Robert Mickens has shared the angst of his publication The Tablet (aka The Bitter Pill) about a piece of clothing. Not just any clothing, papal clothing.
Pope Benedict, Yes, Benedict XVI wore over his choir dress a stole decorated with the papal tiara.
Imagine! The Pope of Rome wore a stole with traditional symbol Popes used for centuries! But, Pope Benedict wore it, and … I can hardly bring myself to type this … in Germany and… with… Lutherans.
Let’s have a look.
And now Mr. Mickens for The Tablet.
The Pope and his tiara
Posted by Robert Mickens in Erfurt, 24 September 2011, 9:00
Pope Benedict XVI and his closest liturgical aides — Mgr Guido Marini, [obviously the bad guy of the episode] the master of ceremonies, and Mgr Georg Gaenswein, his personal secretary — pay careful attention to what type of vestments he wears and for which occasions. [It would be mighty strange if they didn't!]
So it was interesting to note that on Friday, during an ecumenical prayer service in the former Augustinian church (now Protestant) where Martin Luther was ordained [Ooooo.] and celebrated his first Mass, [It was a Catholic church, after all.] the Pope wore a stole that depicted his personal coat of arms topped by the triple-crown tiara. [Ooooo.] Talk about sending a message! [Right! Let's do!] If there is anyone who railed against the imperial papacy, it was surely Luther. [And therefore, the Pope should not have worn his stole. Get it? Get it? I wonder what changes a rabbi would have to make were he to visit Erfurt? After all, Luther wasn't too keen on Jews either.]
You might remember that much was made of the fact that, upon his election, Benedict XVI was the first pope ever to relinquish the tiara for his coat of arms and replace it with a bishop’s mitre. [Ehem,... apparently there are exceptions!] But [Here we go...] since Mgr G. Marini [BOOOO!] was hired he he has worn any number of vestments that include his arms topped with the triple-crown. [Ooooo!] And, of course, the Pope publicly received a tiara that was given to him as a gift [Ahhhhh!] and once hung a tapestry below his window [EEEEK!] overlooking St Peter’s Square showing his papal shield with the tiara.
Aides justify all this is as being part of that “hermeneutic of continuity”. But sometimes there is a good reason to throw things out or put them on the shelf for good. [A couple newspapers come to mind...] Not everything that was deemed necessary in the past is good for the present – or helpful in moving into the future.
Here is more grist for The Pill’s Marini Mill.
Have they forgotten that, almost exactly one year ago, Pope Benedict walked into another former Catholic Church, Westminster Abbey, wearing a stole of Pope Leo XIII? Leo XIII, successor to Leo X, taught definitively in Apostolicae curae about the invalidity of Anglican orders.
But back to Erfurt a year later…
As a former Lutheran, I understand the shock, the horror, the outrage at the lack of Petrine sensitivity redounding through the Lutheran world at the sight of that tiara. After all, they have – for the most part – stopped calling the Pope the Anti-Christ and the Roman Church the Whore of Babylon.
That tiara must have reminded those Lutherans that Benedict XVI is the Pope of Rooooome, bringing all those anti-Catholic sentiments back to the surface. They might even break off dialogue!
I suspect even now, because of that stole and the nefarious un-ecumenical machinations of Msgr. Marini, Lutherans are dashing off pamphlets called the ReNewed Babylonian Captivity of the Church!
Soon to be published by …. The Tablet Publishing Company, perhaps?