Thursday, March 17, 2011

All Hats Are Silly

Which is why I think it's so absurd when prelates in the Church act as if some silly hats are tolerable, but that others are just too silly, that to even suggest them is ridiculous. Give me a break. If a bishop can wear a miter, or a cardinal the red biretta...at that point, nothing is "too" silly. Making such distinctions at that point seems incomprehensible to me.

In that vein, I was actually rather happy (not too happy, mind you; I'm not insane) to see this picture of Miss Marple...I mean, Carmen Sandiego...excuse me, I mean Cardinal Burke...making the rounds:


He's wearing the galero! Though creating cardinals after the reforms is now done by giving a red biretta rather than a galero (again, what an absurd distinction to make; if a biretta is okay, then any such silly hat should be okay!) many cardinals nevertheless still privately acquire galeros to continue the old tradition of hanging them on the ceilings of their cathedral when they die (which continuing practice likewise raises the question of: if cardinals are getting them anyway, why not just confer them in the consistories then??)

Now, aesthetically speaking, it's far from perfect; I'm not sure I like the color or material or shape of this design. Still, I'm glad Cardinal Burke is using a galero vaguely of the medieval style of the sort one often sees in paintings of St. Jerome:


The galero, as it had evolved by pre-conciliar times was, though no more or less "silly" compared to any other ecclesiastical head-wear, practicably generally unwearable due to its unwieldy size:



Still, all this reminded me of a quote that came out in the media from that book "Light of the World" with the interview of Pope Benedict. While other people were thrown into a tizzy by the "condoms may be the lesser evil if people refuse to abstain" comments, I was more baffled by this:
"I wore it only once. I was just cold, and I happen to have a sensitive head. And I said, since the camauro is there, let's put it on. But I was really just trying to fight off the cold. I haven't put it on again since, in order to forestall over-interpretation."
I mean, I thought the camauro Benedict wore was rather lumpy. Compare the original, on the left, to the version I edited, on the right, below (though I know the guy can't control the shape of his head):

I also think he should have worn it with the matching mozzetta rather than that off-color cape. Still, that's not my point. My point is that I just don't understand the distinctions these men are making. The Pope is afraid to wear the camauro again (even though he has a sensitive head; even though this time there was a very pragmatic purpose for it!) because he's worried about it being "interpreted" as reactionary, but they're fine with the body of John XXIII wearing it in St. Peter's, and then Benedict will wear a foot-tall miter, or the white paschal mozzetta, or a capello romano, or red shoes, or any of these other costume-pieces?? Now that is silly.

If you're going to dress up like that, then you'd better go all out. No one ever won a drag show by being conservative about it...

1 comment:

Thom, sfo said...

This totally made my day. Thanks.