Priests are not obliged to wash the feet of women during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has said, reports The Catholic Herald.
Cardinal Robert Sarah told reporters in Rome last month that a priest “has to decide in accord with his own conscience, and according to the purpose for which the Lord instituted this feast”.
Cardinal Sarah’s comments follow a decree issued by Pope Francis which revises the rules for the traditional foot-washing ritual on Holy Thursday, extending the rite to include women and young girls.
The rite was celebrated separately to the Holy Thursday Mass before Pope Pius XII restored it in 1955.
Before this point, women’s feet could be washed, but only by other women.