An interesting letter to the Holy Father from Fr Conrad Saldanha.
It gave me further reflection that in the context of the liturgy the Gospel of the foot washing in the Mass of Holy Thursday is intimately linked to the Eucharist - we get no passage from the Gospels of the actual Institution but rather the foot washing - indicating the Eucharist as service, as what is celebrated in that Mass - the Holy SACRIFICE of the Mass. It seems to me that seeing a Holy Father washing the feet of his priests, as was done in the past is, is much more fitting in this context. The Mandatum is an image of what Our Lord did for his disciples - it is that which is being re-enacted. Perhaps another example of how it is not always in the best interests of true teaching that we tinker with the things of the liturgy to make them appeal to the world, instead of meditating on what we already have and then explaining. Thus the foot washing is an image of the priest - hence the restriction to men. The iconography now says something different.
The disciples - the priests - bring the good news; literally bring it about it in the Mass... "as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Rom 10:7)