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O'Malley queers Boston foot-washing

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 22, 2005

In a state that gave us gay marriage, Paul Shanley, and the Boston College Theology Department; in a state where the Church blurs seamlessly into the Democratic apparatus, and where the Democratic apparatus blurs seamlessly into ACT-UP; in a state where four priests out of ten fail to see the problem with NAMBLA or Dan Schutte's "Here I Am Lord," one would think that a little clarity about la difference would be welcome.

All the more vexing, then, that Archbishop O’Malley should toss away one of the remaining symbols of sex distinction -- washing of the feet of duodecim viri on Holy Thursday -- especially since he could let the Holy See take the heat of the outrage from the gender benders: The Vatican made me do it.

The word from the Archdiocese is that the archbishop asked the Vatican about the situation and that the Vatican … well, see what you can make of it:

O'Malley promised to consult with Rome, and yesterday his spokeswoman said the Congregation for Divine Worship, which oversees liturgical practices, had suggested the archbishop make whatever decision he thought was best for Boston. "The Congregation [for Divine Worship] affirmed the liturgical requirement that only the feet of men be washed at the Holy Thursday ritual." However, the Congregation did "provide for the archbishop to make a pastoral decision."

I confess my Flynnish is a little rusty, but I don't myself read the provision "to make a pastoral decision" as permission to wash the feet of women –- that option seems to be expressly excluded. More likely the "pastoral decision" intended would be a determination to skip the foot-washing altogether in favor of, I don’t know, a Bob Cousy highlights video.

So the maleness of the twelve apostles will get the Mardi Gras treatment in Massachusetts -- just where it's least needed. Picture the Boston clergy with that dangling lower lip and stare into the middle distance characteristic of the petulant first-grader at the feltboard trying to dress Wendy Weather Girl, and failing.

Come to think of it, the Massachusetts Correctional Institute Concord must be one of the larger domiciles of Catholic clergy in the Commonwealth by now; Paul Shanley and James Talbot have been added since the new year to swell the ranks. One can well imagine the concern for renewed liturgy in that clerical cellblock! It would be only fitting if the Mass that commemorates the institution of the priesthood should be celebrated iuxta ritum by poofters in prison, while the rest of the Boston faithful are treated to the sundry Walter Cuenins indulging the, ahem, "pastoral decision."

Unclear on the concept?

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Show 24 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Eleazar - Mar. 24, 2005 9:55 AM ET USA

    I suppose all of this kvetching has a purpose, but at the end of the day, we still have no power to enforce our right to authentic Roman Catholicism. How can we channel all of this energy toward that goal? Pray? Of course. Penance? Naturally! But there has to be more that can be done…must be done...to return the apostate American Catholic Church back to the Communion of Saints.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Mar. 23, 2005 8:37 PM ET USA

    Ordained to the Sacred Priesthood of Jesus Christ more than seven years ago & named a pastor more than four years ago, I have, as pastor, washed only the feet of men at the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. The rubric is clear: either you wash the feet of 12 men or you omit the rite (& with catechesis there's been no criticism). If this lowly priest can read and follow Church instruction, then why can't successors to the apostles? Where is their obedience, courage, strength?

  • Posted by: miasarx - Mar. 23, 2005 7:10 PM ET USA

    Yet another example of the major problem with bishops today: NO GUTS. Pastoral seems to be a synonym for WIMP.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 23, 2005 10:43 AM ET USA

    When Jesus washed the apostles' feet, He was acting as the lowest of slaves. When He was done, He told them they must do the same - become lower than dirt. Since the feminists and other croakers are only concerned about their "rats" and power rather than taking on the mind of Jesus, it's obvious the ritual has lost its meaning. Maybe O'Malley should substitute a sermon on what it really meant and how uppity-ness is a slap in Christ's face. OK, D, just what IS this photo of anyway?

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Mar. 22, 2005 11:14 PM ET USA

    I assume that one of the Florida archbishops will be washing Terri's feet?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 22, 2005 8:38 PM ET USA

    Then it must be hottubs.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Mar. 22, 2005 6:44 PM ET USA

    As usual, I fully agrgee with Diogenes. To his critics: what "battle"? All His Excellency had to do was quietly name the men whose feet he would wash. If there was a battle it was of his making. He did make it. And he won.

  • Posted by: principle not pragmatism - Mar. 22, 2005 6:09 PM ET USA

    Barbara: You are right on!!!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 22, 2005 5:28 PM ET USA

    One little giggle from the chosen woman and that'll be the last time the good bishop pulls this prank. I simply could not watch with a straight face. Am I the only one? I would have to do violence to myself to maintain any sense of decorum at all. Must I say it? This particular ritual, between members of the opposite sex, belongs in the bedroom.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 22, 2005 3:07 PM ET USA

    Leo: A “liturgical line in the sand”? You’ve got to be kidding! Name one “important (liturgical) issue” for which the Vatican or any Ordinary has drawn such a line. Let’s see: Extraordinary Ministers? Communion in hand? Latin? Sacred vessels? Altar girls? Kneeling/genuflecting? Tabernacles? Gregorian chant? Proper sacramental form? Oh, I know, these obviously aren’t important issues. In fact, nothing is important these days—unless one considers fellowship and diversity to be Catholic dogma

