Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cardinal Solomon In All His Glory

For those who are interested the National Catholic Reporter has more photos Cardinal Rode in all his worldly splendor. They also have an interview with Cardinal Rode which is every bit as fascinating to read as his celebratory finery is to contemplate.

I couldn't help but notice how the above photo demonstrates what an inclusive church Cardinal Rode's vision encompasses. Notice all the poor people and women? What can you expect, this is a photo taken at the consecration of some male Deacons. No wonder there are no poor people or women. Sheeesh. This was a ceremony for the important people in the Church.

In his interview Rode maintains he had nothing to do with either the LCWR investigation or the Legionnaire's. I'm quite ready to believe that was true in the case of the Legionnaire's. I'm not so sure about the LCWR. Rode blames it on younger members of LCWR congregations and American Cardinals in Rome. I guess that proves that the Vatican is willing to take some sisters seriously. He then glowingly describes the new religious orders and the numbers of new adherents and how wonderful all this is for the Church. This comes after he has this to say about Vatican II:

Looking back, Rodé believes that Vatican II, while designed to generate a moderate reform, instead triggered “the greatest crisis in church history.”

“In the 16th century, during the Reformation, many religious left the church and many convents were closed, but it was geographically limited, more or less to Northern Europe,” he said. “In the French Revolution, there was another catastrophe, but it was limited to France. The crisis after the Second Vatican Council, however, was the first truly global crisis.”
“We’ve paid a very steep price due to a secularized, worldly mentality,” he said.

Judging from his choice in liturgical dress up, no one is going to accuse Rode of having a 'secularized, worldly mentality'.

When he says we, I can't help but think he's not really referring to the whole church. I think he's referring to the Church he lives in. That's the Church that hasn't quite assimilated it's really 2009 and not 1609. That's the Church that doesn't believe it has anything at all to do with the exodus of people out of the pews in the West. That's the Church that blames Vatican II for every ill that actually had it's genesis in the clericalism and theology of the pre Vatican II church. That's the Church that believes the only good gays are closeted clerical gays who dress in Trenten drag. That's also the Church that believes the only good nuns are the ones in cloistered monastic closets whose clothes conceal every facet of their sexuality and individuality. Apparently it's easier to deal with the feminine in the Church when the feminine is presented as colorless drab a-sexual clones. A type of feminine identity which doesn't compete at all with the male cleric in all his peacock glory. Natural law operating at it's finest, I guess.

Basta, I say!! The pictures themselves are worth thousands of words. I don't need to add any more.


  1. I still don't get what fancy hats & golden churches have to do with a vow of poverty or holiness ? hmm maybe to keep people poor and in poverty perhaps . I really struggle with hypocracy in the church . I love great art but golden churches at the expence of starving children is not art . The whole keeping the eucharist in a golden tabernacle bugs me too . Did Jesus see himself as or imply He is that type of God / King / Leader .
    The whole concept of someone is holier then someone else just because of position , beautiful robes etc. is just crazy . I sometimes mediate on Peter being pope and think people messed it up big time . it had nothing to do with Peter being more holy then others or male or female . Could it just have been Peter had great leadership qualities ? Just like all of us are chosen we all have our roles. What if there are women who are chosen to be leaders and can't become leader of our church just because of gender . Then people who are so right & conservative who argue women cannot be priests but wanted a conservative right female to become president . How could people accept the role of a female as a leader of a country but not a church ? hypocracy & contracdiction abound .
    Your blog makes me think even more lol many more great meditations now .I need to rest my brain for now

  2. Rox, I really went off in one comment I wrote in response to some trad going on about how necessary all this pomp was for the Latin Mass.

    That's just plain bull. I attended plenty of Traditional Masses where none of this stuff was used. Our Polish priest once told my family that his most precious Mass was the one he said in Dachau in his block house with one crust of bread and thimble full of wine--probably stolen.

    This is just bull shit male ego. It's not of Jesus. Had Jesus desired all this He would have shown up post Resurrection in all His glory. He didn't. He showed up as regular ole Jesus.

  3. colcoch:

    Actually he showed up "in disguise" - until he broke bread. He probably just looked like a "regular guy" - until that moment when they recognized the simple action which Jesus had said was Himself. He also made it crystal clear that putting on airs was not a sign of those "high up" in the kingdom. You'd think the hierarchy would "get" that.

    I too am so distressed at the excessive "waste" on vestments - new ones all the time! Matching ones for the "higher ups". Something tells me there is a groundswell of people who have read and internalized the Gospel - and will demand leaders who follow it! Leadership should begin with service. And servants don't wear fancy clothes. Read the footwashing in John's Gospel. Jesus took off his outer garment, put a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. That scene is "instead" of the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper in the Synoptic Gospels. So I think we can read that as telling us something about recognizing Jesus.

    Likely the breaking of bread or the washing of feet shows us Jesus and his connection to us. Not fancy clothes! Footwashing and fancy clothes are incompatible with each other. And thus with Jesus' Presence among us.

