1. I’m agreeing with you on the Capa Magna. It’s a terrible throw-back to Mediaeval (or maybe Renaissance) ideas about secular hierarchy replicating in the Church.

    So, when are you going to comment about how stupid Eastern Rite bishops look all decked out like the Byzantine Emperor?

  2. I have commented in the past and I think they look Ridiculous also. I think we in the east need to modify our vestments. Not very comfortable and they are very expensive as well.

  3. What are you afraid of? And how come you seem to be pretty confident that judging and calling something stupid that others seem to like is exactly what Jesus had in mind for his Church?

  4. Alipius – well, speaking for myself, I’m, at least, sticking with a host of liturgical scholars who agree with me: we’ve made a big mistake. No matter what people “like”. It’s not about what people “like”: personal taste, if I understand the conservative argument, isn’t ‘sposed to enter into the equation. And “what Jesus had in mind” is rather difficult to imagine – since there is no evidence he had much in mind beyond “eat bread, drink wine in my memory”.

    Don’t need a capa cagna for that.

  5. I don’t really see my questions answered, but anyways:

    The “big mistake” seems to be pretty open to debate if men like Finn, Bruskewitz, Burke, Castrillon Hoyos, Medina Estévez or Canizares were caught wearing the cappa in the past years. So I am sticking with a bunch of bishops and cardinals. I suggest we forget about the question who is on our tag-team, cause we got minds ourselves.

    If the mistake had been that big, I think Paul VI would have suppressed the cappa altogether in “ut sive sollicite”. Just abandoning it in Rome clearly showed that even after the council the Church thought that special solemnities might call for special vestments.

    Personal taste and what people like is not supposed to enter into ones relation to God where questions of morals and faith are touched. There will always be people who like one aspect of the visible church and dislike another, which is why the Catholic Church nowadays sticks with the “both… and…”, which already worked and works well in theology.

    Here’s something to ponder: Two sentences you wrote in the time-span of ten days:
    a) “I am sure this is what Jesus had in mind for his church.”
    b) “And “what Jesus had in mind” is rather difficult to imagine…”

    I find it more scary than interesting to read that Jesus said “eat bread, drink wine in my memory”. My Gospel kind of says something about body and blood.

    If all simply came down to “eat bread, drink wine in my memory” we certainly also wouldn’t need church buildings, music, art, pews or the profession that right now allows you to put a “Fr.” in front of your name.

  6. Alipius,

    I never said it was stupid please do not put words in my mouth I can do that all on my own.

    Second, Ministry is not a profession it is a vocation and it is my oridination to the sacred priesthood that “allows” me to put Fr. in front of my name.

    I am not saying that the church of Rome is not doing great things in the world, in fact if you read my blog you will see I have great affection for the Church of my birth. All I am saying is that we need to get back to the basics, and when I say that I mean we all need to get back to the basics, Orthodox and Catholic a like. We have people trying to put food on their table and raise their kids and they don’t need us clergy trapsing around town all dressed up, I include myself in that statement as well.

    Thanks for visiting and thanks for commenting.

  7. Hi Alpius – thanks for the reply. While I’m with you on the Body and Blood line, my comment was regarding for what Jesus had in mind for his church, that’s about all he said about ritual – take, eat/drink.

    Nothing about clothing, however. And a lot about care for the poor and selling all the things we have to do it.

  8. Fr. Peter:
    Maybe I am just messing things (or authors) up again, but if you never said it was stupid, then who wrote this: “In case you missed this the last time here is another stupid photo. I am sure this is what Jesus had in mind for his church. I will say again that I like vestments and I think one should look the part during Liturgy but this is just stupid!”

    The all-dressed-up thing is a point well taken, but please allow me to add that I have met my share of people who are poor (and I mean poor) and who were not only fond of the splendor of the church and her priests but shocked at the idea it could be stripped down. And, let’s face it, with all the money the church gives to charity, the money spend on vestments that can be worn for generations (if treated well) doesn’t make that much of a difference.

  9. Alipius,

    This is what happens when I try to reply to too many posts at one time. I guess I did call it stupid and if that insulted you I am sorry for that but it is after all my opinion and we can dissagree on this point.

