Tuesday, December 16


Sartorial-Theological Shock Therapy

"...and his train filled the temple." --Isaiah 6, i.


Or as Martin Luther (!) put it:

Jesaja, dem Propheten, das geschah,
Daß er im Geist den Herren sitzen sah
Auf einem hohen Thron in hellen Glanz,
Seines Kleides Saum den Chor füllet ganz.
Es stunden zween Seraph bei ihm daran,
Sechs Flügel sah er einen jeden han,
Mit zween verbargen sie ihr Antlitz klar,
Und mit den andern zween sie flogen frei,
Gen ander rufen sie mit großem Gschrei:
Heilig ist Gott, der Herre Zebaoth,
Heilig ist Gott, der Herre Zebaoth,
Heilig ist Gott, der Herre Zebaoth,

Sein Ehr die ganze Welt erfüllet hat,
Von dem Geschrei zittert Schwell und Balken gar,
Das Haus auch ganz voll Rauchs und Nebel war.


A commenter at The Deacon's Bench presents a thought-provoking and rather profound meditation on what might seem to some the most gratuitous of vestments, the cappa magna. Don't miss it.

The cappa is strange, is weird, is alien, but then our self-destructive, neurotic culture has so few symbols that things that would have seem gracious to any more sensible, more human age frighten us. Such things force us to look outside our normal, beige, elasticized zone of comfort.

Whenever bishops or priests shun the pomp of office (pomp which itself a sort of mortification in this epoch of conspicuously consumptive convenience), I am tempted to say, 'Don't be so humble, you're not that great.' There is a certain personality type one finds that uses the whole "just ordinary folks" business to indulge in ego trips; the rejection of useless gold, gems and brocade may actually be a prideful act rather than one of humility. There is a reason Thomas of Canterbury and Pius XII wore their hair shirts on the inside, rather than on the outside, of their splendid garments.

Hierarchy ought to force ordinary men to rise to the occasion, and vesture like this reminds us that both tradition and Tradition are bigger than you or me. In this case, about fifteen to thirty feet.

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