Pope Francis on Thursday overturned centuries of tradition that banned women from a foot-washing service during Lent, upsetting conservatives and delighting women's rights activists.
Until now, only men or boys were formally allowed to take part in the service, in which a priest washes and kisses the feet of 12 people to commemorate Jesus' gesture of humility toward his apostles on the night before he died.
But in a letter to the Vatican department that regulates rites of worship, Francis said the group should be made up of "all members of the people of God," including women.
The . . .