Sunday, January 22, 2006

Introducing the "Bobbing Jesus"

As promised, the AP Wire has finally cooperated with photos from this morning's Jubilee Liturgy for the 500th Anniversary of the birth of the Pontifical Swiss Guard in the Sistine Chapel....

I'm told my commemorative hat is on its way. Can't wait for that.

The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, notably wearing a Roman-style (commonly known as "fiddle-back") chasuble while the other concelebrants made use of the customary green stock vestments of the sacristy of St. Peter's.

But someone woefully mismatched the Cardinal-Dean. The mitre was some kind of modernistic, 70s looking thing with an embroidered, full-color Jesus on it.

As our resident commentator for papal ceremonial -- who was providing his feed via Skype as we watched the liturgy unfold from different corners of the globe -- noted, "[That mitre and chasuble] are just screaming at each other."

Our pundit then focused on Sodano's headgear, saying as if he were the celebrant, "Don't look at my mouth -- look at the Bobbing Jesus; he's doing the talking."

The bouquet of flowers on one side of the altar and candles on the other end didn't go over so well, either. Apparently, in the first edition of the General instruction on the Roman Missal, flowers on the altar table were banned. But, we're told, because the Italians just kept doing it anyway, the practice was formally sanctioned in the 2003 GIRM -- much like the practice of bishops wearing their pectoral crosses over their chasubles.

Even though Sodano's cord was under the vestment, the absence of a dalmatic (and the MC's apparent lack of aecumen at adjusting the sliding bezels of the cross-cord) made the bauble fly out of the low neck of the chasuble.

Not pretty at all. Then again, St. Peter had the best pectoral cross among the apostles, so it's a fitting reminder.

PHOTOS: Maurizio Brambatti/POOL