Hey you liturgical progressivists! Get a load of this!

A couple photos of the new Prefect!

You like?

Biretta tip to Daily Peeps.   o{]:¬)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    Yeah, baby!

  2. Mila says:

    Absolutely breathtaking!

  3. Geoffrey says:

    Why is His Eminence wrapped up like a Christmas gift in that last picture? I’ve never seen that before…

  4. Akira Yamadori says:

    Although he does look somewhat comical with the cappa magna draped that way, at least he’s wearing it!!

    Congratulations to our new prefect.

    And happy retirement Arinze.

  5. EDG says:

    I love Spain. They REALLY know how to do these things there. Seriously, the Spanish have a very formal and ceremonial bent, and everything they do this way is really gorgeous. It’s no accident that the fine liturgical arts firm Granda is from Spain.

  6. Chris Limberg says:

    This is fantastic!

  7. Andreas says:

    Isn’t it a bit too short?

  8. That’s the way you wear a cappa when you sit, for example after divesting after Pontifical Mass.

  9. Derik says:

    Cappaphilic’s delight

  10. Is this, in fact, a full length Cappa?

  11. Michael says:

    Father Z. – Is it o.k. that the bishops sits with his back to the Blessed Sacrment ?

    Is is OF or EF ?

  12. The Blessed Sacrament is not inside the tabernacle during Pontifical High Mass. It is the EF, celebrated in the chapel of the International Seminary of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest near Florence, Italy.

    Splendid Cappa Magna, splendid liturgy!

  13. Mitch says:

    I pray soon this will be common practice all over the world….Looks wonderful and truly Catholic..

  14. Theodoricus says:

    Yeah!!! This is our baby!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Thomas Wolsey says:

    Hmm…more baroque excess.

    Cappa magna, far too impractical, should be replaced by its
    immediate predecessor, the cappa clausa, which is depicted in many
    paintings of pre-reformation bishops.

  16. Sacristymaiden says:

    I’ve finally seen a real capa magna!
    The vestments are all gorgeous.

    Congradulations to the new Prefect!

  17. Theodoricus says:

    It looks like a scene from the movie “Amadeus”. Just gorgeous and so baroque!

  18. Jonathan Bennett says:


    I love the counter-reformation spirit of the Institute of Christ the King.

  19. Reminds me when Cardinal Cushing wrote in the Pilot that he disliked to wear the cappa magna and then went on to say its original purpose was to “over the horse’s ass” when a cardinal went riding.Therefore he would no longer wear it.Several years later,when Havard had a Pontifical Mass celebrated to commorate the death of President Kennedy, Cushing was asked to pontificate. He entered the chapel adorned in a glorious cappa magna.

  20. Jonathan Bennett says:

    The Cardinal is a short man, so his cappa magna trails quite a length! A friend of mine who met His Eminence- at Gricigliano, where these beautiful photographs were taken- said that when he genuflected to kiss the ring, they were almost at eye level!

  21. Someone should tell the head of the Congregation of Divine Worship that this cardinal is
    doing all these tradtional things! What’s the Vatican coming to?


  22. James Isabella says:

    “The Cardinal is a short man, so his cappa magna trails quite a length! A friend of mine who met His Eminence- at Gricigliano, where these beautiful photographs were taken- said that when he genuflected to kiss the ring, they were almost at eye level!”

    Oh, so he’s actually standing in those photos? :)

  23. Athelstane says:

    I think I just heard some heads exploding in Los Angeles.

  24. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “Liturgical progressivists” read this blog? [Nearly all of them, I think. They can’t stand not looking.]

    Yeah, I can see their heads exploding, Athelstane. Where’s Gabe Huck when you need him?

  25. Sorry, if I offend you with my words BUT…

    I think it is disgusting. Embarrassing! Ostentatious! Ridiculous… Everything that I disliked about the old Church…

    What would Jesus do if He walked in on this spectacle of the red robed cleric… [Puh-LEEZ]

  26. Jonathan Bennett says:

    And no offense to you, but you sound like a protestant.

  27. *Sigh*

    “old Church?”

  28. supertradmom says:

    Is not one of the points of Christ being so humble, poor, “despised and rejected among men” is that others do not have to be so? He suffered so that we may experience beauty as good. Is there not a great freedom in being a Catholic and enjoying the beauty of pomp and circumstance, which is important to us lowly, physical human beings?

    There are very few saints outside the Desert Fathers who were truly ascetic, and, indeed, these saints, such as Francis, are great models for us. Beauty forms an important facet of liturgical function. I am so glad to be a Catholic and enjoy life through the beautiful!

