I’ve heard of “flying bishops”, but … not this

I saw at katholisches.info via the curiously-named Eponymous Flower an … what’s the word … oddity, hopefully unique.   Not my translation:

The new Archbishop of Palermo, recently appointed by Pope Francis, Msgr. Corrado Lorefice, swung himself in a bicycle and drove through the presbyterium of his Cathedral.



“Palermo. Primatiale Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption, Wednesday, April 27, 2016: Feast of the Athletes. Image: His Excellency Most Reverend Monsignor Corrado Lorefice, Archbishop-Metropolitan, Primate of Sicily, on a bicycle in the chancel of his cathedral..

The Archbishop was given a bike that he didn’t want to try outside the church. Instead, he rose immediately and in full regalia as celebrant,  chasuble and miter,  got on the bike  and drove it through the presbytery of his episcopal church. The Cathedral of Palermo is not only where lay the Stauferkaisers Henry VI. and Frederick II. and the Norman King, Roger II. It is above all one of the oldest Christian places of worship in Europe. The area of ??the Cathedral was secret at the latest  in the second century gathering of Christians in underground tunnels. Here the martyrs of the persecution of Christians were buried. The Christians gathered at their graves. In the early fourth century, the construction of the first cathedral was carried out. Under Pope Gregory the Great, the second cathedral was built around 600.


The Bicycling Bishop?

The Peddling Prelate?

The Cycling Overseer?

The Velocipedal Vescovo?

Your Excellencies, please don’t do this… in the sanctuary your Cathedral?  Or anywhere else in your Cathedral?  Or in any church?  Or anywhere at all while wearing Mass vestments?  Please?

The moderation queue is definitely ON, especially for the immoderate.

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  1. majuscule says:

    I’m feeling blessed that the image that seems to have gone with this article is not appearing on my iPad.

    A bug…or divine providence…?

  2. Benedict Joseph says:

    Seeing this photograph for the first time yesterday my heart broke. The debasement of the sacred liturgy, the disparagement of the holy priesthood is sacrilegious. Clownish pandering for what purpose? We have lived with this sort of clerical “comportment,” ecclesiastical malfeasance, liturgical license for some time. Presently it appears we have more than some time to endure it. If it were not for our hope in Divine Providence, if we were relegated to hope in men alone, there would only be despair. While despair shall not prevail over us nevertheless we need brace ourselves, for in God’s eyes a thousand years are but a single day. For me the microseconds drag by. To think it could all be rectified by the exercise of faith, reason, Christian fortitude. But where are they to be found operative to effect a correction of our course?

  3. Mhm, inappropriate assumption of privileges reserved to recipients of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvester Pope and Martyr?

    Or liturgical confusion? He may thought that it is Palm Sunday with the LORDs entry into Jerusalem and the master of ceremonies had no donkey at hand.

  4. Phil_NL says:

    One of the later Don Camillio movies (a remake, not the ones with Fernandel) had a scence with the youth rollerskating in church, and Don Camillio joining in. But at least not in Mass vestments.

    Once again, fact is stranger than fiction.

    (And if memory serves, the bishop walked in on it unannounced when he did that. I see Pope Francis didn’t have the same fortunate timing…)

  5. Nan says:

    I will prasy fgor the archbishop. Is it allowed the bicycle in tie dyed polyester vestments? Just curious.

  6. Manducat in the hat says:

    When I was a boy, my best friend lived next to a cemetery. We used to ride our BMXs through the dirt roads within and use the graves as ramps. One day, an elderly woman who also lived next to the cemetery, accosted us for our undeniable lack of reverence. She was right to do it, and I learned my lesson..

  7. jhayes says:

    Here are more pictures – from the diocesan website


    There are three pages of pictures of the event. No indication of whether Mass was celebrated.

  8. JimGB says:

    You have to wonder what could possibly have gone through his head to cause him to do this fully vested. If everything can be reduced to an attention-getting joke, then the hierarchy should not be surprised as Mass attendance declines. Do you think there will be an apology and a period of self-reflection, as in the case of the Filipino priest who serenaded the congregation while riding a hover board?

  9. comedyeye says:

    His Cycle-ency.

