The Australian: Pope rejects WYD chasuble design

Here is an interesting story from The Australian sent by kind reader:

THE Pope has decided he will not wear the vestments specially designed for World Youth Day and billed as "chic clergy couture" on the WYD website.

The "earthy-red" coloured vestments feature the Southern Cross constellation on the front and an indigenous feature titled "Marjorie’s Bird" on the back.  [So, they offered the Pope the bird.]

The snub [why must it be called a snub?] may be the first of many in the clash of cultures between the liturgically and theologically conservative Pope Benedict XVI and the exuberance of the youth day.  [Note the false conflict.  How do "conservative" and "exuberance" conflict?  The writer is clearly confused.]

Held over six days in Sydney in July, the day has a strong youth festival element, including music, performing arts, visual art exhibitions, debate, [?] film, community gatherings, street performers, workshops and a vocations expo. But Tracey Rowland, author of a recently published book about the Pope titled Ratzinger’s Faith, said Benedict was totally opposed to what he called "utility" music in the liturgy.  [What is going on here.  The idea of "utility music", or music having a utilitarian function in liturgy is contrary the the nature of liturgical action and active participation in the deepest sense.  Sacred music cannot be seen as merely "useful", as in useful to get people sing, get people involved.  Sacred music is really prayer.  It is pars integrans, an integral and integrating part of liturgy.  It is liturgy.  When you have the correct view of active participation as being first and foremost interior receptivity to what is being offered by the Actor of the sacred action, your choices in sacred music follow suit.  For this reason, I wouldn't be surprised if eventually we don't see - rather hear - changes in the direction of the Sistine Chapel choir.]

The Pope believes applause in church "was completely liturgically wrong", Dr Rowland said.  [He won't be rigid about this, because of his experience of Italy.  But this is essentially true.  He would not favor it.  But he would never put things in such brutal terms as the writer did.]

Dr Rowland said she had not seen the WYD vestments, but the Pope would think it was very important that any symbols featured on the clothing were "explicitly and unequivocally Christian".  [Gosh!  imagine that as being a criterion for sacred vestments intend for Holy Mass to be worn by the Vicar of Christ.  Let's get some perspective!]

WYD spokesman Jim Hanna said he had not heard of any difficulties arising from the Pope’s conservative preferences. "I have seen no evidence of controversy brewing about the liturgy," he said.

"We are in regular contact with the bishops’ conferences in most of the main countries – we check the numbers they give us all the time," he said. "What they’re telling us at the moment is that the number of 125,000 is about right."

Also, I suspect that if anyone was the point man for the rejection, it was Mons. Guido Marini.

 

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29 Responses to The Australian: Pope rejects WYD chasuble design

  1. “chic clergy couture?” I must have missed that show in Milan last Fall.

  2. Tom says:

    “The Pope believes applause in church “was completely liturgically wrong”, Dr Rowland said.”

    But I’ve watched Papal Masses during which His Holiness, immediately following Holy Communion, addressed groups in various languages.

    Pope Benedict XVI then paused to allow each group to applaud, laugh, wave to Vatican TV cameras…sway…hold up banners…

    P.S. I am certain that somebody will accuse me of having bashed the Pope. I simply posted that which I observed during a Mass offered by Pope Benedict XVI. His Holiness welcomed applause during Mass.

  3. Luis says:

    “It is pars integrans, and integral and integrating part of liturgy. It is liturgy.” So how does the “The Spirit is A-Movin” and Amy Grant intergrate the liturgy and develop the proper disposition for receptivity of the Sacred Mysteries of the Faith? Well, they don’t, so why do we keep hearing them at Mass anywhere at anytime. (OK, well maybe they don’t play “The Spirit is A-Movin” any more….)

    Luis

  4. hmmmm, maybe a TLM being offered? :)

  5. TJM says:

    The vestments in the photos look pretty pedestrian to me, particularly in light of the vestiture His Holiness has been sporting lately. At the end of the day, what the Pope wears is truly up to him and if anyone is “offended” (the most serious sin in lefty-world, far worse than adultery or abortion), too bad. Tom

  6. Maureen says:

    Um… I think you’re misunderstanding what you’ve seen. That’s usually not “after Communion”. It’s “after Mass”, during the Angelus address, that our Holy Father usually acknowledges visiting groups. (And they go a lot crazier during audiences than during the Angelus talks.)

  7. Dob says:

    “ChiC” clergy couture?????????
    Someone has mistyped some consonants surely.

