Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pope Benedict's fashion statement

The big religion news today, of course, is Pope Benedict XVI's trip to the United States. Plenty of coverage is available on and elsewhere.

One fascinating aspect of this papal visit, however, is the attention that is being paid to what the pope will wear and what message that will send to the Catholic faithful.

Two of the best stories on the topic are "Do the Clothes Make the Pope -- Or the Church?" by Religion News Service columnist David Gibson and "Papal dress code" by Michael McGough in the Los Angeles Times.

It's easy to get lost in church-specific terminology like "fiddleback chausibles," and hard to understand the fuss over the height of the miter atop Benedict's head. But those who pay closer attention to liturgical garments than I do say that this pope's choices may signal disapproval of the Vatican II reforms and a return to more conservative traditions.
Are observers reading too much into the pope's choice of robes? Is Benedict's attire intended to make a statement or is it simply personal preference? If you think it does send a message, do you approve of it? (I'm particularly interested in hearing from Catholics on these questions.)


D.J. said...

Danbo, eagerly anticipating your thoughts...

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

I think the statement is something like "our money goes towards the wardrobe, forget the poor". Of course the Catholics are not alone in the lavish treatment of their leadership.....

Anonymous said...

I think more important question is:

Why is the Vatican continuing to shelter Cardinal Bernard Law?

Danbo59 said...

I do not believe this Pope wishes to undo Vatican II. I do believe that he is concerned that some of the reforms of V2 were taken a bit too far by some of the churches. I would tend to agree. I think we (in America) have become a bit too lax in how we pray and how we worship (not what we believe).

I'd like to see a return "to the rail" for Holy Eucharist, a return to more respectful dress at Mass, etc.

As to the anonymous poster who took a shot at the Church's financial status in light of the poor, it was Jesus who said, "The poor you will always have." The Catholic Church is one of the most charitable organizations (if not the most charitable organization) in the world.

John said...

I think there are those who will assign meaning to anything and everything the Pope does, assigning it according to how they HOPE he feels, that is. It should be borne in mind that both he and John Paul II were actual participants in Vatican II and helped shape it's reforms.

Danbo, I don't think we need to return "to the rail", but I DO think we need to recapture the reverence for the true presence in the Eucharist.

That's not really a function of rules and ritual however, it's doing a better job of teaching the beliefs and leading by example.

Teachers like Scott Hahn, who will be returning to the area in the next week or two, and small study groups like the "Why Catholic" movement will accomplish more than liturgical changes ever could. We must be careful not to "wash the outside of the cup, while the inside remains unclean". It's a change of heart, not just of process.

The fundamental truth is that if you accept and believe that Jesus is the son of God, and that by his death and resurrection you are saved, and recognize His true presence in the sacrament of Holy Eucharist... then the rest will follow. If you do not accept both these things... then you simply are NOT Catholic and no amount of liturgical ritual is going to change that!

One comment to the poster who is still hung up on the sex abuse scandal. As disgusting as the revelations have been, two things should be borne in mind...

#1 there have been priests who have been falsely accused (see the late Cardinal Bernadine for instance) and

#2 the fact is, that many other professions have a much higher rate of offenders then the Catholic priests... among them: school teachers, coaches, scout leaders and the Protestant clergy all have higher rates than the Catholic church.

The Catholic church is also not the only one to move the accused around rather than contact law enforcement, school systems have been caught doing it too. Parents and family members remain the #1 source of abuse.

I also laugh at the simpletons who use this issue to attack the celibacy of priests... many abusers outside the church are married, and the ones inside the church have generally been found to be homosexuals... so celibacy is not the issue here. Just a tempting target for the prejudices of many bashers.

Anonymous said...

The pope wears a silk dress and slippers, a pointed hat and worships a half-naked man nailed to a cross.

Why would homosexual pedophiles be attracted to that?

Anonymous said...

What advice would you have to help former Catholic to come out of the closet?

A young girlis asking how to break the news to her parents.

"I was raised Catholic. Very Catholic. You’re-going-to-hell-if-you’re-not-Catholic-Catholic. I was also homeschooled, and didn’t really have much social interaction as a kid. I spent a lot of time in the library, and I liked it that way. My parents decision to homeschool was partly due to my older sister getting picked on by some of the girls in her grade — my dad stated often that he wanted to keep us away from the Public School Kids."


"I would appreciate thoughts on my situation… Has anyone else had parents that aren’t understanding and able to respect their decisions? Maybe parents who were really strict but somehow took the news well? Is there ever a “right” time to break the news to religious parents?"

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, if your parents are very religious, there probably isn't a good time to do this while you're under their roof (unless you want to add a good bit of misery to your life).

Home schooling to keep you away from the riff-raff of public schools seems like a bit of an extreme position, so I'd play it cool as long as I could with them.

I've never seen or heard of something like that going over well and I've known plenty of atheists, some of whom who still had ongoing arguments with their extremely religious parents well into their 30's (and who knows
how much longer).

And, of course, this a major reason most people tend to stick with the religion of their parents. It's often painful for them when you break away from the way they "raised" you.

My parents weren't that way, but I never rubbed their noses in it, either, and was, in every other way, pretty well-behaved and that was good enough for them.

Danbo59 said...

John wrote, "Danbo, I don't think we need to return "to the rail", but I DO think we need to recapture the reverence for the true presence in the Eucharist."

In my opinion a "return to the rail" would be a good start. It shows the proper reverence.

And by the way, I am a facilitator in my parish's "Why Catholic?" program. You're right -- it is a wonderful program.

John said...

Have you ever noticed that you never hear of "fallen away Protestants"? Why is it always Catholics? Is it, perhaps, because they have something to fall away from?

I was raised in the United Church of Christ but found Jesus in the Catholic Church. It was the first place I felt at home.

D.J. said...

John said...
"Have you ever noticed that you never hear of "fallen away Protestants"?"

Let me assure you, my friend - sadly, there are plenty.

Soli Deo Gloria

eclectic said...

Let's all just wear silly costumes and have ga-ga to the Pope "idol" events
instead of living as rational beings who can accomplish much more productive and life affirming things if we just rid ourselves of such myths and rituals that do nothing but keep us in denial of reality.

The Pope is probably a good man and so are many of the Catholic followers etc. but how long do we need to adhere to archaic rituals and texts that no longer serve us as modern humans. The problems we face on this earth need more rational and logical answers then religion can possibly bring to the table.

Religion for the most part has kept us seperated from each other and the real world. It may give us self-asborbed comfort but will not resolve the basic necessity that humans must grow up and realize that we will not survive if we do not find some common ground over our disparate political and religious beliefs.

D.J. said...

Oh, how would I love for us Catholics to "return to the rail". Most of Vatican II was taken way too far and I wish we could go back... of course I wasn't born then but I have been to a SSPX church and loved it! Only wish the regular Catholic church would return to something close to that. And most of my friends and my husbands friends who are Catholic feel the same way. It seems the baby boomer generation is what's keeping the Church in its liberal state, liberal as in Protestant-y.

D.J. 2 said...

this is the last D.J. sorry I didn't see that D.J. was already a person on here...

D.J. said...

2 D.J.s? That's a frightening thought. :)

Soli Deo Gloria