  10. benedetta says:

    ” ‘Sometimes I ask myself whether certain prelates do not invent these surprises from a mere desire to see if they come into the media and land especially on certain blogs, for example, ours …’ according to the traditional website Messa in Latino.”

    Sometimes, I ask myself whether certain prelates and clerics such as this are not working undercover for the Society of St Pius X? Which then only needs to open the doors and say, “C’mon in!”

  11. Elizabeth D says:

    Back in the day it was well known that it is not cool to ride into the church on your horse.

  12. andia says:

    my heart breaks. I don’t understand, so I will pray, for him and for all of us…

  13. JustaSinner says:

    Okay, here is a question on the practicality of this. How do you ride a bicycle in vestments? They’re usually flowing, multi-layered, and quite heavy. Doesn’t parts get caught in the chain? Doesn’t the Laws of Physics say he’ll tip over from, being top heavy? Is the church THAT large that he can ride around in it without getting dizzy going in tight circles? And finally, didn’t that Filipino priest get thumped for riding into church on a hoverboard?

  14. Widukind says:

    Might not this bishop be accused of “pedal-philia”?

  15. uncletomcobley says:

    The photograph isn’t showing up on my PC, so I’m imagining the Bishop doing a motorcycle jump over the altar rails à la Steve McQueen going over the border fence.

  16. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Besides all the historical associations, Palermo right now is a big part of the Church’s anti-Mafia evangelization. And Francis is no fan of the Mafia. So this is an incredibly stupid thing to do.

    And clearly the correct term is Cycle-phant, since he’s a hierophant on a bicycle.

  17. cwillia1 says:

    How humble! A bishop who rides a bicycle rather than be carried around in a chair.

  18. jhayes says:

    How do you ride a bicycle in vestments?

    I’ve seen photos or movies of French and Italian.priests doing it in soutanes or cassocks. Fr. Brown does it every week on TV.

    My impression from the photos on the website and other articles I’ve read is that this was an audience where the bishop welcomed the athletes, some of whom were handicapped and they presented him with the bicycle, which he then rode to show his gratitude.

  19. frahobbit says:

    He wanted to give a moving sermon after reading the AL en-cycle-ical.

  20. Joe in Canada says:

    The antipedal antistes?

  21. Joe in Canada says:

    I should have written ambipedal antistes, I think.

  22. danielinnola says:

    “Or liturgical confusion? He may thought that it is Palm Sunday with the LORDs entry into Jerusalem and the master of ceremonies had no donkey at hand.”
    Look at the picture again!

  23. Rob83 says:

    Words fail. Those with the a sense of the sacred would take one look at this scene and think the cathedral had been conquered by the enemies of God who were taking a victory lap of mockery, not the bishop whose home it is.

  24. arga says:

    Wait for the congratulatory note from Pope Haz Lío.

  25. William Tighe says:

    Another case of “back to the 1960s:” I have a vague recollection from ca. 1970 of a priest in Virginia (a Fr. Quinlan) who rode a motorcycle or drove a Volkswagen through the body of the church and into the sanctuary as a kind of “contemporary entrance procession.”

    Yep, here it is:



  26. VeritasVereVincet says:

    I was wondering same as JustaSinner: putting aside for a moment all the problems of reverence and propriety, I struggle to comprehend the simple how.

    Perhaps the next papal En-cycle-cal will deal with the particulars of when and how one may and may not ride a bicycle in church? The Society for the Propagation of Pedal-Vestments will surely have something to contribute. I also foresee the Sovereign Mechanical Order of Malta giving highly valued input.

    And no doubt the incomparable Father Z(chwinn) will in short order share with us his own take on De Birotis In Ecclesia.

  27. iowapapist says:

    Schwinner, Schwinner pizza dinner!

  28. TNCath says:

    Apparently, the silly period of the 1970’s is back. Thanks, Pope Francis.

  29. SPWang says:

    Fr, why didn’t the vestments get caught in the bike chain and cause the good bishop a terrible accident?

  30. spock says:

    Perhaps we could get the “Flying Nun” to drop “Gather” music books on him. She’s pre-Vatican II and would no use for them anyway. What a joke !! I remember at my old NO parish when one of the priests brought his dog on the altar after Mass. People didn’t like it. Now stuff like this is normative I guess.