  29. Joe says:

    What would Jesus say? He would say, “Oh, the one grandly dressed in red like he is important must be my bishop.”

  30. Richard says:

    standing maryanna:

    I think Jesus would have looked at this and laughed and gone on about His Father’s business. My impression of Him from the Gospels is that he enjoyed life and was aware of the absurdities of people trying to appear grand and important.

  31. Mark says:

    Dear Standing Maryanna:

    Fancy meeting you here – come on now, I hear our Bishop D likes red and gold also.

    And I thought you were warming up to the “old” Church…

  32. Richard,

    I think God must have been confused in the Old Testament, then. Why else would he demand such precise and elaborate vestments for the Levitical priesthood?

    Have you thought that maybe a Cardinal, a Prince of the Church, IS “grand and important”?

  33. Richard said: “I think Jesus would have looked at this and laughed and gone on about His Father’s business. My impression of Him from the Gospels is that he enjoyed life and was aware of the absurdities of people trying to appear grand and important.”

    “…grand and important” indeed! I agree with you! (chuckle)

  34. Hello Mark! You said: “And I thought you were warming up to the “old” Church…”

    No, Mark… Just because my blog is open for all does not mean that I agree with every opinion expressed. :)

    And have I ever commented favorably or unfavorably about our bishop? I don’t think so…

    And why am I on this blog? How can I keep up with things trad unless I check out Fr. Z!!!

    Not to speak of the “eye candy” … The lovely birds, etc.

  35. C.L. says:

    In the second picture, His Eminence looks ridiculous. We’ve just been through one gay-related crisis and I fear this newly revivified love of dress-ups will probably encourage another.

    The nyer-nyer attitude to progressivists (of which I’m not one) won’t help matters either.

    And yes, I know I’ll be abused or censored for saying so.

  36. C.L. says:

    According to Jonathan, love the Cappa Magna giant strawberry look or you’re a protestant. Yikes, Summorum Pontificum has already come to this? I thought what the moto proprio was trying to achieve was magnificent and long overdue. I’m beginning to have some doubts.

  37. Phillip says:

    Father, the pictures are not appearing on my iPhone. Instead, they are white squares with a questionmark in a blue box in the middle.

  38. BCatholic says:

    I don’t think the Cardinal thinks he is important. I pray he doesn’t. He is nothing without God’s grace. I pray he realizes that he isn’t but knows his office is and that it is his office that merits wearing such splendid attire. That is true humility and that is the spirit of what Christ call us to. He doesn’t want us to clean the outer but the inner.

  39. dcs says:

    It is the office that is important, not the man who holds it.

  40. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Ah, the “traditional stuff is nice, but only what I like” crowd. Quick to berate anyone who wags their finger at Latin, yet not afraid to scream “old Church” at the traditions they personally dislike.

    You people arent happy with anything! You have a little, narrow idea of what the Church is supposed to be (something like late 1950s America), and denounce anything- traditional or modernist- that doesnt fit in. You complain about the Novus Ordo and the discarding of countless traditions and customs, and yet it was people like you who bear the responsibility for this- men who wanted to impress their own personal visions on the Church.

  41. Anne France says:

    After reading some of the commentaries, I was thinking: what would Jesus think of seeing all these beautiful gothic cathedrals and the magnificant churches that have been built, He who was born in a manger. These churches were built by simple people for the glory of God. Nothing was beautiful enough for their Savior. Sometimes we forget who the Bishops represent. Maybe soon we will expect our Bishops to wear jeans and a t-shirt…

  42. Son of Trypho says:

    What would Jesus do if He walked in on this spectacle of the red robed cleric…

    -how quick we are to forget Jesus’ rebuke to Judas when he complained about the use of the precious nard to annoint Jesus’ feet cf. John 12…

  43. Phillip: they show on my phone.

  44. Geoffrey says:

    While on the one hand I can understand many comments regarding such vesture, it is important to remember that when we kiss the ring of a bishop (cardinal or pope included), it is not the person that we reverence but the office… successor of an apostle (or the successor of the prince of the apostles). Vesture such as pictured above is symbolic of the sacred office the person holds… it has nothing to do with the person himself.

  45. John Enright says:

    I love the miter!

  46. Maureen says:

    And let’s not forget that Jesus, when he revealed himself to Peter, James, and John, wore dazzling garments white as snow, whiter than any bleacher could have bleached them. Similarly, in Revelation, he wears such a dazzling white robe down to his feet and a golden girdle.
    Not beige.

