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Pope Francis changes church law on feet-washing Easter rite

Published 21/01/2016

Pope Francis is changing church law on the Easter Week ritual of the washing of the feet.
Pope Francis is changing church law on the Easter Week ritual of the washing of the feet.

Pope Francis is changing church law to correspond to his rule-breaking celebration of the Easter Week ritual of the washing of the feet.

Vatican rules for the Holy Thursday rite had long called for only men to participate.

Popes in the past have traditionally performed the ritual on 12 Christian men, recalling the 12 apostles of Jesus.

Shortly after he was elected, Francis raised conservative eyebrows by performing the rite on men and women, Christians as well as Muslims, at a jail.

And now the Vatican has published a decree announcing that the rite can be performed on anyone "chosen from among the people of God". It makes no mention of gender or religious affiliation.

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