"Did it strike anyone else as odd that the Vatican announced that women could have their feet washed on Holy Thursday the same week Mattel announced three new Barbie sizes (and a number of other variations) for its iconic doll? The convergence was nothing short of astonishing in a news cycle when competition for the surreal is keen.
Rome got out ahead with its news on January 21, 2016. Women are now eligible to have our feet washed in the Holy Thursday liturgy, a privilege heretofore reserved officially for men though anatomically it appears that women’s and men’s feet are remarkably similar. Even Pope Francis has been known to wash women’s feet in these ceremonies. Now it is company policy, proving there are some perks to being the pope.
In a clear case of teaching catching up with practice, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued the news signed by its prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah:
To manifest the full meaning of the rite to those who participate in it, the Holy Father Francis has seen fit to change the rule in the Roman Missal… according to which the chosen men are accompanied by the ministers, which must therefore be modified as follows: … pastors may choose a group of faithful representing the variety and unity of every part of the People of God. This group may consist of men and women, and ideally of the young and the old, healthy and sick, clerics, consecrated persons and lay people.
Note the ease with which a male-only gender rule was erased by the addition of the phrase “and women,” an act that has caused apoplexy among conservative Catholics. They fear that, because the ceremony is based on Jesus’ humble action with his disciples at the Last Supper allowing women to participate (albeit passively), this change will open the door to women’s ordination..."