Pope Francis has apparently angered the conservative wing of the Catholic Church. On Thursday evening, he celebrated in the chapel of the Roman youth prison Casal del Marmo the Mass of the Last Supper. He washed the feet of twelve prisoners . The taboo: Among them were two women. The liturgy for Easter , however, provides expressly that only men's feet must be washed.
"It sets a questionable example," wrote Edward Peters, a consultant to the Vatican on canon law, on his blog . "It is an issue with implications well beyond the foot washing," warned Peters. Basically, the Pope send the signal: "Why seek a necessary but difficult reform of the law, if you can simply ignore it?"
Many liberals welcomed the gesture of the Pope as it seems to be a sign that Pope Francis wants to open up the Catholic Church. In his "electioneering" pre-Conclave speech the Pope had relentlessly analyzed the state of the Catholic Church . One observer evaluated the speech as a reckoning with his predecessor, Benedict XVI.
A conservative commentator from the UK, Chris Gillibrand wrote, according to the British "The Times": "One can be concerned that he might be willing to ordain women to the priesthood." Exactly what Francis has always rejected so far.
Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Vatican , now clarifies in soothing tones that the Pope did not want to break canon law. It was merely an exception.
"It was a special situation in which an exclusion of the girls would have been inopportune given the simple goal of sending a message of love to a group that certainly did not include any designated expert in liturgical rules," Lombardi wrote by e-mail to The Associated Press
Pope begins Easter with liturgical abuse
Bishop washes feet of nine women and three men
Source article quoting Cathcon in The Times- behind paywall.