Monday, April 12, 2004

Foot Washing in Atlanta

This has to do with Christian traditions. The Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual commemorates the biblical story of Jesus washing his disciples' feet. Archbishop John Donoghue doesn't like to wash women's feet in this ritual:

A Catholic archbishop has banned women from participating in Holy Thursday foot-washing rituals in Roman Catholic churches in Atlanta.
Archbishop John Donoghue of Atlanta issued a letter to all of his parishes stating that only 12 men at each parish should be selected for the ritual, The Associated Press reported.
The ritual represents Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper and is offered to girls, women, and men in most archdioceses or dioceses around the states. This is the second time, however, that Archbishop Donoghue has banned women from the ritual, issuing a similar ban in Charlotte, N.C. 15 years ago.

This exclusion of women is no longer customary in Catholic churches, but maybe Archbishop Donoghue finds women's feet too stinky? Or maybe including women would deviate too much from the 'religious correctness' required in the event? In that case why not exclude all men of non-Semitic or Roman origin, too?

I think John has got it completely backwards (I can call him John, can't I? Calling him my father would be a lot more insulting for him.). The point in the story about Jesus washing his disciples' feet was a reversal: a teacher much above his disciples is doing a very menial task, a task associated with humility. Why exclude anyone then? Unless, of course, John believes that women are much superior to men...