The following comes from a January 20 LifeSiteNews article by John-Henry Westen:
As if readying the Church for a coming change, Pope Francis has significantly raised the stakes for those apprehensive about the possibility that he has new innovations in store for the Church. A Vatican Radio summary of his homily on January 18 reads:
“Christians who say ‘it’s always been done that way,’ and stop there have hearts closed to the surprises of the Holy Spirit. They are idolaters and rebels who will never arrive at the fullness of the truth.”
In his homily yesterday, Pope Francis used harsh language against those unwilling to accept yet unspecified “change.” “It is the sin of so many Christians who cling to what has always been done and who do not allow others to change. And they end up with half a life, [a life that is] patched, mended, meaningless,” he said. The sin, he said, “is a closed heart,” that “does not hear the voice of the Lord, that is not open to the newness of the Lord, to the Spirit that always surprises us.”
What changes Pope Francis has in mind for the Church remain to be seen. However, Catholics feeling the sting of the pope’s harsh language can consider themselves in good company. Some Synod Fathers who battled to defend the Church’s moral teachings on divorce, homosexuality, and papal authority felt themselves chastised by the pope during his final address to the Synod, when he said: “true defenders of doctrine are not those who uphold its letter, but its spirit; not ideas but people; not formulae but the gratuitousness of God’s love and forgiveness.”
The pope said there was a need to overcome “the recurring temptations of the elder brother (cf. Lk 15:25-32) and the jealous labourers (cf. Mt 20:1-16)” and that “the Church’s first duty is not to hand down condemnations or anathemas, but to proclaim God’s mercy…”
The Pope decrees that not only men may be chosen for the washing of the feet in the Liturgy of Holy Thursday
The following comes from a January 21 Vatican Information Service article :
The Holy Father has written a letter, dated 20 December and published today, to Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in which he decrees that from now on, the people chosen for the washing of the feet in the liturgy of Holy Thursday may be selected from all the People of God, and not only men and boys.
The Pope writes to the cardinal that he has for some time reflected on the “rite of the washing of the feet contained in the Liturgy of the Mass in Coena Domini, with the intention of improving the way in which it is performed so that it might express more fully the meaning of Jesus’ gesture in the Cenacle, His giving of Himself unto the end for the salvation of the world, His limitless charity”.