Monday, May 05, 2008

Clerical baseball caps... yuk

Yesterday Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa celebrated Mass with Catholic Action in St Peter's Square.

Apparently the Congregation for Divine Worship is going to announce a competition to design clerical headwear in the next few weeks.

Seriously, this does look ghastly, the CDW should encourage an alternative, at the World Youth Day under the harsher Australian sun we can expect worst.

There are two historically based answers one the biretta, the second is using the amice, the vestment now worn as a neckcloth but was formally a head covering, a type of hood.


Anonymous said...

Even better, His Eminence might have celebrated Holy Mass inside the Basilica, out of the Sun's baking rays - and forget concelebration. Any clerics who may find themselves watching on screens in the Square outside can wear the lightweight cassock and straw 'saturno'.
Another suggestion: the liturgical parasol. I am sure that Tridentinum would create something appropriate if there was sufficient demand.
One can see why His Holiness may have concerns about the propriety of large scale concelebrated Mass in the open air.

Anonymous said...

Historically, Father, neither the amice nor the biretta would have been worn while holding a ciborium containing the Blessed Sacrament - which is what these priest appear to be doing! (It's hard to tell at which point in the Mass this photo was taken - one of the priests appears to have outstreched arms, suggesting this is a shot during the Canon - but who knows?)

It's not only a question of style and taste; it's also about respect for the Blessed Sacrament - and of a return to more thorough formation in our seminaries.

Anonymous said...

red and purple birettas are often seen in Rome, but rarely black ones. This just looks messy.

gemoftheocean said...

I'm good with the top photo. Except with the duffus who has turned his cap sideways. Ride with the tide and go with the flow.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Quite right, Thomasso.

Anonymous said...

I always thought the biretta was extremely spiff, but it doesn't look like it would do much to keep the raging Australian sun off one's head, or the tops of ones ears.

What about that old clerical fave, the galero?

Volpius Leonius said...

I would leave immediately if I found a priest wearing those hats in the first picture.

gemoftheocean said...

Volpius, if the pope is allowed to wear a red cowboy hat, then these guys ought to be allowed to wear baseball caps. The golf hats look silly though.

Anonymous said...

Harsh Australian sun - in July? Is that likely?

Physiocrat said...

Wide brimmed lightweight hat in a light colour are what is needed. Baseball caps are useless in the sun anyway. Could have been worse. Anyone for turbans?

But concelebrations are a Bad Thing anyway, and then the single celebrant can stand under a canopy.

PeterHWright said...

It might be acceptable in certain cases for men in the congregation to cover their heads against the heat of the sun. (The women's heads ought to be covered anyway.)

But not the concelebrants.

And never like the priests in this photo ! They seem to have forgotten who they are, where they are, and what they are doing.

The priests heads should, of course, be uncovered.

It's a very strong argument indeed against outdoor liturgies.

Anonymous said...

And to think I was surprised to see just one priest wearing a baseball cap at an outdoor Mass in Lourdes! En masse they look almost frightning especially the one with the cap on sideways.

However, would it really be sensible to forbid headgear under a hot sun and risk the priests suffering from heatstroke. When I was in Lourdes last year the temperature almost reached 40 degrees - and that was hot! I did not pass out during the outdoor Mass but it was a near thing and I used a cardigan over my head to keep off the hot sun.

peterhwright has perhaps the answer - no outdoor liturgies. However after having experienced the Mass of the Assumption in Lourdes with some 30,000 others on two occasions, I am not one of those who would agree with him. I would hate to see the end of outdoor Masses although I know there is controversy regarding the safe reception of Holy Communion which of course is far more important than priests wearing sun hats.

I hope to be in Lourdes during Pope Benedict's visit in September when he will be celebrating Mass in the 'prairie'. The sun may not be as hot as it is in August so hopefully no baseball caps will be seen on the priests present. But if it is then I would be prepared to overlook any caps worn - far preferable to having the priests collapse with heat exhaustion even if they don't exactly 'go' with priestly vestments!

gemoftheocean said...

Pelerin, right on. Sure the biretta looks spiffy, but it's not exactly your "go to" hat in hot weather.

H:: And as far as a baseball cap being no use in hot weather, you gotta be kidding me. I agree with Pelerin on this one. Perhaps white would be a much better choice but I'd prefer a standing priest to one keeled over.

And Peter just because some broads in Corinth were told to put on hats because they had elaborate hair that was distracting is no reason to enforce burkha mode for all time. If it floats one's boat, go for it, but otherwise: you and what army?

abcde said...

Father, I totally agree with you. The wearing of baseball caps at such occasions lacks any dignity whatsoever. I am sure that the Holy Father will issue some comment in the near future. I have always been unhappy about reverence shown to the Blessed Sacrament at such occasions.

gemoftheocean said...

BTW, I'm rather amused that though people are excoriating those "yuk baseball hats" no one is having a hissy fit over all the sunglasses. I guess because Europeans wear those too.

Volpius Leonius said...

"However, would it really be sensible to forbid headgear under a hot sun and risk the priests suffering from heatstroke."