    Sometimes I can hardly believe these folks in the hierarchy read the Gospel! How can they miss the clear message?

  4. A few years ago, the Vatican treasures came to the Cincinnati Art Museum for a national tour. Perhaps the item that made the strongest impression on me was a simple water glass that one of the priests imprisoned at Auschwitz used to celebrate Mass in his cellblock. I was reminded of it a year or two later when the conservatives went on this kick of making sure all vessels used during Mass (including chalice and ciborium) were made of metal only. Somehow, I think Cardinals Solomon and Rodé have their priorities somewhat askew, to say the least. Would Jesus wear the cappa magna?

  5. I saw a piece on Progressive Catholic suggesting Benedict XVI is a liberal and a relativist. He has said, "let a thousand blossoms bloom" -- one mass for traditionalists, another for ex-anglicans, another for those still plodding in the world of Vatican II -- which itself is up for graps in the current parleying with the Lefebvrites. Subtly he is causing the Rock of Ages to drift into a Heraclitean flux, even on the gender front, with those stunning androgynous displays of bedizened red dresses and shows, the wide embrace of self-hating gays. Postmodernism is eating away a Catholicism feeding on images and postures, incapable of putting forward a solid vision sustained in rational debate.

  6. type in my last: dresses and shoes

  7. Sorry Joe, can't really edit, can only delete and rewrite. This is not the world's best program for comments.

  8. Colleen, I would rather see Cardinal Rode in pontificals than Fran O'Connor Schultz dressed up as the Lady of Shalott.

  9. God forbid Rode ever becomes Pope and actually wears pontificals.

  10. Pontificals, Colleen, are the vestments and dress worn by bishops. Cardinal Rode is a bishop and in your picture he is shown celebrating pontifical High Mass.

    As an enlightened, if not well-informed, Catholic it is helpful to understand the terminology or else it will make you look a little silly in your responses.

  11. What is the meaning of all this dressing up, I'm asking myself? And as I pondered this, yes, at something like 3 am this morning, I was thinking how Rome apparently wants to look more and more like the Orthodox. But as I pondered some more, I recalled times I'd been at Orthodox liturgies, particularly Russian Orthodox ones. I pondered how their liturgy springs from a culture, how the monks sing off key, their hair and beards dirty and stringy, monastic robes threadbare, and the people wander in and out during services which last for hours, how the priests process around the tiny Cathedral again and again, ringing bells, carrying candles. They may be wearing fancy vestments but there's nothing fancy about their presence in the community - processing so close you could reach out and touch them. I recalled another service with the priest chanting in a deep voice in a small room that served as a church. Oh, yes, he was dressed in Orthodox garb but there was nothing imperial about him. Not at all.

    I think that what disturbs many of us is the attempt to achieve pomp and circumstance instead of spiritual depth. With spiritual depth, you can wear any garb at all and say Mass anywhere and it's as if the angels in heaven had bowed down to worship along with you. But without that inner spiritual depth - the clothes look flimsy, like someone all "tarted up" to dazzle and seduce.

    True spiritual depth is what is needed. And sadly, what is wanting. The Orthodox, by and large, convey that spiritual depth. The vestments recede, because the faces shine with an otherworldly radiance. That is the kind of "clothing" we need in those who minister!

    I could write much more as so many memories came up - thanks to this post. But 'clothes' do not make the man (or the pope). The person (man or woman) who shines with God's radiance, due to long years of fervent prayer, that person inhabits whatever role they play or whatever garments they wear. And the Presence of God shines through. No fancy vestments needed!

  12. More photos from MP's "man lace space"

  13. That other worldly radiance you mention is a hall mark of spiritual depth. One sees it and feels it right away. I have been fortunate to have met at least three people who just radiated that presence and made the presence of God with in them feel very very real.

    In none of these cases did I meet these people in a ceremonial setting, but it wouldn't have made any difference.

    Padre Pio is an example of what you write. I can see photos of him in his fiddleback chasuble and it doesn't phase me because his eyes and face dominate the photos. It's the energy he radiates that is the truth of him.

    Not so with Rode and Burke. The clothes dominate the photos.

  14. I have met at least 3. Now I think it's more.

    But here's "The Gift of Presence":

    And along with him, for sure, Father John Main (in the '70's) and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (when I was a Freshman or Sophomore in college).

    Sometimes, hearing such a person speak, you feel as if the words go straight to your heart, as if something other than your mind is both absorbing and venerating them and that Presence seems to bridge a gap between one person and the next.

    The radiance, however, is rare but visible.

  15. At a White House state dinner, the Prez does not show up in flip flops, faded blue jeans, and bare chest. Out of respect for the guests and occasion, he wears his best.

    I think pontificals are worn (or should be worn) for a similar reason--out of respect for the occasion; the intent of the attire should not be self-adoration.

    Not everyone looks fab in a tux or gown, but that is not a reason to not wear it.