  8. LCB says:

    It’s time Fr. Z publish a weekly editorial in secular newspapers, because these fisks are spot on.

  9. Anthony OPL says:

    First, please let me say that the two priests shown wearing the vestments, as well as Dr Tracey Rowland, are all known to me personally. The priests are young, vibrant, dignified captains of the Church who are often seen around and about St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney wearing at least the collar. Dr Rowland took doctoral studies under Sydney’s famous auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, who is also the Australian coordinator and director for World Youth Day preparations.

    With that lengthy introduction aside, I have to say I was surprised to see Frs Liem and Michael wearing these chasubles. I’m used to them wearing the lavishly rich attire of the St Mary’s sacristy. At least these chasubles have weight and dignity on their side, and I think their simplicity is justified by the fact that they are intended to be worn by concelebrants. The chasuble of the Pope, as celebrant, would be expectably more intricate (and since we haven’t seen it, commenting on the examples above wouldn’t really be meaningful). I may be biased by my Australian upbringing (to staunch Philippine-Spanish parents) but I do like the reappropriation of the Southern Cross as a truly and uniquely Christian expression of Australian identity. The use of Aboriginal style art to present Christian themes is quite popular here, and can be successful to a varying degree – it is certainly pivotal in the practice of the faith amongst indigenous Australians (such as in the vast, isolated plains). It can also be hideous or patently a-Christian, like the stole of a certain liberal priest I have the displeasure of knowing. Nevertheless, as with most liturgical things I expect these vestments will look either better or worse when seen in the flesh.

  10. Anthony OPL says:

    Whoops! I also forgot to mention that while the mainstream media is almost universally hostile to the Church here in Australia, the Australian is generally far more balanced. Notice how there is only one and a half points of actual contention with the author of the article in Fr Z’s fisk – the rest of the red is commentary on quotes from Dr Rowland (granted she has probably only seen the most “controversial” comments printed, but the point stands). I have actually attended an address at the 2007 Australian Catholic Students’ Association (ACSA) National Congress delivered by a married pair of journalists for the Australian who consistently present balanced, well researched commentary and reporting consistent with Catholic principles and practice. Unfortunately even the Australian (our only national, daily newspaper) has some entrenched hostility but it is generally of a much lower degree than the “intellectualist” left-wing standard-bearers such as the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

  11. Matt Q says:

    Tom wrote:

    “But I’ve watched Papal Masses during which His Holiness, immediately following Holy Communion, addressed groups in various languages.

    Pope Benedict XVI then paused to allow each group to applaud, laugh, wave to Vatican TV cameras…sway…hold up banners…

    P.S. I am certain that somebody will accuse me of having bashed the Pope. I simply posted that which I observed during a Mass offered by Pope Benedict XVI. His Holiness welcomed applause during Mass.”

    )(

    The Holy Father’s talking the talk, not walking the walk!

    Cathy_of_Alex wrote:

    “chic clergy couture?” I must have missed that show in Milan last Fall.”

    “The Pope believes applause in church “was completely liturgically wrong,” Dr Rowland said.”

    Tom wrote:

    “The vestments in the photos look pretty pedestrian to me, particularly in light of the vestiture His Holiness has been sporting lately. At the end of the day, what the Pope wears is truly up to him and if anyone is “offended” (the most serious sin in lefty-world, far worse than adultery or abortion), too bad.”

    Anthony wrote:

    “I like the reappropriation of the Southern Cross as a truly and uniquely Christian expression of Australian identity.”

    )(

    They’re all clown outfits, which is a true reflection of the modern society’s idiocy.

    The Southern Cross is just a stylized import of an intangible concept such such Orion’s Belt. As far an “Australian identity,” perhaps then you wouldn’t mind the Holy Father wearing a red-white-blue chasuble with stars and few symbols of America while he is here. Oddly, he hasn’t yet rejected anything we’ve thus offered. ;-)

  12. Peter says:

    Matt Q said: “The Southern Cross is just a stylized import of an intangible concept such such Orion’s Belt. As far an “Australian identity,” perhaps then you wouldn’t mind the Holy Father wearing a red-white-blue chasuble with stars and few symbols of America while he is here.”

    For all you northern hemisphere commenters, the constellation Southern Cross and is a very visible one in the southern hemisphere and is indeed readily identifiable as a CROSS. The analogy to the stars (and stripes?) is just silly.

    Peter

  13. Luke says:

    Firstly, I think we need to put this into perspective. When comparing the proposed vestments here with the concelebrants vestments in previous World Youth Day’s – including that in Rome in 2000, it can clearly be seen that the current proposed design is an unequivocable improvement!

