(1) Maundy Thursday. What will our Holy Father do? Will he, like last year, disregarded the law confining those whose feet he washes to the half of humanity called viri (don’t write in trying to convince me that this does not mean males)? A year ago he was recently elected; he had made decisions in a hurry; and some of the rhetorical reaction to what he did was probably excessive. This year, he will have had time to think and to take advice and to decide.(a) He can change the Law. I am not keen on this because the current use with regard to the pedilavium is of great antiquity and has meaning. But I am not the Church’s Summus Legifer. If he changes it, then the Law has changed. I am neither antinomian nor sedevacantist.(b) He can follow the current law. One would assume that this is, in the very least, the fall-back position of any Catholic cleric.(c) As I pointed out much earlier, he could do the pedilavium, formally and liturgically, in accordance with the law. Then, extraliturgically, he could go out into the streets and perform this vivid acted ikon of Humility in any way that takes his fancy.(d) Since the pedilavium is not compulsory, and, indeed, only entered the Missa in Coena Domini comparatively recently, he could omit it during the Liturgy, and, separately, do it extraliturgically.(e) He could do the same as he did last year. In this case, he will be teaching either(i) that the Roman Pontiff is above the Law; in other words, that he is not a member of the Church like every other Christian, subject to its Magisterium and its discipline, but Some Other Type of Arbitrary Being set above the Church; or(ii) that it is lawful for anybody to disregard liturgical Law when they consider that they have a compelling reason.
I really, really got tired of seeing pictures of foot kissing last year and I rather dread the prospect. I hope Pope Francis does not opt for (e).