So what is Holy Thursday?
What are we honoring on this day?
Not what it has become, of late, but what it stands for in our Catholic identity? That's what we have to ask and answer.
Holy Thursday is the day Christ instituted the Eucharist and the Priesthood, the male priesthood...to the apostles. That's what happened on Holy Thursday. That's what the day is about. That's what is being modeled up there. That's why the Pope (Benedict XVI) doesn't wash women's feet. A Holy Father models to his children, leading them.
As a Catholic, I believe that Christ instituted a male priesthood on Holy Thursday. In priesthood, a priest on the altar becomes an Alter Christi, "another Christ," and his sacramentaly consecrated hands can turn ordinary bread and wine into His body and blood.
Do you imagine that moment? Does the Last Supper play in your head like a movie during that Mass? There's Christ - preparing these men for the priesthood! Was what He did then meaningful, purposeful?
Forget what today's priests are doing or not doing...what do YOU believe Christ was doing....modeling....on Holy Thursday? More importantly, what has been Church teaching on what Christ was doing at the Last Supper? (Links provided below)
If you believe what the Baltimore catechism teaches - that Holy Thursday is the vocational institution of the male priesthood - then this is precious to retain, honor and uphold to the faithful! DEFINITIVE of our beliefs and Catholic essence, it's what sets us apart.
Don't be distracted away from what this day represents...RE PRESENTS in our faith. So often we note how we need to reclaim our Catholic identity ...how it gets diluted and caught up in a slippery slope of subtle changes that have rolled into a largely weakened faith. Well, Lex Orendi, Lex Credendi = how we pray is how we believe. Reclaiming will be an UPHILL battle and we may step on toes. Strengthening weakened muscles will be hard.
Encourage the men in your parish! Remind the women that this is not exclusivity against them...this is our faith. A faith that has rich appreciation for women and their roles... And, on Holy Thursday...this is what Christ did....what He modeled....He instituted a male priesthood. Amen.
LINK - 2013 - Fr. Z and Canon Lawyer, Dr. Ed Peters
See Father Z - "This whole debate has been cleared up more than once by the Holy See, especially in the 1988 document Paschales solemnitatis of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. Moreover, the rubrics of the 2002 Missale Romanum retain the viri selecti. Viri cannot include “females”. Viri is an exclusive term. I don’t believe any Conference of Bishops has ever received explicit approval from the Holy See for a variation, and only the Holy See can do that. Conferences of bishops, individual bishops, and pastors all lack the authority to change this on their own. To do it is wrong."
See this from Catholics United for the Faith, "The rite itself has always specified that men are to have their feet washed. The word used in Latin is viri which refers specifically to adult males, nothominess, which might have been understood, like the expression "human beings," to include both women and men. Because of ongoing debate on this issue, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS), in a 1988 circular letter entitled Paschales Solemnitatis, affirmed that the tradition of washing the feet of “chosen men” should be maintained. Then in 1996, the U.S. bishops proposed a modification that would allow for the washing of women’s and children’s feet during the Holy Thursday service. This proposal received the necessary support of more than two-thirds of the U.S. bishops, but it still required the formal approval of the Holy See before it could take effect. Such approval has never been given. Meanwhile, the congregation published the latest edition of the Roman Missal in 2002, which still only provides for men to have their feet washed."
From Catholic.org and more links including a video.
Video of Pope Benedict XVI washing feet last year. Father R. from Orthometer
Men Only Feet Washing by Fr. Dwight Longenecker
Why not women priests?
And what about ALL THESE DOCUMENTS and Church History? Is it all just changed now....what we once believed?