  31. pseudomodo says:

    A well placed (or misplaced) crozier into the spokes would solve this problem.

  32. Hoover says:

    Aside from the poor example this prelate is setting for the priests in his diocese, it is obvious he’s not traditionally-minded. -There’s no bells or thurible attached to his bicycle..

  33. Absit invidia says:

    Why are they doing this? Just . . . Why?

  34. excalibur says:

    Ah, who am I to judge.

    First we had a priest (in South America I believe) rambling around church on a two wheel balance scooter.

    Now this.

    Next: Francis through St.Peter’s on a Vespa?

  35. excalibur says:

    … It is grave that there is no perception of this deceitful battle through which the world is trying to “emasculate” the Church. We need to be awake in the Faith to understand the danger threatening us…

    “I have never understood why Monsignor Lefevbre was treated so harshly […] but those like Kung, Curran and Schillebeeckx are allowed to question dogma. Today, in fact they want to make the Church an instrument for social life, reducing Her to a Church that suits everyone… Woe to us if we don’t stay awake…!” (Don Barsotti, Servant of God, from an interview by Antonio Socci, IL SABATO, September 23rd 1988).

  36. Cantor says:

    With respect to the Year of Mercy, I can see a bit of understanding here. The Diocesan website does have a number of photos of what was evidently an event, obviously a Mass, for sports enthusiasts. Perhaps it was AFTER the Mass that participants in the service presented His Excellency with the bicycle and in honor of the occasion he jokingly gave it a spin.

    Christ, after all, rode on donkeys and in boats on occasion when it furthered His mission. Perhaps the Bishop here furthered the mission with the people who attended.

  37. Mike Morrow says:

    He simply serves a bishop’s official role as Church spokesman.

  38. organistjason says:

    This should shock everyone. But sadly it does not. More of the same. Bishops/Cardinals that defend the teachings of the Church get punished, exciled etc. Bishops that ride bicycles around their cathedral, a church, take punitive actions against persons for exposing a systemic pattern of misbehavior or have “Mary Poppins” hanging from their cathedrals…..nothing.

    “And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”

  39. MouseTemplar says:

    “Ultraprogressive slap.” Yes, exactly that. This is a man appointed to carry on the line of succession from the very Apostles. Could they have been so fatuous and impulsive?

    Even my 9 yr old altar server was horrified.

  40. Filipino Catholic says:

    @JustaSinner, speaking from the country said priest hails from, he did get suspended for the hoverboard antics. Thankfully the bishops here are perhaps more sensible than to ride their bicycles in churches.

    Another thing to pray for during these three days of Minor Rogation — the return of clerical decorum.

  41. Bob the Ape says:

    “Alas!” cried a blogging priest tizzily,
    “The faith of our fathers reels dizzily!
    Can the One True Church stand
    When it’s built on the sand
    Of a bicycling bishop in Sicily?”

  42. un-ionized says:

    The last photo on the website was probably taken right before he crashed. Vestments in chain, bike tires on smooth surface, disaster.

  43. Prayerful says:

    Hopefully this was not a Mass, which it was with the Filipino priest, but even it was, an Archbishop of Palermo will be treated differently from a simple priest. The Filipino priest was singing a secular song. Was the Archbishop singing a no 1 hit? If it wasn’t in the top 10, that might make a big difference. And he wasn’t doing anything super criminal like voicing or somehow indicating a preference for the Mass of Ages. That gets a bishop stripped of his episcopal authority, like what happened in the far north of Italy.

  44. aviva meriam says:

    Just two questions: WHY?

    And how can an Archbishop do this and expect the laity to maintain respect for him, his office, his Cathedral or even the Mass itself?

  45. Cafea Fruor says:

    Well, that just grinds my gears. Too bad it’s the bishop, so calling the chain-cery won’t fixie the problem. :-(

  46. NBW says:

    While the Archbishop rides his little bike inside the church, the Muslims are taking over Palermo. He needs a dose of reality soon or he won’t have a church at all.

  47. Joseph-Mary says:

    In his holy vestments as ‘celebrant’…
    Sorry, but I hope he got his chausable caught in the spokes so that he will never do that stunt again.