    And if the 24 presbyters in the Lord’s presence wear dazzling white also, and gold crowns on their heads to boot, I think the cardinal is okay with wearing just a plain old red cloak. Sheesh.

  47. TNCath says:

    Can you not just hear the next meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions!

  48. joy says:


  49. dominic1962 says:

    St. Francis of Assisi said that Lady Poverty had no place in the Sanctuary and that he wanted his friars to take magnificent pyxes (in this sense, the predecessor of the tabernacle) with them so that they could house the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in a shrine befiting Him should they find that he was relegated to something unworthy of His greatness.

    St. Charles Borromeo, though very humble, stuck to the magnificent vesture of his rank precisely because of his humility. As Nainfa’s book says, it is a false humility (whether intended as such or not) for a prelate to despise the proper and proscribed vesture of his rank.

    People today are too caught up in utilitarian or pragmatic notions when it comes to beauty or ceremony. Ours is an incarnational religion, one that does not countenance the drab and dreary outlook of Puritans and Calvinists. The proper Catholic view would be to see such magnificent vesture in the same sense as we could see the moon-it reflects the glory and majesty of God and in doing so gives glory to God.

    When I see a bishop attired in cappa magna, I’m not too worried about him letting his head get too inflated. A bishop in jeans on the other hand…

  50. MPod says:

    dominic1962: I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for saying it so well. I am also reminded of my immigrant grandparents and their neighbors who insisted that their parish church be sumptuous in its appointments, simply because of Him who dwelt there. They built magnificent edifices, true works of art and devotion, living themselves in the most modest of circumstances. They gave from their need, not just their excess. Most of them were uneducated and toiled long hours in the meat-packing plants of Kansas City in the early part of the 20th century. But they understood this incarnational religion of ours better than many of the so-called educated utilitarians do today.

  51. Jason Keener says:

    Standing Maryanna,

    Already in the Old Testament, God the Father directed his priests on how to dress in a special way befitting their holy office and sacred duties.

    From the Book of Exodus (Chapter 28), we read:

    “For the glorious adornment of your brother Aaron you shall have sacred vestments made. Therefore, to the various expert workmen whom I have endowed with skill, you shall give instructions to make such vestments for Aaron as will set him apart for his sacred service as my priest. These are the vestments they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a brocaded tunic, a miter and a sash. In making these sacred vestments which your brother Aaron and his sons are to wear in serving as my priests, they shall use gold, violet, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, etc.”

    For more of interest, the entire 28th Chapter of Exodus goes into exact details of how the priestly vesture was to be made. If vesture were not important, God certainly would not have spent all of that time revealing such detailed specifics to Moses about the need for beautiful and proper priestly vesture.

  52. Richard says:

    As for clothes, why be concerned? “Consider the lillies of the field…” (Mt.7:28).

  53. wsxyz says:

    It is likely that those who dislike these photos are objecting not merely to clothing, but actually have a fundamental objection to the hierarchical organization of the Church as instituted by Christ.

    Westerners, and increasingly easterners as well, have grown up in a society that despises authority, that glorifies the self, and that rejects the concept of a state in life. However, the Church is not like our modern, self-centered society and cannot be remade in its image. Christ instituted a hierarchy in His Church – a transmission of authority from Christ to His apostles and bishops, from there to His priests, and from there to the faithful. The Church is an authoritarian organization. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a democracy.

    Jesus was born in a stable. He lived a humble life of poverty, and He was executed in the most humiliating circumstances. But He has been raised to glory and power beyond compare. He is the absolute monarch of the universe, seated at the right hand of the Father. Absolute authority over ever aspect of our lives is Christ’s natural right. We owe him the complete and total submission of our will.

    The hierarchical principle established by Christ extends His authority throughout His Church. As members of the Church, we have superiors and inferiors. Our superiors have authority over us and we owe them submission and obedience. Our superiors in turn owe submission and obedience to their superiors. The fact that both we and our superiors are poor sinners does not change any of this.

    Those who insist on common materials and utilitarian implementation are confused. By their choices they imply that the end of the Church is man. But the end of the Church is God, and God must be glorified. The vestments in these photos are not being worn to glorify the man, but to glorify God. They are an acknowledgment of the Will of God in establishing the Church as a hierarchy. They are recognition of the nature of the divinely instituted office with which this man is clothed. They are a visible sign of the God-given authority with which he has been entrusted.

