Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Oh, No, Not More Cape!

This man is hosting WYD 2008.... Does that mean his cape can be elongated another, say, 5 or 6 feet? Don't quibble -- WYD is so much bigger than a red hat anymore. You didn't know?

Of course, all that scarlet moire is meant to serve in imitation of Jesus, the High Fashionista.... No, the actual root of the cappa magna was warmth. But, over time, as Catholics do, it became aggrandized and kept for ornamental purposes, like prelates are Christmas trees or something. So here you have something that started as a device for warmth being worn in the middle of August.

And that irony of evolution is the most Catholic thing of all about this rig.

Whatever makes ya happy, Pell.

Photos from Contemplare.



Blogger thomas tucker said...

Well, keep in mind that August in Australia is winter, isn't it?

6/9/05 22:03  
Blogger Rocco Palmo said...

The pics are from WYD in Cologne. Unless the world's been turned upside-down, and sometimes it feels like that's the case, it was summer....

6/9/05 22:27  
Blogger Socius said...

Give Pell a break. He wore the capa magna as he presided at Pontifical Vespers for the Juventutem group. No doubt they supplied the capa and he wore it according to the norms of the rite they were using.

Any one who knows Pell or follows him would know that such is not at all his style. Nevertheless, he is a man of courtesy and a man of the Church who seeks the unity of the Church. Thus I would expect him to respect this group and the dignity of the ceremony and its tradition.

6/9/05 22:59  
Blogger Todd said...

Not likely garb like that would ever go down too well in Oz. Reminds me of a cartoon I saw ages ago of Mary and the Infant of Prague with the caption, "I don't care who you say you are, young man; you are not going out to play with your friends dressed like that!"

6/9/05 23:15  
Blogger Jeff said...

Christmas trees are TRADITIONAL, Rocco. That's why folks like 'em.

Why not let people have a swath of scarlet, from time to time, and a bit of lace to remind them that the Church didn't start in 1965? The Church has traditions, too, or hadn't you heard. They weren't all abolished at that Council in Rome they had a few decades ago...what was it called?

6/9/05 23:36  
Blogger R. Thornton said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/9/05 00:04  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

And Pell is one of the Holy of Holies worried about gay priests!

No self-respecting queen would be caught dead looking like that, unless, of course, it was at a costume ball.

Sheesh .........

7/9/05 00:46  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

You say the Cappa Magna was supplied by the Traditionalist Youth Group and not by Pell himself?


What's the more scary concept?

That a Cardinal Archbishop would have one of those things hanging around somewhere?

Or that some normal healthy young adult would have his (or could it be her?) own spare Cappa Magna in the closet (so to speak)?

Maybe there were several theater majors in the organization and they scraped the robe collection together.

And re - the length of the Cappa: is that where Pell got the nickname they use in Sydney: Big George?

7/9/05 02:07  
Blogger Michelle said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/9/05 06:02  
Blogger Justin said...

Lets not forget something else - as a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, he is perfectly within his right to wear the Cappa Magna. There was never a suppression with regards to its use. It's wierd that to Rocco's mind, people can't crticize bishops for allowing liturgical dance, and other wierd stuff like incense bowls, that was never part of the Latin tradition but it is perfectly okay for him to poke fun at bishops who wear legitimate episcopal vesture. Warped.

7/9/05 07:58  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...


I'd rewrite your entry this way:

So there are young people who consider themselves the self-anointed future of the restored church of glory

who are made happy by late middle-aged men dressed up in ridiculous-looking -- not dignified, liturgical vesture; not Pope Benedict's "pulchritudo nobilis" - but utterly RIDICULOUS-LOOKING trappings of the late medieval papal court:

that may not be pathetic or unChristian,

but it is freaking scary.

7/9/05 08:30  
Blogger patrick said...

More cappas please!

7/9/05 08:30  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

And more lace curtains wrapped around big late middle-aged male bellies . . .

the Church of the Ages shall rise again on such firm (ahem) foundations!

And Rocco: get to work! I still wanna see a picture of the kid in the youth group who had that outfit in his (surely) closet (sorry)!

7/9/05 08:34  
Blogger Justin said...


Ridiculous looking the vesture may appear to you - it is a legitimate episcopal vesture still in the ceremonial of Bishops. Wearing the cappa magna is no different from wearing the biretta or zuchetto or any other not-strictly liturgical garb.