Father has already suggested two much more suitable forms of head gear, now no one is going to get heat stroke been outside in the sun in Europe without a hat on all day let alone a couple of hours tops for Mass.

That doesn't even happen in the canaries which are much hotter.

Anonymous said...

Baseball caps are ubiquitous, no longer just connected to that form of passtime after which they are named.

Anonymous said...

And then there is the question of concelebrants using cell phones and snapping photographs during Holy Mass. Very distressing.

gemoftheocean said...

Langham: :-D I know. I'm just having a bit of fun. I was thinking what WOULD be a good design with that style... I'd make it white and no logo. Or, possibly it would have a "tongue of fire" logo.

At any rate, Fr. Blake's post, as always, is inspiring.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Volpius and say that it is possible to pass out with the heat from the sun in Europe and even in Britain! I have done so on several occasions over the years!

Also Masses in Lourdes such as that of the Assumption celebrated by Archbishop, Bishops and hundreds of priests actually last longer than two hours and although starting at 9.30 am the heat last year was intense long before Mass finished. A local digital clock/thermometer nearby registered 39 degrees which is over 100 degrees F.

So although I agree with Fr Ray that clerical baseball caps are yuk, I would not want to see Priests going down like ninepins at such an event. And don't forget that those who may be bald could get badly burnt after only an hour or so.

Too heavy head covering can also lead to fainting and there is a popular postcard on sale in London
showing rows of Guardsmen on parade all wearing their furry black bearskins. All are standing to attention - except one who has passed out and is lying prone on the floor where he appears to have been left!!

Anonymous said...

Did enjoy gemoftheocean's captions for the baseball cap picture - very funny! it's good to start the day with a smile!

Anonymous said...

Concelebrants using cell phones and taking pictures during Mass, surely not!

Physiocrat said...

Gem, US style baseball caps just do not do the job a hat should do. I have a collection of them which I almost never wear. The fact that some people wear them one way and others wear them backwards demonstrates this. If the peak is at the front then the back of the head gets burnt. If worn backwards then there is no protection from the sun. Either way there is no protection for the ears. I have a friend who had to have half an ear cut off due to skin cancer so this is a real problem. Also they fit close to the head so there is no ventilation. In wet weather they just go soggy and in cold weather they are no help at all. You could end up with pneumonia. So people should take care what they put on their heads.

It is not just in hot countries that open air masses are problematical. It isn't dignified when the congregation is constantly looking anxiously up at the sky when the heavens could be about to visit a deluge on them. In that situation perhaps the tricorn hat is the right thing.

PeterHWright said...

Whatever became of the solar topee ?

White men wore it in the heat of Africa.

At one time, even priests wore it (though not for liturgical use).

I once saw a photograph of a young missionary in the Holy Ghost Fathers, Fr. Marcel Lefebvre, in tropical cassock and solar topee.

Phil said...

Beggers belief. Holding the Blessed Sacrament, they should have had their own personal server with ombrellino. That would keep the sun off and also give due respect to the Sacrament. What a good idea.

Anonymous said...

peterhwright's comment on the solar topee reminded me of some postcards I have collected showing missionaries and nuns at work in the Africa continent.

Not only are the priests often pictured wearing the topee but the nuns as well - on top of their habit veils!

I have many cards showing the sisters of Saint-Joseph de Cluny who volunteered, following a talk given by Mgr Augouard the first Bishop of the Congo and Spiritain, to go out to the Congo to look after the girls and women there.
They are pictured in their long habits which must have been extremely hot and their topees perched on top of their heads.

peterhwright mentions the Spiritain/Holy Ghost priest Marcel Lefebvre who did great work in Senegal and eventually became the Superior of the Holy Ghost fathers.
I find his story immensely sad.....
he did what he thought was right
at the time which surely was commendable - or was it?

PeterHWright said...

That's a very interesting comment by Pelerin.

I remember reading that you should cover up in the sun. Apparently, lightweight loose fitting clothing is the ideal.

You'd think a nun's long habit could be adapted to a hot climate, as long as it is white.

I'd love to see a nun wearing a solar topee. I have seen nuns (working in the garden, etc.,) wearing a wide brimmed straw hat.

Certain monasteries allow monks to do the same.

I don't know if there is a name for the conical hat traditionally worn by a Chinaman working in the hot sun, but the idea is the same, obviously.

And I never venture out in the sun without a straw hat to cover my bald head. Even in England, it can get very warm.

There used to be a tradition at English seaside resorts that an effective sun hat for men could be made out of a folded newpaper. Priests could wear old copies of L'Osservatore Romano.

True, they might look silly, but the ones in the photograph don't seem to care what they look like.

Otherwise, the ombrellino or some other canopy is the answer (not forgetting it is permitted to celebrate indoors).

All of which fails to address the question : why do they need so many concelebrants anyway ?

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of hats made out of 'L'Osservatore Romano' or perhaps 'The Universe'! as long as they don't resort to knotted handkerchiefs a la Brighton sea front!!

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