and women and that the two genders need to be given the same exposures to critical “opportunities” to serve in the church; A Priest washing the feet of women given the mystery behind Holy Thursday is most probably a rare happening especially so in Uganda where I leave! Thank you for this self teaching “homily” Pope Francis.
    Omwangangye Aquilla Priscilla.

  7. So… is it all about how you or I feel? Where does what Jesus actually did come into it?

    Jesus, gave a mandate to the Apostles, saying this is how you live out your sacred ministry, by being the servant of others. Now if the rite of Holy Thursday is about the priest actually doing what Jesus commanded one day out of the year on Holy Thursday, then perhaps women’s feet could be washed. However, hopefully the priest is a servant of his people the other 364 days of the year so that this sort of showy obedience is not necessary. In contrast, if the rite is not about people’s feelings, or the priest, but about Jesus’ mandate to the Apostles then the rite reminds us of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, which we celebrate on Holy Thursday along with the institution of the Eucharist, and 12 men, as canon law requires, should be chosen because Jesus chose 12 men to be spiritual Fathers for his Church.

    1. @Rev. Ron Floyd – comment #14:
      Where does “canon law require it?” – it doesn’t help to introduce non-existent legalisms here: canon law does NOT require it!

      Further, there is no connection between the people who get their feet washed on Holy Thursday (indeed the rubrics do not specify a number) and the “12 men” Jesus chose “to be spiritual Fathers!”

    2. @Rev. Ron Floyd – comment #14:
      Fr., while I can appreciate the desire not to succumb to the emotivism that so pervades modern, western society, I worry about the tone of contempt I hear when you use the term “people’s feelings.” We are, after all, embodied beings, and our emotions are a part of our human reality. Perhaps rereading St. Thomas on the role of the passions in the moral life might give a different perspective on “people’s feelings.”

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