UPDATE: Regina-Caeli commentary and Latin Mass Society press release added
New Catholic: Two comments on historical matters. (1) This is one of the signs of irreformable acts by Francis. Since the beginning of his pontificate, his main supporters, including Cardinal Maradiaga, have insisted that the Pope wanted his reforms to be so great and symbolic no successor of his could ever overturn them. This is surely one example. (2) What is most tragic is to see the very same impulses that imploded Anglicanism imposed on Latin Church decades later. These impulses are not only untraditional — which may be an advantageous characteristic in the Pope’s mind — but counterproductive. Unless the intention is to destroy the soul and strength of the Church, weaken Her even more, and to sow doubts on the immutability of symbolic explanations for the Male Priesthood in the Catholic Church. Surely that is not what was intended and what was sought. Surely not!
Latin Mass Society Chairman Joseph Shaw’s statement on allowing the washing of the feet of women at the OF mandatum:
I’ve been asked for a statement on the decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship allowing the washing of the feet of women as well as men in the ‘mandatum’ of Maundy Thursday.
I feel very sorry for priests who have been trying to obey liturgical law on this issue, as on other issues in the Ordinary Form. They may well feel betrayed. Equally, I can see that from the Roman perspective, the rule has become meaningless – and did so even before the Holy Father broke it himself. This has happened again and again since Vatican II. The traditions of the Roman liturgy, as preserved in the Ordinary Form, are being stripped away one by one.
An important aspect, which is generally neglected is the question of the etiquette of men washing the feet of women. This would have been considered inappropriate only a few decades ago in the West, and such a view persists in many cultures. In many developing countries there is serious conflict between people trying to be as progressive as possible on such matters, and others reasserting traditional sexual constraints and gender roles. This decree is not going to help priests in those places.