It Is Time for Foot Washing to Go
|Matter without meaning -- a dead work.|
Whatever the original purpose of washing people's feet on Holy Thursday, it has been broken and thrown away.
Now it is an opportunity for clerics to focus attention on themselves, their personal hobbyhorses and for everyone to honor themselves for their inclusivity. Every year some gimmick causes distraction and controversy among Catholics, who mostly just want to have the events of the Passion Week brought to life for their spiritual benefit.
Ignorance or Disregard of Precious Symbols
It is a matter of endless surprise to the Bear that the Catholic Church does not get symbology. It is the very language of faith. Symbols are an irreplaceable treasure of the Church.
We keep the basic form, or matter, of the washing of feet, but we divorce it from its meaning. That means death to the symbol, because a symbol has a body and soul that must never be separated in order to remain living.
Having torn a symbol apart by detaching its meaning from its matter, Pope Francis tries to "plug in" new meaning or meanings on an ad hoc basis. The Bear can't even remember last year's gimmick, but this year's is refugees. But the essential fact that not many seem to grasp -- certainly not the holy Father -- is that symbols are real. They are not arbitrary. You can "plug in" this year's gimmick to the dead matter, but that does not revive the symbol. It remains dead. At this point it's just a photo-op.
Washing feet has absolutely nothing to do with refugees.
Symbols matter in religion. They always have. Rituals -- which are symbols in action -- matter in religion. This is the tragedy of the post-Vatican II Church to which the Bear belongs. So many symbols and rituals were broken, and replaced with arbitrary, ad hoc, gimcrack pieces that did not have the life of the old work of the Church.
Washing Feet: a Dead Work That Should Go
The washing of people's feet on Holy Thursday is now a dead work. It is meaningless. Furthermore, it is a temptation to misuse the (now dead) matter and cause confusion and even scandal. It is time to get rid of it. It is not mandatory. Priests should not include it.
The Bear is not advocating getting rid of a living ritual. He's saying ignorant and clumsy people have already smashed it. Sweep up the pieces respectfully and don't have it clutter up Holy Thursday every year.