  54. Prof. Basto says:

    Bravo, xsxyz!

    By the will of of Christ, her Divine Founder, Catholic Church is a monarchy, and Christ himself is her King. “And of his reign there shall be no end”. This essential constitution of the Church, divinely established, no man can change.

    This monarchy, the Kingdom of Heaven, also has, by the will of Christ the King, a hierarchical organization.

    Thus, the Pope, Successor to St. Peter, governs the universal Church Militant as Vicar of Christ the King. Not as a republican leader, but as the representative of the monarch! Hence the concession of the Keyes of the Kingdom!

    And this hierarchical constitution continues after the Pope and down to us. Thus, Christ having willed that his Church should have a visible hierarchical organization – and not a democratic one – it is meet that also by external symbols and ornaments we should distingish and acknowledge those who have been set above us.

  55. M. A. Labeo says:

    Regarding whether Card. Cañizares considers himself important and also to help non-Spanish speakers to know the new Prefect a little better, a quick translation of a few sentences of his message to his Archdiocese on his departure.

    “…Once again the Lord entrust me greatnesses which outdo my ability. I entrust myself to him and begs for His grace which is enough for me.
    I try no other thing in life than fulfilling God’s will… I have accepted this mission which is entrusted to me with full obedience, fidelity, communion and the joy of doing what I am asked for. (…)
    Thanks to everybody. Thank you very much. To all of you I would like to thank and beg forgiveness; for all of you I want to pray; with all of you I long for thanking the Lord…”

    In full, in Spanish: http://www.architoledo.org/arzobispo/Cartas%202008/45%20Prefecto.htm

  56. thomas tucker says:

    Frankly, it looks ridiculous.
    And I love the EF.

  57. EVERYONE: By all means I think discussion of vesture and circumstance is useful and interesting. 

    But do avoid the trap of asserting that you know what Jesus would think.

  58. Joseph says:

    “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1)


  59. Nicholas says:

    Beautiful. Out with the new and in with the old.

  60. Fr. Z, I’ve thought a lot about the many comments about the fancy traditional vestments and the rituals that the majority of the people on your blog espouse and delight in.

    I agree that the many beautiful and inspiring churches built by people of the past and by the immigrants here in the United States are an expression of their belief that God deserves the best that can be given to Him. I can understand that very well, especially since my parents were among those immigrants.

    I have no problem, in general, with the fact that the Church has an hierarchical structure either. However some of the vestments and rituals that have come down to us leave me absolutely cold. They do not elevate my senses toward the wonder of our God. They only bring to mind the 23rd Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.

    I am not claiming that the persons who are given these high offices are at fault. One would have to be extremely humble to be seen in some of these extravagent vestments! I believe that a vestment like the cappa magna (sp) IS ostentatious and all of the other adjectives I mentioned in my earliest post. Does it have any useful purpose? Is it only to elevate the office?

    All I can think of are the words of David in Psalm 51:

    “15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.

    16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

    17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.”

    Our contrite hearts are what God our Father will delight in; not that a person is dressed as some of these cleric are…

  61. Aside from your personal reactions to Catholic ritual and liturgy, it is interesting to consider the context of Psalm 51.

    Actually written several centuries after David, I understand it is generally assumed to follow the destruction and desecration of the temple in Jerusalem, and the author laments that God will “not delight in sacrifice” until the temple is rebuilt in the splendor and magnificence that is worthy of sacrifice and proper worship of God.

  62. maryanna: I might add that, while I find the 1st photo above consonant with the last two lines of Psalm 51,

    20) … that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up. [I.e., the temple restored in all its original splendor]

    21) Then thou shalt accept the sacrifice of justice, oblation, and whole burnt offerings … [When worthy sacrifice can be offered]

    my personal reaction to the cappa magna in the 2nd photo may be about the same as yours. But, then, it’s not really about me or you, is it?

  63. Flambeaux says:

    Vere dignum et iustum est to see a prelate dressed properly.

  64. Henry Edwards said: my personal reaction to the cappa magna in the 2nd photo may be about the same as yours. But, then, it’s not really about me or you, is it?

    However, at one point in time a “you” or a “me” or an “I” made the decision to use this strange garment… It was at that point in history or after its usefulness came to an end, that “we” went astray.

  65. dominic1962 says:

    You have no problem “in general” with the hierarchical structure. So, what about in particular?

    Also, do you have any reason to back up your assertion that the cappa magna is “ostentatious” or is it admittedly an emotive response with no rational backing?