  • Posted by: Novus744 - Mar. 22, 2005 2:49 PM ET USA

    "though everyone is welcome to a personal opinion." I heard recently that 60% of Catholics don't believe in the fundamental truth of the Real Presence. That's okay-"Everyone is entitled to his opinion." Millions upon millions of BABIES have been SLAUGHTERED! That's okay-"Their parents are entitled to their opinions." What is it going to take for people to open their eyes? More important than charity toward neighbor is love of God. I fear we are just frogs in a slowly cooking pot. COMMON SENSE!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 22, 2005 2:12 PM ET USA

    We're silently out here dying for someone to speak up for Jesus. We're the ones making holy hours for priests tp persevere. Praying for our Lord to send us saintly priests, and quite content that our Lord calls only men. After all He dosen't make mistakes, we're quite confident of that fact. We're the silent, Roman Catholic wives and mothers, who don't get too many decisions for "good" pastoral reasons, thrown our way. We are legion, please Archbishop, shepherd this part of the flock.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 22, 2005 12:28 PM ET USA

    I caught the report about this issue on Zenit first, then waited for CWN (and Diogenes) to comment. It was worth the wait. Boston's capitulation to VOF et al. is brilliantly captured in literary satire. The photo is visual enhancement to be sure, but it has me wondering in what direction our weakest shepherds will lead us next: liturgical hottubs or more imposed androgyny?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 22, 2005 12:20 PM ET USA

    Leo is right. O'Malley deserves the benefit of the doubt on this one. Still, if he's going to pick his fights he'd best commence to picking. The Archbishop needs to find his voice and offer some clear teaching in a few criticall areas that are opaque to many Catholics as well as others. God bless him but he is a cipher to most of us. One senses that he defaults to the old clique at chancery and to his slick, secularized PR types downtown. Trust God and be a bishop!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 22, 2005 11:12 AM ET USA

    Well done, Diogenes! Someday Rome might learn that whenever they say "pastoral decision", the liberals take that to mean whatever they wish. Also, I am sure that the "nuns" in the photo are not real nuns...Because the vast majority of nuns no longer dress as nuns! (They are probably dressing as men instead...Ahem.)

  • Posted by: - Mar. 22, 2005 10:25 AM ET USA

    The modern, Vatican, diplomatic modus vivendi of never giving a definitive answer has de facto implemented relativism into the Church. It is, in my opinion, a heretical departure from the direct instructions of Christ: let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. If yes and no have no meaning, neither does any of the rest of it. Instead of being a light to the world, they have chosen, pace to the Renaissance, to be the new oracle of delphi. It only means what you think it means.

  • Posted by: Abraham Tolemahcs - Mar. 22, 2005 10:05 AM ET USA

    You don't specify what "issues" you think D so I can assume that you do not approve of his criticisms of abortion, pagan liturgical innovations bordering on science fiction, homosexuals priests, bishops/priests molesting boys or bishops who flagrantly diisobey Rome and the Magisterium. He's justifiably angry as are many of us that the American Episcopacy routinely ignores Rome & is never held accountable. The bishops demand total obedience from the laity but they set a lousy example.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 22, 2005 9:43 AM ET USA

    Give the archbishop a break. To be effective, one must choose one's battles. Evidently the archbishop has chosen not to make "duodecim viri" a battle within his diocese. There are other, more important issues on which to draw a liturgical line in the sand.

  • Posted by: patriot6908 - Mar. 22, 2005 9:33 AM ET USA

    Yes, Diogenes is dealing with some powerful issues: those of weak-kneed prelates, who lack the fortitude to present Church teaching in a clear, consistent manner. Prelates and pastors who weasel. Prelates who have more primary allegiance to the fad of inclusivity than to the teachings of the Church. Men lacking the spine to do what is proper. So we get an old Ed Sullivan show rather than a profoundly reverent remembrance of Christ and his 12 male apostles. All to placate the heterodox.

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Mar. 22, 2005 9:23 AM ET USA

    I'd like to see the full letter AB O'Malley got from Rome. It might be, like Diogenes hinted, that the intent re: the "pastoral decision" might mean that he could skip the ritual because of all the flak ? Re: TXCatholic post. Yes, the issues dealt with on this page tend to be "serious issues" and Diogenes does deal with them.

  • Posted by: thomasmore - Mar. 22, 2005 9:03 AM ET USA

    As a boston catholic who has suffered the liturgical mayhem, the hidden tabernacles and lukewarm (limp) clergy for the past decade, thank you Diogenes for calling a spade a spade.

  • Posted by: rob924 - Mar. 22, 2005 9:00 AM ET USA

    I have to agree TXCatholic. I fail to see how rantings and ravings of this sort, which lack all charity, further the mission of the Church. Someone so well educated should use his knowledge to serve the Church. People here should be reminded that this is one person's perspective that does not include a dissenting opinion and is not subject to peer review. Let us all remember that Peter does not speak through Diogenes, though everyone is welcome to a personal opinion.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 22, 2005 7:39 AM ET USA

    Diogenes, after reading through your rages on this page, I can only conclude that you have some serious issues you are dealing with. I will pray for you.

  • Posted by: The OX - Mar. 22, 2005 6:47 AM ET USA

    Are the two Nuns in the picture Gays in Nuns Clothing ?

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