The background to this controversy is the antinomianism that prevails today.
The Church is passing through a period in which the relationship between ecclesiastical law and the life of faith is widely misunderstood and the very content of Church law is often poorly explained. My attempts to address this double problem include explaining how law is important to a faith community, but even more, I try to explain what the law is at present—for one can hardly debate how ecclesiastical law ought to read if one does not know what it already says.
The controversy over Pope Francis’ disregard of a liturgical law in the Mandatum rite exposes, I think, how many others in the Church misunderstand important aspects of ecclesiastical law and how a misguided attempt to explain Church law can actually provoke more issues for the faithful than it settles.
A Vatican Press Office statement asserts:
“One can easily understand that in a great celebration, men would be chosen for the foot washing because Jesus, himself wash[ed] the feet of the twelve apostles who were male. However the ritual of the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday evening in the Juvenile Detention Centre in Rome took place in a particular, small community that included young women.”
Such language, I fear, confuses matters.
To read the whole article, click here.