The following was found in the March 2012 Archdiocese of Cincinnati Clergy Communications  in regards to women having their feet washed during the Mandatum (rite of washing of feet) that occurs on Holy Thursday:


In recent years, several phone calls have been made to the Worship Office regarding “who” may have their feet washed at the Holy Thursday Liturgy. The Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy wrote a statement in the February, 1987 edition of the BCL Newsletter, and restated it once again in 1998, responding to the question of “who” may have their feet washed at the Holy Thursday liturgy. The following response was given by the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy:
Because the gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday also depicts Jesus as the “Teacher and Lord” who humbly serves his disciples by performing this extraordinary gesture which goes beyond the laws of hospitality, the element of humble service has accentuated the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become
customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service. (BCL, Vol. XXIII, Feb., 1987)
It goes on to say:
While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men (viri selecti), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, “who came to serve and not be served,” that all members of the Church must serve one another in love. (BCL, Vol. XXIII, Feb., 1987)

In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, it has been the custom of priests to wash the feet of a representative group of parishioners: men, women, children, persons with disabilities, the elderly, etc.

Note the cited US Bishops’ statement refers to this liturgical abuse as a mere “variation”; and why the mention of persons with disabilities, the elderly, the children?  No one who is arguing for the liturgical rubrics to be properly followed is arguing that men with disabilities, or elderly men or even boys couldn’t be included.  I think this may be an attempt to demonize those who see the practice of women foot washing as problematic, as being against the inclusion of the handicap, etc.  Never mind the fact that the Bishops’ statement which is cited has no authority in the matter.  Never mind the fact that the 2002 Roman Missal specifically mentions only men (viri selecti).   Not even His Excellency, Archbishop Schnurr, has the authority to allow this.  Only the Holy See can over ride the Roman Missal, and they’ve never done so regarding this matter nor have they granted any bishops’ conference (to my knowledge) such an approval to do so.   In fact this is what the Holy See has said regarding the matter in 1988’s Paschalis Sallemnitatis:

51. The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve.[58] This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained.

It appears as if the archdiocese is on auto-pilot regarding this policy, as it is pretty much more of the same excuses that have been peddled for years in these parts.  Why this is allowed to continue to go on, is beyond me.