Pope Francis washes feetPope Francis has been much in the news for being different; with much debate around his breaking of tradition. And church rule.

The Roman Catholic rule for whose feet are washed on Maundy Thursday is that they shall be adult Roman Catholic males. As you know Pope Francis washed a young Muslim woman’s feet this Maundy Thursday.

If you want to debate the rights and wrongs of the Pope’s action in any depth – there are plenty of places doing just that.

In my Thoughts on Liturgy* (which I really hope you have taken the time to listen to) I have tried to develop a model from grammar rules in language. For fluent speakers, our grammar rules represent a description of what we do – not prescription of what we should do. And the fluent speaker can modify, adapt, customize, even abandon those rules to communicate better what is intended. May liturgical rules be similar: descriptive of best practice – not merely prescriptive.

But – a warning to non-fluent speakers: do not be hasty to depart from, modify, or even abandon, rules. And take care not to regard yourself too readily as a fluent liturgy “speaker”.

For some of us (many of us?) Pope Francis appears to “speak” liturgy fluently.

To be continued…

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*I am delighted to receive feedback about Some Thoughts on Liturgy. Recently from liturgical study centers, worship committees, Roman Catholic bishops… Thanks for the encouragement.

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