Women washing feet

photo credit: Noel Rose / Facebook

Pope Francis’s witness and change to the rubrics of foot washing on Holy Thursday has been having an effect in India. In an opinion essay in the news outlet Scroll.in, women’s rights lawyer Flavia Agnes writes:

Following the footsteps of their supreme religious leader, last year a few dioceses and parishes in India introduced this single-most inclusive liturgical practice and included the poor, the marginalised and women – Catholics and others, in the traditional feet-washing ceremony.

Even bishops of Roman Catholic churches in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi washed the feet of women for the first time.

Resistance to the practice however has also emerged among some Catholic clergy and clergy of other Christian churches.

It is against this background that the celebration of the ritual of washing of the feet organised by a group, Women’s Lives Matter, gains significance. In keeping with the new directions which Pope Francis has set, the group celebrated the feet washing ceremony with the inmates of Swanthanam Centre for battered Women and children at Kottayam in Kerala on April 11, two days prior to the day marked for the celebrations.

The ceremony on April 11, said Kochurani Abraham of the Women’s Life Matter, was inspired by the initiative of the Pope. “The ritual was a means of taking the message of forgiveness, acceptance and mutual care outside the boundaries of the church’s ritual worship,” Abraham told the Hindu. The celebration, she hoped, would help the ecclesiastical leadership to revisit their earlier decision . . .

You can read the whole story here.

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