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Friday, March 30, 2007
Liturgical Law and the Coming Paschal Triduum
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HOLY THURSDAY

Washing of Women's feet is completely forbidden by the Apostolic See. This is reserved to men, preferably twelve of number, thus it symbolizes the twelve apostles. (Source: Paschales Solemnitatis). From Jan. 16, 1988, No. 51 of the circular letter states: "The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came 'not to be served, but to serve.' This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained."

GOOD FRIDAY

A day of mandatory Fasting and Abstinence (Canon 1251).

Upon entering our pews, we are to genuflect to the Crucifix not the tabernacle because the Eucharist is not present today in the Tabernacle (Source: GIRM 274).

The priest, upon approaching the altar, is to prostrate himself before it (USCCB). Concerning the adoration of the Cross, "A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who in the solemn liturgical action of Good Friday devoutly assist at the adoration of the Cross and kiss it" (Source). The crucifix should be covered in a red or black material. Also, the baptismal founts are drained on this day until the evening of the Easter Vigil.

This is the only day of the liturgical year in which Mass is not, and is prohibited from being celebrated. A Liturgy of the Word with Communion is done by a priest with the special rite prepared in the Sacramentary. Holy Father Benedict XVI permits black to replace the red in the Liturgy of the Word, but red most be worn for the Rite of Holy Communion. A cope is appropriate for the Liturgy of the Word, and is permissible for the Communion Rite. This distinguishes Mass from Communion Services.

HOLY SATURDAY

While not required by the current Code of Canon Law, Traditionalists will abstain and fast until the Vigil Mass.

Readings should not be cut out. While the rubrics opt. for this, it is suggested that all be read. The Easter Vigil is the most important vigil in the Church and the readings "portray the whole history of human salvation, from the time of Adam to Jesus Christ." (PBXXI)

The Easter [Paschal] fast, from Holy Thursday evening through Good Friday, is sacred. According to ancient tradition, the Church fasts "because the Bridegroom has been taken away" (St. Mark 2:19-20) PS no. 39, (quoting Tertullian De ieiunio 2 et 13). Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence from flesh meat; (PS no. 60) it is also recommended, if possible, that the fast be continued on Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil; so that the Church, with uplifted and welcoming heart, be ready to celebrate the joys of the Sunday of the Resurrection. (Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution Paenitemini, Feb. 17, 1966, II, 3; Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 110; General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, no. 20; PS, no. 39.)

The Book of Blessing notes in the introduction to the Blessing of the First Meal of Easter (nos. 1701-1723) that, “The custom of blessing food for Easter arose from the discipline of fasting throughout Lent and the special [Paschal] Easter fast during the Triduum. Easter was the first day when meat, eggs, and other foods could again be eaten. According to custom, food may be blessed for consumption at the first meal of Easter, when fasting is ended and the Church is filled with joy in the Resurrection."

12 comments:

del_button March 31, 2007 at 2:44 AM
viking said...

Thanks for the info. I was not aware that the priest should only wash the feets of men. I guess that won't happen in my parish, I can only pray that they stick to that rule.

del_button March 31, 2007 at 5:15 AM
Mark said...

Very interesting; thank you!

Small typo, though: Readings should not be cute out

del_button March 31, 2007 at 7:42 AM
Moneybags said...

Thanks for the comments. And, thanks, Mark :)

del_button March 31, 2007 at 10:21 AM
Jeff Miller said...

The foot washing part isn't exactly correct.

Then Archbishop O’Malley asked the CDW for a ruling on this since in the past he had only washed the feet of men, but since there was such confusion on the point he wanted an official clarification. The washing of the feet by men only was reaffirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship a year ago; but reportedly the CDW left the final decision about including other than adult men in this ceremony to the “pastoral sensitivity” of the bishop.

In response last Cardinal O'Malley included women in the ceremony. There is now some question as to whether this “pastoral sensitivity” applies to just Cardinal O'Malley or is a general permission.

I do wish the CDW had just said no without this loophole. In former days the footwashing was mainly done on seminarians to highlight the apostolic connection of this ceremony. Considering how few seminarians there are in some diocese you can see how the practice was broadened. Unfortunately it became politically correct to include women, thus destroying part of the symbolism of the ceremony.

Regardless though of what our opinions on the subject might be I think it is hard to maintain that it is "completely forbidden" now at least it is not in the Diocese of Boston.

del_button April 1, 2007 at 7:46 PM
Micki said...

I never knew people fasted on Holy Saturday also. Very interesting and prompts me to do that also. Thanks for all the great info.

del_button April 2, 2007 at 2:33 PM
Mark said...

Hrm... and it should still be men! I agree about the loophole. Maybe it would help vocations if it was closed?

del_button April 2, 2007 at 3:18 PM
woman after God's heart said...

You have now alienated countless women with your useless dribble. There is no such law that says that only men should have their feet washed. Even Archbishop Burke of St. Louis, a very conservative bishop and canon lawyer, had the feet of women washed in his last diocese! It is my sincere hope that you won't be contaminating the Church as a priest. May Rome turn you down!
a very happy female!

del_button April 2, 2007 at 4:30 PM
Mark said...

Grumpy grumpy!

del_button April 3, 2007 at 11:36 AM
Moneybags said...

Woman after God's heart,

You are incorrect when you state that there is no such law dictating that only men may have their feet washed. I provided the source of the document from the Vatican in the post.

I am also saddened by your accusations that I would contaminate the Church. Liturgical abuse and not following the Vatican is why there are current contaminations. You are not following what the Vatican has declared. YOU are turning Rome down.

Realize I am not anti-women. I am merely in favor of following what Our Church over the centuries, and currently, teaches.

del_button April 4, 2007 at 10:19 PM
Literacy-chic said...

The apostolic connection explains why it should be men only, and would have been useful in your original post. I do think there could be theologically acceptable reasons to include women, but it's really not for me to say, so I won't. I had not thought of the connection to the apostles and Apostolic succession with the foot-washing. Rather, I was focused on the Biblical passage. Very informative.

del_button May 18, 2008 at 10:53 AM
Anonymous said...

Dear Seminarian Matthew,
I just discovered your blog post, and hoped to enrich it ever so slightly with some further information on the Paschal fast.

As you note this fast is not required by the universal Code of Canon Law, though it does appear as a "strong suggestion" in the Church's liturgical law which I cite below.

God's blessings as you continue to discern God's call.
oremus ad invicem,
Fr. August Gothman
Diocese of Crookston, MN

The Easter [Paschal] fast, from Holy Thursday evening through Good Friday, is sacred. According to ancient tradition, the Church fasts "because the Bridegroom has been taken away" (St. Mark 2:19-20) PS no. 39, (quoting Tertullian De ieiunio 2 et 13). Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence from flesh meat; (PS no. 60) it is also recommended, if possible, that the fast be continued on Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil; so that the Church, with uplifted and welcoming heart, be ready to celebrate the joys of the Sunday of the Resurrection. (Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution Paenitemini, Feb. 17, 1966, II, 3; Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 110; General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, no. 20; PS, no. 39.)

The Book of Blessing notes in the introduction to the Blessing of the First Meal of Easter (nos. 1701-1723) that, “The custom of blessing food for Easter arose from the discipline of fasting throughout Lent and the special [Paschal] Easter fast during the Triduum. Easter was the first day when meat, eggs, and other foods could again be eaten. According to custom, food may be blessed for consumption at the first meal of Easter, when fasting is ended and the Church is filled with joy in the Resurrection."

del_button May 26, 2008 at 12:08 PM
Seminarian Matthew said...

Thank you for this additional information, Fr. August Gothman.

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