Foot-washing is too important to be dragged into a feminist debate

Cardinal Angelo Scola washes feet as a Mass in Milan (PA)

The debate over foot-washing is often seen in terms of simply excluding or including women. But it would seem very different if we were informed by our Christian consciences and not by feminism.

In our ‘post-feminist’ society, we women are told that Christianity is informed by misogyny. That women will now have their feet washed on Maundy Thursday is seen by some as one means of correcting a male-dominated system. Of course, the Pope did not reform the rite for feminist reasons. However, the issue can get caught up in political debates, which is a pity.

I won’t have my marble-white, blue veiny feet washed today. But I won’t object when I hear of a female friend or acquaintance who will have their feet washed; they are doing so in line with the Church’s teachings and they may be trying to reach greater holiness. I’d just invite them to think twice if they are merely having their feet washed in response to feminist propaganda which seeks to turn women against Our Lord, by arguing that He was in the wrong when He did not wash the feet of women.

At Easter, we pledge our gratitude to Our Lord for His Ultimate Sacrifice on the Cross, and if we trust that He shed His Blood to wash away the sins for both men and women, why not trust that he had only our good in mind when He did not wash the feet of women?

At this time of year, more so than any other time, we are contemplating that Christ so loved the world that he gave His life on the cross in atonement for our sins. It’s all very well to go through the motions at Easter, but if we accept the reality of Our Lord’s sacrificial love then it instructs us that Our Lord always, always wants the best for humanity, and to my fellow women, I’d like to say that includes us.