Wednesday, March 16, 2016

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.

29 comments:

  1. Sorry if the pope thinks it's my bad, but the picture of Francis caressing and kissing the feet of a woman makes me cringe. Non-Catholics must think we're all a bunch of perverts?

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  2. Is the kissing truly part of the Mandatum? He could practically look up this lady's skirt---not that this 'pope' would be remotely interested.

    Seattle Kim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect they're conflating Christ's action with His Apostles with the repentant woman who washed and kissed Christ's feet.

      Delete
    2. By the way, the photo for this post is of Archbishop
      Gomez of Los Angeles.

      Delete
  3. This photo reminds me of the opening credits from Lolita. I won't say anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It reminds me of the ecstatic reaction of a shoe salesman once the lady has finally made up her mind which pair she will have.

      Delete
  4. This innovation has changed the focus of the Mass of the Lord's supper from the Eucharist and Priesthood to a circus.

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  5. Mr. Bear,
    Maybe it's time to start looking around for a claw hammer for that nail. At any and all FSSP parishes - no footwashing!

    First time commenting here. Don't know how to use a name with Google.

    NIdahoCatholic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People seem to always assume that it is a choice for Bear. In his rural area (and he suspects many others) it is a four-hour round trip. Plus that's my parish. That's where I got married 40 years ago. And that's where my dead body will lie at the proper time. Why should I let somebody run me out of my territory?

      Delete
  6. I guess I should do full disclosure here and admit (confess?) that a few years ago, my husband and I were invited to have our feet washed. My husband objected because I'm a woman, but we looked it up on the Vatican website and on EWTN, and as I recall, it was considered not ideal but o.k. as long as there was clarity that it did not symbolize that the woman was being used to promote women's ordination. We both knew our pastor was not in favor of that at all, so we agreed.

    I wouldn't do that now -- no way. Just as I was taught in high school to take Communion in the Hand, and I did it until I read how it began, and how it contributed to the loss of reverence for the Eucharist.

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    1. The first year (2003) I came into the church (Novus Ordo) I signed up to have my feet washed. I was totally ignorant of it being symbolic of the first apostles. When the deacon came to wash my freshly pedicured feet with robins egg blue toenails, he said "well these are the prettiest feet I will wash tonight." He was my RCIA teacher and very progressive and liberal. The whole thing creeped me out and I never signed up for foot washing again.

      What I do not recall is having my feet kissed (thank God). Is that a Francis innovation?

      Seattle Kim

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    2. I don't recall that, either, Kim. I know Pope Benedict did not. I've just seen a video of Pope Paul VI, and he did kiss the feet, as did Pope John Paul II -- although it the merest peck, and not the cringeworthy smooch that Bergoglio is pictured doing.

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    3. What next? Will his "holiness" suck toes?

      Seattle Kim

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    4. Kim, was you last comment edifying?

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    5. Hell no---just sarcasm from an exasperated Catholic.

      Seattle Kim.

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  7. It is a matter of endless surprise to the Bear that the Catholic Church does not get symbology.

    Semiotics is well known by the revolutionaries which is why they have destroyed them with such determination.

    It is not a question of ignorance, it is the arrogance of those who believe themselves anointed to drag the church out of the dark ages into the light of reason.

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  8. Perhaps there is a middle way, Bear. Place 12 pairs of shoes, indistinguishable as to whether for male or female, before the altar and have the celebrant humbly kiss the assembled footwear which thereafter might be distributed to the shoeless poor waiting outside Mass.

    Win/Win.

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  9. 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.

    That is a very defeatist response to the revolution. Why not defend the traditional semiotics and mock the revolution?

    What else is the bear ready to bless with the sacramental of defenestration in surrender to the revolutionaries?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, let's remember a couple of things:
      1. Footwashing was introduced with the novus ordo. And, though an ancient practice, it was outside the mass previously. Even if introduced pre-V2, I don't think you'd see this at EF mass.
      2. Footwashing is OPTIONAL.

      There's no grand tradition to uphold here.

      Delete
    2. If there was any living tradition, sure, it might be worth upholding. The whole point of the article is that once you separate meaning from matter, you've got nothing. That means nothing to defend. A dead symbol is at best a superstition, and at worst what we see here with Pope Francis.

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    3. That's interesting , Pete , but I believe that's incorrect. I am playing the organ for a Maundy Thursday Mass at an independent sedevacantist Catholic chapel that even rejects the changes to Triduum that Pope Pius XII made when coerced by the modernists. So it's basically a pre-1955 Mass----and it includes foot washing of adult males.

      Seattle kim

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    4. https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=2648

      If we quit actualising ecclesiastical tradition we have no right to complain it doesn't actually exist

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  10. Incidentally, those shoes I had previously referred to ought have "the smell of the feet".

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    Replies
    1. And the shoes could represent the empty shoes of people killed by global warming. Or whatever.

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    2. Or people who have left the Catholic Church since 1960.

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  11. Looks at any old Roman Missal and you can see that on Maundy Thursday, after the Homily there is this:

    The Maundy or the Washing of the Feet

    The washing of the feet takes place after the homily, though it may be done at some other time to-day


    ReplyDelete

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