Maybe you should reserve your vitroil for priests dressed in cass-albs with cameras dangling down their necks (since when did the camera become a liturgical vestment), or bishops wearing cheese-head mitres - these are not legitmate expressions of the diversity of the Church, unlike the cappa magna.

7/9/05 09:11  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

Justin -


Awfully sensitive (that thing wasn't stashed in YOUR closet, was it?)!

Unlike the biretta and the zuchetto, Justin, the cappa magna is NOT one of those "not-strictly liturgical" elements that has survived in regular use for the past several decades.

It does, however, expand the role of the laity, I suppose by reviving a long-neglected "ministry": train-bearer.

While those Traditional Youth who are, apparently, the future of the Church are reviving salutary customs, they might consider this:

One prelate on the East Coast used to have two little black boys as his train-bearers at the Cathedral. In knickers! At the end of each procession, they'd each receive a silver dollar from the grateful and, no doubt, humble hierarch!

On second thought, that might not work today: a little too much social justice there!

And, speaking of vitriol, how did you make the jump from my criticism of young people into pompous prissy paraphernalia to presuming that I think cameras or cheesehead mitres (a fan of THAT VERY RELIABLE website are you now, Justin?) are acceptable?

How about taking Pope Benedict XVI as a role model? Orthodox, intellectual, reverent, self-effacing, and a champion of the Roman Rite's noble simplicity and noble beauty?

Or do you think that when he celebrates a liturgy for them, they'll just happen to have a sedia, tiara and ostrich flabelli handy . . . after all, there's nothing in the Ceremonial that says he CAN'T use them if he wants to.

7/9/05 09:41  
Blogger Jim Tucker said...

"Or do you think that when he celebrates a liturgy for them, they'll just happen to have a sedia, tiara and ostrich flabelli handy . . . after all, there's nothing in the Ceremonial that says he CAN'T use them if he wants to."

Hmmm, do they have ostriches in Australia? Might be an interesting thought for WYD 2008. Just thinking out loud here...

7/9/05 10:07  
Blogger Justin said...

Gyrovagus -

My apologies - my use of the word vitroil was uncalled for and intended to provoke.

It just seems to me that if Bishops can reach out to other cultures by permitting drums and liturgical dance and Bishops can reach out to more "modern" youth (is that even a term?) by permitting Lifeteen Masses and Matrix-style vocation posters, then it is perfectly acceptable even laudable for Bishops to reach out to those traditional youth by wearing the Cappa

Unless of course, one would rather not reach out to these sorts of people...

7/9/05 10:43  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

If by reaching out to "these people" you mean admiring ridiculous ostentatious clerical attire, we already do it here in San Francisco: it's called the annual Pride Day Parade. They are all welcome to come and parade and prance at will!

What a pathetic commentary on what some people think Church should be. Actually, it is disgusting.

7/9/05 11:11  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...


Not to prolong this indefinitely or unnecessarily . . . but, as a person who is an "almost-daily" Tridentine Mass person and who knows a significant number of Traditionalist Catholic youth who, thanks to a Traditional Religious Community are extremely well-read (if I could put it that way) in terms of their Mass Latin and who know several Masses from the Vatican Kyriale (I, VIII, IX and X, XI, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, the Requiem, Credos I and III and the Ambrosian Gloria!), who witness monthly outside an abortion factory near two major universities in Boston and by helping to stock and serve an inner city food pantry/shelter, but who have NEVER expressed an opinion about and who, presumably know NOTHING about and do not NEED to know anything about such fussy details as lace rochets and cappa magnas, I have to ask:

what kind of young people ARE these who need to be "reached out to" by overweight middle-aged men in robes no longer commonly in use in the Catholic Church?

A Cardinal in normal choir dress somehow isn't enough?

Where would they even get such information as to lace rochets and cappa magnas?

Am I the only (fairly Traditional) person who doesn't get it? And who thinks these kids must be . . . well . . . a little TOO interested in things that are WAY peripheral?

Come on, people, no one else wondering about this?

The further issue, of course, is why Cardinal Pell would consent to cater to such fussiness and not say, "No, no, I'll wear my the choir robes of a Cardinal who is presiding at the Divine Office . . . if it was good enough to wear into the Conclave, it will be just fine for this."

