Pope Francis changes Holy Thursday plans to celebrate Mass in prison

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis has decided to celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper in a Rome juvenile detention facility and wash the feet of some of the young detainees.

It marks a change in venue of the previously scheduled March 28 Holy Week event from St. Peter's Basilica to Rome's Casal del Marmo prison for minors.

While the practice of his predecessors has included washing the feet of priests or laypeople, the ceremony was normally held in either St. Peter's Basilica or the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

The Vatican said that, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis used to celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper -- which reflects on the call to imitate Christ by serving one another -- in prisons, hospitals or shelters for the poor and marginalized.

"With the celebration at Casal del Marmo, Pope Francis will continue that practice, which must be carried out in a context characterized by simplicity," the Vatican said in a March 21 statement.

The Mass of the Lord's Supper highlights "the commandment of love" and service through the ritual of washing the feet of others, the statement said.

The other Holy Week and Easter events and celebrations were expected to remain as previously scheduled, the Vatican said, including the pope celebrating the morning chrism Mass on Holy Thursday in St. Peter's Basilica, in which the chrism and the oils used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick are blessed.

At the start of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI reversed a 20-year Vatican tradition of washing the feet of priests during the Holy Thursday evening Mass. In 2006 and 2007, he returned to a practice in effect before 1985, when he washed the feet of 12 laymen from the Diocese of Rome during the evening Mass.

From 2008 onward, Pope Benedict switched back to washing the feet of 12 priests from the Rome diocese.

From 1985 to 2001, Blessed John Paul II washed the feet of 12 priests each year during the Holy Thursday Mass. Beginning in 2002, because of his weakened physical condition and his inability to walk, the pope had cardinals perform the foot-washing ritual, but always washing the feet of 12 priests.

However, in the first six years of his pontificate, Pope John Paul continued Pope Paul VI's practice of washing the feet of laypeople.

For several years, Pope John Paul washed the feet of elderly laymen, including a group of homeless men living at a shelter run by the Missionaries of Charity in 1980. In 1983, he washed the feet of 12 young men from Italy's Boys Town, and in 1984 the 12 were representatives of Rome parish youth groups.

In 1974, Pope Paul washed the feet of 12 boys undergoing therapy for the effects of polio. In 1977, he washed the feet of 12 boys, ages 12-14, who were students at the Rome Diocese's minor seminary.

Pope Benedict visited the Casal del Marmo prison in 2007, meeting with the young detainees in a gym and celebrating Mass with them in the prison chapel.
You know this move is questionable if Fr Zuhlsdorf is unhappy with it:

Since this prison houses boys as well as girls, whats the over/under that Pope Francis will wash some girls' feet?
I think Fr. Z's concerns are legit.
i try to keep in mind that His Holiness comes from a Jesuit background. So things like this, along with the lack of pomp, are up his alley.  Now if he came from a secular clergy background, I would be expecting a lot more of the old decorem and traditions that convey the full dignity of the Petrine Ministry. it sounds like I'm making excuses, but that's how I make sense of what the Holy Father is doing. Then I move on.
And in retrospect...

..thank God for JPII who had the good sense to declare women's ordination impossible.

If you wash them at the feast of the institution of the priesthood, logically, you should be willing to ordain them. 
This stuff is so bizarre you can't make it up!
It's all possible, you know.  Vatican III, Deacons hearing confessions, married priests, all of it.
I think this says it all:

"Look.  I understand what Francis is doing here.  Fine.  But in making such a dramatic change, I fear that he runs the risk of making these change all about him, rather than some other message he wants to convey.  The same goes for all the other changes he is making.  The papacy isn’t just his own thing to do with what it pleaseth him to do.  The changes can become distractions, especially the way the media will handle them."

He raises a STRONG point by saying it's not all about Francis and what he wants to do or how he did things back in his former diocese. I'm sure JP II or others had done things slightly different in their own dioceses as well. But Francis is not back in his old diocese anymore, he is the Pope and he has certain responsibilities and traditions to live up to, having that position. I think what would be even better than this would be if he did it at St. Peter's or at St. John Lateran or where ever it is normally done, but then sent priests in Rome out to all the different prisons and tagged along with one of them, and admonished priests around the world to do this with their own parishioners as well as the poor and imprisoned and such.
I am becoming convinced that the same old "wolves" in the curia must be encouraging Pope Francis in his breaks with tradition. The more time, the Pope spends destroying this or that old tradition, or deciding not to wear some vestment, the less time he spends actually addressing pressing issues in the hierarchy. In doing so they would also make it seem like they were on his side, and so retain their posts. Plus, the outside world and its clamor for reform will be satisfied by these superficial gestures, while the real issues in the church go completely unaddressed.

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)