“Of course, as supreme legislator, the pope can (in theory) change the (canon) law any which way he desires,” Fr. Fessio acknowledged. “But the prototype is, of course, the Last Supper where Jesus washes the feet not of his disciples, not of people chosen randomly from the crowds but of the apostles, and tells them they should wash ‘one another’s’ feet. That is, ordained ministers should follow this example among themselves. Which is probably why, though the evidence for the rite in the early Church is very thin, we do know that in the 11th century the pope washed the feet of subdeacons. Certainly from the time of Trent (16th century) until 1955, the rite was not part of the Mass.
Priests are not obligated to wash the feet of women during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday... .
The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments told reporters in Rome on February 26 that every bishop or priest “has to decide in accord with his own conscience, and according to the purpose for which the Lord instituted this feast." (Let us hope that every bishop and priest takes ample time to properly form his conscience.)
“One thing is certain,” Fr. Fessio said. “There is a ‘symbolic dissonance’ or disconnect. The humility and service of which Jesus gives an example is something every Christian owes everyone. Nevertheless, the historical origin of the example is Jesus’ washing of the feet of his 12 apostles. Trying to make the gesture more ‘inclusive’ than Jesus himself did simply muddles the historical image.”
"Make a mess, but then also help to tidy it up. A mess which gives us a free heart, a mess which gives us solidarity, a mess which gives us hope," (Pope Francis) said to the tens of thousands of young people.—Newsweek
When permission was given for female altar servers, it was a permission given to bishops, not directly to priests (i.e., if a bishop so chose, he could permit the practice in the diocese). It was clear in the decree that no priest was required to have female servers, even if the bishop had given the permission. How was this treated? Many bishops insisted that the regular use of altar girls be normative for all Masses.