Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (The Vatican liturgy chief) has aired to Reporters in Rome that Priest are not obliged to wash the feet of women during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.
He made his point further clear by saying that a priest “has to decide in accord with his own conscience, and according to the purpose for which the Lord instituted this feast". The Vatican Liturgy Chief emphasized on this issue given that some Priests and the faithful are beginning to think that a priest must wash a woman’s feet on the Holy Thursday whether he likes it or not; given that the Holy Father Pope Francis has changed the rule of the Holy Thursday feet washing by approving women and and young girls alike to part-take in the wash.
The rite was celebrated separately to the Holy Thursday Mass before Pope Pius XII restored it in 1955.
Before this point, women’s feet could be washed, but only by other women.