Fussy Youth Meet Pompous Prelate = that's hope for the future?

7/9/05 11:18  
Blogger Justin said...

I can't speak for the Juventutem crowd being a Novus Ordo person myself but I would guess the information about rochets and cappa magnas come from the Ceremonial of Bihops.

I'm afraid I really don't see whats wrong with interest in the peripherals of clerical attire. Is the cappa magna so awful that it is somehow incompatible with love and respect for the Eucharist and outreach to the poor and needy?

As what kind of youth need to be reached out? Well, they are clearly a different sort of young people from those that need to be reached-out by guitar-playing middle-aged hippie priests wearing clothes and singing songs that have never been in common use in the Catholic church. The Juventutem crowd however are no less Catholic than the Lifeteen crowd.

As to why Card. Pell consents to Juventutem's request for him to wear a legitimate vesture? That's like asking why would Bishop N. consent to the request of other young people to sing contemporary hymns at Mass. If you were the Bihsop would you say, "No, no, I'll only allow singing of plainchant and sacred polyphony...if it was good enough for the Conclave, it will be just fine for this?"

Posts on this blog frequently
criticize the CWN Off the Record crowd for their tirade against catholic bishops. It seems to me though that the tirade against these catholic youth and their bishop is just stooping to CWNs level.

7/9/05 11:44  
Blogger Justin said...

Gyrovagus - BTW, while some of these youth may be fussy (I know I am, and I'm not even a TLM goer), I don't think it was very fair of you to describe Card. Pell as pompous. Going by his response to the false allegations of child sexual abuse against him, I would have to say that he was as humble in that scenario as Card. Benardin. I haven't met the man myself but those who have all say that he is a humble and virtous man.

John Paul II when presented with a faldo and fiddleback by a community of nuns to say Mass did not do as his advisers suggested and not wear them. Was he a pompous man as well?

7/9/05 11:57  
Blogger Socius said...

So, I have discovered that this is the bitchiest blog on the block.

7/9/05 12:54  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

Let me do two responses in one posting:


That's an interesting image you conjure up: imagine a community of nuns and a group of Traditionalist young people having similar liturgical tastes. Not such a stretch, I suppose, in light of the number of young priests of that orientation I've met who say they were inspired in their vocations by Mother Angelica.


Yes, indeed! Make yourself right at home!

7/9/05 13:05  
Blogger Jason Cardona said...

I wonder if our Eastern Catholic brethren sit around chastising their Bishops for treasuring traditions from the Patristic (let alone medieval) period.

Only in the West, my friends. Only in the West. :)

7/9/05 13:07  
Blogger Jeff said...

Don't bother Justin. Humility and patience with Gyrovagus don't work when he's in this weird mood.

He just carries on, insinuating that anyone who doesn't agree with him is gay and mentioning how much Gregorian chant he knows, etc., etc. All the time, looking over his shoulder to see if he's curried enough favor with the modernist set. And if you give him as good as he give out, he gets his feelings all hurt and protests for the thousandth time that he goes to the Tridentine Mass seventeen times a day and can recite the Confiteor backwards in his sleep.

People like the heritage of the Church. Some of what they like may be ridiculous. It will fade away in time. Why get in a fit because they like to see "cool" stuff that that they don't get a chance to see often? Why slam a prelate who say, "Sigh, I hate this get up, but I guess it's the equivalent of wearing white tie and tails." And who knows where white tie and tails came from? Who cares? It's tradition and people like it on formal occasions.

Oh, well. If you rage at them and say they're closet homosexuals, maybe Rocco's ilk will give a glance and a smile and say, "Good little Traditionalist. You make a fine pet." Sad thing is that they don't notice much. Or care.

7/9/05 13:13  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...


Im srroy tht mi edyoukayshun pizzes yoo offf sow mutch an maches yoo tern inn two a naztie beech. I no yoo er no fagg yoo ken luv Gorge Pells kool Cape a lot. Yoo rite nize stiff! Bi now!

7/9/05 14:59  
Blogger mamagiglio said...

It's not like Cardinal Pell dresses like this all the time. What's the big deal if he wears the costuime appropriate to his office every once in a while? There are some of us who miss seeing priests who look like priests and nuns who look like nuns.

7/9/05 16:00  

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