  48. robtbrown says:

    Bishops (and clerics) like this need to realize that even though such actions might cause the laity to smile and applaud, nevertheless, they undermine efforts to take the Church seriously.

  49. CatholicMD says:

    Just curious if anyone has seen liturgical abuses like this in Eastern Catholic or Orthodox Churches?

  50. JKnott says:

    “CatholicMD says: “Just curious if anyone has seen liturgical abuses like this in Eastern Catholic or Orthodox Churches?”

    I was wondering the same thing about the synagogues in the time of our Lord.

  51. Gabriel Syme says:

    It is sad to see the role of Bishop – successors of the Apostles – reduced to something akin to a circus act, especially in the House of God.

    Today it seems that many prelates are on a mission to completely desacralise the Catholic Faith and its Churches. I include Pope Francis in that, following his “tango mass” for example and for the incident where he was photographed wearing a clowns red nose along with his Papal vestments. The clowns nose incident was shameful but – ironically – so very apt at the same time.

    When we see our Holy Father and Bishops behaving like this, and issuing documents such as the recent exhortation, the SSPX claim of a ongoing crisis in the Church, which merits extraordinary action, can only be regarded as both sincere and extremely credible.

  52. HyacinthClare says:

    I vote for a gold star for daniellinnola.

  53. Mary of Carmel says:

    When good priests and bishops stop praying or exercising true devotion, they stop remembering that the Blessed Sacrament is a REAL PERSON and everything else about the Faith pales.
    These men are not living up to their vocation and taking the time to truly study the Faith, otherwise, they would have the good sense to see the diabolical motivation behind giving in to such a ridiculous idea!
    They need prayer badly.

  54. Augustine says:

    Small gestures are the most eloquent.

    It happened that a new pastor instructed his altar servers to not ring the bells at consecration anymore. Most parishioners did not object, just found it strange that he had made this decision as soon as he began his assignment. Otherwise, the liturgy was celebrated properly by the book.

    However, a group of old ladies missed the bells and voiced their desire that the bells would be rung again. The pastor merely promised to consider their request, but without any response even after reiterated requests. Until one day when, in front of a handful of parishioners, the pastor snapped at the elderly ladies after their repeating their request for the umpteenth time yelling at them that the bells were not necessary, since nothing special happened at consecration anyway.

    I don’t know if the story is apocryphal, but it was told on the radio by Fr Rich Simon.

  55. Vincent says:

    “in other news: Today the Bishop of Palermo, the head of Palermo’s Catholic Church, launched his new ‘cycle2church’ scheme. It is hoped that the scheme, which has involved cycle lanes being installed in churches across the diocese, will encourage sinners to find their way to church and partake in the sacraments. One of the benefits for penitents is that those who partake in the new scheme will receive ‘fast track’ confessions and are allowed to jump the queue for communion. Speaking to the BBC the Bishop said “the Holy Father’s encyclicals talk of the environment and mercy, so we thought we’d combine the two. Every new cyclist gets a helmet with the words “Hagan Lio” on it. I’m sure we’ll see an influx of people wanting to receive all these benefits. After all, if you’re a green thinking person, you’re already saved!””

    Anyone who has ever heard a BBC report will recognise the joke I hope…

    [It was the helmet that did it.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  56. petrus69 says:

    Why is it a bishop is allowed to ride an bicycle in church but some of us are not allow to kneel for Communion?

  57. Liz says:

    Can you please ask for some Good News from people, Father? When I read so many discouraging posts and stories “out there” I feel like I have to work so hard to stay encouraged and positive. Your Good News posts are very encouraging for me. (Pardon me if you did this recently, and I missed it.)

  58. Matt Robare says:

    To be honest, while riding a bicycle in full vestments is worrying, there are far worse things in Italian churches. In Siena, before the annual Palio horse race between the contrade (neighborhoods), they bring the horses into their neighborhood church for Mass and a blessing and it’s considered auspicious if a horse, ah, relieves itself during the proceedings.

  59. APX says:

    why didn’t the vestments get caught in the bike chain and cause the good bishop a terrible accident?

    Probably has a chain guard on it, which prevents that from happening.

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