Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Atlanta Archbishop approves of playacting during liturgy Really. Check this out. "At the celebration of the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, the rite of the Washing of the Feet is optional. Where it is celebrated in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, it is my decision that the rubric of the Roman Missal shall be observed, that is, that twelve men (viri selecti) should be chosen from the community to take the part of the Apostles during this rite, other directions in the Paulist ordo, or any other liturgical publications notwithstanding. The "Mandatum" or Washing of the Feet, should be explained to the faithful as a representation of Christ's linkage of the institution of the Eucharist to the establishment of the Ordained Priesthood, and the burden of service placed upon those who are called to the Priesthood, in keeping with the events described and recalled in this most solemn Mass." A few things. 1. John's gospel doesn't say it was just the Twelve who had their feet washed. It only says "disciples." 2. Washing feet as a liturgical ritual was practiced by both men's and women's religious communities in the Middle Ages. Most often guests and poor people of both sexes has their feet washed, depending of course, on which monastery fit their gender. 3. The "viri selecti" is a Tridentine innovation of 1956 which has unfortunately been passed along to the present with Communion-standers and other silly practices. 4. Select twelve "men?" Fine. Just let anyone else come forward to wash and be washed afterward. Cover the spirit and letter of liturgical law. 5. If the washing of the feet is a link between the Eucharist and the Ordained Priesthood, where, pray tell, is the washing of the feet during the ordination rite? 6. Aren't you glad that more than twelve "viri selecti" can receive Communion at Mass? Imagine if we were taking the Last Supper accounts literally: no women would ever be able to receive Communion. They weren't there! If only we could give bishops something productive to do. Sigh.

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