    Secondly, as Anthony OPL said these vestments are precisely only that; intended for the episcopal concelebrants of the Mass. The Holy Father himself will be using vestments brought with him chosen my Mons. Guido Marini.

    Thirdly, like Anthony OPL I know well Dr Rowland, who obtained her theology doctorate from Cambridge University and is a specialist on the Theology of Ratzinger is a good and holy woman fighting on the side of the angels. She is knows well Ratzinger’s theology and agrees with it. Likewise, I know the priests in the photograph are good and holy young priests who love the Christ and the Church and are committed to orthodoxy in the faith.

    The Australian, as pointed out previously, is usually far better balanced when reporting on the Church and has got this article wrong in a major way. To this end I have it on good authority that the Australian will soon publish either an apology, or at least a correction on this article in a subsequent edition, so watch this space for an official correction.

    Finally, let it be known, that I too don’t think the vestment design is particularly dignified or perhaps the best that it could be. In many ways it leaves much to be desired, however I stand by my initial comment, when comparing these chasubles to the ones used at Cologne, Toronto and Rome these garments are a vast improvement.

  14. Peter says:

    Re the Southern Cross as a 9recognised) Christian symbol

    The WYD webiste makes specific mention of ‘Our Lady of the Southern Cross’:

    http://www.wyd2008.org/index.php/en/pilgrims_registration/wyd08_patrons/our_lady_of_the_southern_cross__1

    “Mary, Help of Christians, she is mother and virgin, the perfect model for all women and also for men. She is the Patroness of Australia, under the title “Help of Christians” and the patron of the Archdiocese of Sydney whose Cathedral is called St Mary’s. Under the title of ‘Our Lady of the Southern Cross’ she is patron of the Australian Diocese of Toowoomba and of WYD08.”

    Peter

  15. Matt Q says:

    Peter wrote:

    “The analogy to the stars (and stripes?) is just silly.”

    )(

    I just said colors and stars, you ran with the stripes nonsense. LOL The Cross of Saint George is much more visibly holier than an image of stars. Nonetheless, the Holy Father isn’t wearing yours either. I suppose a little too heathen, but I don’t claim to know the mind of the Pope.

  16. Anthony OPL says:

    I don’t see how anyone could claim the Southern Cross to be too “heathen” since it’s an obviously and consistently Christian adoption of a heavenly phenomenon, and has been so from its very inception. Rather, I think the grounds may be that the image has become too secular – the motif is featured on the national flag, the olympic swimsuits, and every piece of souvenir junk you can imagine.

    But all that is beside the point, because the image will remain on the chasubles of the concelebrants. It is only the pope himself who will not be wearing the currently proposed design – we don’t know if he will wear a modified design, or even a chasuble from Rome.

  17. Regarding the Southern Cross, I would remind people of this passage from the first canto of Dante’s Purgatorio:

    To the right hand I turn’d, and fix’d my mind
    On the other pole attentive, where I saw
    Four stars ne’re seen before save by the ken
    Of our first parents. Heaven of their rays
    Seem’d joyous. O thou northern site! bereft
    Indeed, and widow’d, since of these deprived.

    While it’s unlikely that Dante knew of the actual Southern Cross, which in his day was not visible from Europe (although it had been known to the Greeks, and had been visible from Jerusalem in the time of our Lord’s sojourn there, the Cross in the Purgatorio served as a symbol of the four cardinal virtues. It would be a wonderful thing if the Cross of Dante’s Purgatorio and the Southern Cross of Australia’s sky could be used at WYD to teach about these.

  18. Regarding the Southern Cross, I would remind people of this passage from the first canto of Dante’s Purgatorio:

    To the right hand I turn’d, and fix’d my mind
    On the other pole attentive, where I saw
    Four stars ne’re seen before save by the ken
    Of our first parents. Heaven of their rays
    Seem’d joyous. O thou northern site! bereft
    Indeed, and widow’d, since of these deprived.

    While it’s unlikely that Dante knew of the actual Southern Cross, which in his day was not visible from Europe (although it had been known to the Greeks, and had been visible from Jerusalem in the time of our Lord’s sojourn there), the Cross in the Purgatorio served as a symbol of the four cardinal virtues. It would be a wonderful thing if the Cross of Dante’s Purgatorio and the Southern Cross of Australia’s sky could be used at WYD to teach about these.