    Anyone who knows me knows that I like nice vestments and other such things but I cannot see a need in the church for an outfit like that I am sorry. There just is no need for all that to keep going on in the world today, and I would say the same thing about our Orthodox Vestments as well. But I think I would be hard pressed to find a poor person who would not rather have a sandwich then to have a cardinal wear that get up.

  10. Fr. Peter:

    Agreed. But I am not looking at the “either/or”. I am rather sticking with the “both… and…”. I might be wrong here, since I am not operating with empirical data but simply with what seems reasonable: But I don’t think that a cappa magna that is worn instead of locked away makes a difference in the sandwich department.

    Also – and this might expand the topic somewhat: I am of the opinion that a certain easiness and self-righteousness has crept into the awareness of the faithful after Paul VI offered up the tiara to the poor. Since apparently lots of people didn’t really get the symbolic significance behind this act, at least in the countries I know well (Germany and Austria) there is a certain reasoning, which goes something like this: “Hey, you can feed the poor by locking a piece of ecclesiastical tad up in a wardrobe? Cool! Let’s force all the bishops to wear cheap burlap and plastic pectoral crosses! That should take care of world hunger once and for all. What? Me? Giving up my third car? Why? The Church is already taking care of doing something for the poor!” I am deliberately overdoing it a bit, but the essence is true. I am not saying that the Church does not have a model-function when it comes to charity and generousness. But I think the whole situation would be lots easier if people would pay attention to what they themselves CAN do instead of to what others SHOULD do.

  11. Alpius – that’s kind of a catch-22, no? We (church) are supposed to be showing the world how to do this. So events like the one pictured result in a “do as I say, not as I do” sort of double standard. DO sell everything and give all that you have to the poor… but only if you don’t have a purple shirt, in which case you get a slide.

    In “The Shoes of the Fisherman”, the pope didn’t just “symbolically” offer his tiara to the poor: instead he offered all the resources of the church to solve the problems of poverty. *THAT* would be a Petrine ministry of serving the servants of God.

    Again, to be clear, as I say this I try to put it into first person and I know that neither the Orthodox Church nor the Anglican church are good examples of this either. But we don’t claim to be Primus or even Primus inter pares in following Jesus. We will all have much to answer for on the Last Day.

  12. No, it is not a catch-22. All that needs to happen is that whoever out there thinks a cappa magna is a proof of the church hoarding money and not properly caring about the problems in this world applies the same standard to him- or herself. Most people who own items that might be called a superfluous luxury still can be giving generously to charity. Same with the Church. With the possible difference that a cappa magna, when used under the proper circumstances, elevates a whole congregation and celebration to a – yes – more splendorous but also more symbolic and more “out of this time and world”-level, whereas i.e. 14 pairs of shoes or a silk pajama or an ivory back-scratcher only serve the person that owns it. I don’t pass judgment on these people because I don’t know whether they do something for the poor or not. I give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they do. Whether one likes the cappa or not, I don’t think it is too much to ask to give the Church the same benefit, especially since her works of charity are well-known.

  13. I think there is a great difference between you or I judging someone for something (which we are told not to do) and you or I complaining about the Church being messed up – or, to use a hot button word – even stupid.

    As a member of The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church I feel I can and should call the Church on her occasional stupidity, injustice, hypocrisy, waste and inability to follow the Gospel.

    That’s not judgement. You know, Love the sinner hate the sin and all that. This sucking up to secular authority and using symbols of same (in this case, if memory serves, Rennaisance magistrates) is one place where much of the church, east and west, has been intrinsically disordered since Constantine.

    And, as I say it, it’s in the first person: being a member of the Church, I’m judging myself for the same stupidity. I love fine robes, long tassels and long public prayers as much as the next Pharisee. But even as I do: I fail to understand their connection to the Gospel and I wrestle with my urge to spend $75 on a linen clergy shirt. I like the trappings of the office: but fail miserably in my care for Christ in the least of these that come to my door daily.

    And I suck up to secular power as well.

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