    Lastly, what is with this “usefulness” business? This pragmatism/utilitarianism is very much opposed to the true spirit of Catholicism. We are not Puritans, nor do we hold to the rationalistic errors of Josephism. If we based what we have for ceremonial use today on if it is “useful” then practically all external signs of Catholicism would be gone. Does the cappa magna serve a practical purpose? The Catholic answer is, “Who cares if it does or not!”

    I think this is one point in which orders like the IRCSS come into play-to reintroduce to an often thoroughly dour and overly pragmatic Catholic world (especially in the States) the beauty and class of mediterranean Catholic culture.

  66. alipius says:

    maryana: Forgetting about the ‘What would Jesus say’ and ‘My bible quote can whoop your Bible quote’s butt’ business, I want to point out one thing.

    You say: “They [vestements and rituals] do not elevate my senses toward the wonder of our God”. That’s fine. But there are people whose senses are elevated, who think that stuff like the cappa helps to make a mass even more significant on a symbolic level. Do you think these people feel addressed in a Christian way, when they read strong words like ‘disgusting, ridiculous’ etc?

    One observation I made (and I am not addressing you in person but am speaking more universal) is that the people who dig the extra splendor usually just sit back and enjoy while those who are against it don’t just sit back and grumble but always start to scream and come across as a bit too self-righteous and ideology driven. Just my personal experience though.

  67. Sue Sims says:

    Liturgical vestments, from alb to cappa magna, are surely all there only to take our minds away from the man who wears them to the beauty of Jesus, the High Priest, revealed in HIs glory.

    They are ‘triumphalist’, but it’s God’s triumph, not ours. If we fail to see this, then our minds and hearts need re-educating: as so often when we disagree with the Church, we’re in the wrong.

  68. Thomas Wolsey says:

    Standing Maryanna,

    What if Jesus were to say, “Maryanna, just grow up!”

    Can’t you see that your position is essentially one of subjectivism,
    a state of mind typically associated with children?

    You need to ground your position in something more than emotional reactions.

  69. therese b says:

    …or (pace, Thomas Wolsey) just enjoy the emotion inspired by something beautiful. We are Catholics – not Puritans. The Church sponsored Michaelangelo, Da Vinci…Botticelli.. The world is so cold and miserable and ugly in so many ways.

    Remember your Keats.
    A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
    Its loveliness increases; it will never
    Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
    A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
    Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
    Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
    A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
    Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
    Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
    Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darken’d ways
    Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
    Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
    From our dark spirits…

  70. Andraea says:

    “Ineffable” pictures. Very inspiring to see the beauty of the Church here on Earth.

  71. Ole Doc Farmer says:

    Let’s all pray for “standing slamajama”…she is a product of the sad, troubled Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. In general, she practices an very old-fashioned clericalism (i.e., “whatever fathah sez goes”); as a result, she apes the bourgeois attitudes and mores of your average Richmond diocese priest.

    Please pray for the diocese and its bishop, who inherited a very sick see.

  72. Jennifer says:

    I thought this was interesting commentary regarding his vestments – perhaps Standing Maryanna would as well? Maybe it’s not about what you think from your narrow view of the world, after all.

  73. Ole Doc Farmer said: “In general, she practices an very old-fashioned clericalism (i.e., “whatever fathah sez goes”); as a result, she apes the bourgeois attitudes and mores of your average Richmond diocese priest.”

    That is so amusing. :)

    Thanks for your offer of prayers.

  74. Michael L. says:

    Ole Doc Farmer:

    “standing slamajama”


  75. Mike B. says:

    As we’d say in my native city, “Supoib!”


  76. Mark G. says:

    Fr. Z said: “That’s the way you wear a cappa when you sit, for example after divesting after Pontifical Mass.”

    I gotta know: Do the attendees hold the capa out and the Cardinal spins around, or do they run circles around him?

    Just kidding. I think it’s gloroius, but maybe not everywhere all the time.

    Perhaps those upset with this opulence forget that in the liturgy, our bishops & priests are icons of Christ Jesus glorified in a unique way. It is appropriate that their vestments reflect this reality.

  77. Make me a Spark says:

    howsa bout the idea that we would be ashamed to present ourselves before the Lord almighty in rags without our lamps trimmed. Instead we would put on our best and look grand and festive at the wedding feast of the True bridegroom!!

    Let us rejoice in the bridegroom. Our Church has been blessed with the fullness of scripture and tradition, kept for us for many centuries by the saints and martyrs, we have reason to rejoice!

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