  19. Matt Q says:

    “I don’t see how anyone could claim the Southern Cross to be too “heathen” since…”

    )(

    THE POPE ISN’T WEARING IT. END OF SUBJECT!!

  20. Eire says:

    I rejoice that the Pope will not wear these so called vestments.

    The Liturgy is so important that only people who understand it
    should be designing the vestments to be worn by the Pope and indeed
    any priest.
    Leaving it up to college students is outragous.

    Its like having the home that you will be living in for the next couple
    of decades being designed by kids.

  21. Cristhian says:

    First of all, that color uis ugly and the use of non-sacred symbols is outrageous. So let’s put this subject in hands of Don Guido Marini. End of subject!

  22. Cristhian says:

    First of all, that color is ugly and the use of non-sacred symbols is outrageous. So let\’s put this subject in hands of Don Guido Marini. End of subject!

  23. Matt Q says:

    As an aside, I think we can see something much more grand in New York than WDY–from all of the above chatter, at least from what this little article says from New Liturgical Movement.

    “An interesting couple of stories were sent into the NLM about the Pope’s visit to the United States [which] perhaps gives us a little preview into what we might see in the coming days.

    Vestments

    I have seen some of the vestments which will be used, they represent what has become the fairly “common vernacular” of vestments used within parishes in North America. This comes as little surprise and I won’t belabour this point but what I did find of some interest in searching this out a bit was that in a March 17th interview given by the family company supplying many of the liturgical items for the visit, they noted that “the pope will have his own robes for his visit…”

    **Altar** **Arrangement**

    A second story coming from ‘Catholic New York’ mentions preparations that are underway in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

    In the course of that article, the following details are mentioned:

    Cathedral artifacts will be used during the Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict. According to custom, the pope celebrates Mass with a crucifix facing him on the altar, and the crucifix to be used is from the cathedral’s St. John the Evangelist altar.

    Msgr. Ritchie said that Cardinal Egan has chosen a special chalice for the Mass, and a ceremonial cross will be used in the procession.

    When a bishop celebrates Mass, six candles are lighted on the altar. There are seven candles when the celebrant is a pope, or a metropolitan—an archbishop, like Cardinal Egan, who heads the chief archdiocese of an ecclesiastical region. The seven candles on the altar for Pope Benedict are being donated by Patrick Baker and Sons, an ecclesiastical goods company in Southington, Conn. They are cream——colored and bear a commemorative inscription in gold with the pope’s name and the date.

    In short, in the Mass in the Cathedral of New York City, it appears as though we will see the central altar cross we have become accustomed to, as well as the seven candlesticks–do note that when it is speaking above about what is “cream-coloured” and bears a commemorative inscription, it is referring to the candles themselves and not the candlesticks, which will presumably be from the cathedral itself of course.”

    )(

    Sounds good to me. At least one good presentation of the Mass anyway. St Patrick’s is for Clergy anyway, so maybe it would be defining moment for them. LOL They will either come away from the Mass truly inspired or all the more keep their death’s grip on their foolish thinking.

    I hope Father Z goes to St Patrick’s, then he can tell us all about it. ( Are you reading this, Father? **;-)** )

  24. TNCath says:

    Matt Q,

    You are so very correct! IF the World Youth Day Masses were done in this fashion, perhaps this would serve as a catechesis for liturgy for the next generation. Otherwise, World Youth Day is nothing more than a Woodstock with priests.

  25. Corboy says:

    I love this Pope!

  26. RichR says:

    With all the liturgical “news” the HF has been generating, I have high hopes for WYD2008.

    I also expect something to “happen” during HH’s visit to the USA.

    I am reminded of something he said while he was Cardinal Ratzinger. Someone asked him, “You Eminence, you get so much bad press when you make a statement on issues. Does this bother you?” The Cardinal’s response was classic:

    “If I don’t read something at least once a week in the news that is critical of me, I have to examine my conscience.”

  27. RichR: Actually, that story was from me.

  28. David Schutz says:

    Can I put in a plug here for Tracey Rowland’s book on Papa Benny, “Ratzinger’s Faith”? It is a real corker, if one may say that of a book on theology! I have read it and written a review for our diocesan magazine at http://www.kairos.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=932&Itemid=1.

  29. David Schutz says:

    Can I put in a plug here for Tracey Rowland’s book on Papa Benny, “Ratzinger’s Faith”? It is a real corker, if one may say that of a book on theology! I have read it and written a review for our diocesan magazine at http://www.kairos.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=932&Itemid=1.