Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Won't wear, won't care"

The Holy Father was presented with a tiara today at the Papal Audience by a group of Catholics and Orthodox.
Will he wear it? His normal reaction when presented with a cap or some other headgear is to pop it on, but not today, I suppose cause too much fuss.
I had a friend who taught Pastoral Theology in a seminary, he quoined the phrase about seminarians, "Won't wear, won't care", obviously there is always an exception.

PS, Just below the Pope, a friend of mine, Fr Richard Biggerstaff of Lewes, has his back on NLM - just underneath the Pope. Interesting, so many of the younger priests in my diocese are experimenting with ad orientem.


Anita Moore said...

That's a lovely tiara. He should wear it. Take the tiara out of mothballs!

(Except Paul VI's tiara can stay in mothballs. It's ugly.)

Tahir said...

What is Ad Orientum?
What is its purpose and significance in worship?

parepidemos said...

Considering the humility of the present pope, I am not at at all surprised that he avoided placing the tiara on his head, even as a moment of levity. It was, in several respects, a rather inappropriate gift. Thankfully, papal coronations and tiaras appear to have been consigned to the dustbin.

Anagnostis said...

The suggestion that the thing was in part the gift of a group of "Orthodox" is mischievous. It was commissioned from a Bulgarian firm that makes Orthodox vestments. No Orthodox in his right mind would involve himself in presenting the Pope with very symbol of everything we reject absolutely in the "developed" Papal claims:

"Receive the tiara adorned with three crowns and know that thou art Father of Princes and Kings, Ruler of the World, Vicar of Our Saviour Jesus Christ on earth"

Crux Fidelis said...

Tahir: 'Ad orientem' means literally 'towards the east' and means that the priest faces the altar with his back to the congregation when celebrating Mass. Originally churches were built on an east-west alignment with the main door in the west and the altar in the east where the sun rises. Figuratively Jesus Christ is the Rising Sun and all that signifies.

Fr Ray: In Poland recently I attended a Novus Ordo Mass celebrated ad orientem. I had never seen this before. How unusual is it?

Marie said...

Totally agree with Pare. and Anag.
Anita, are you having a laugh?

It would have been totally out of character.

Once I Was A Clever Boy said...

Personally I would be delighted to see the restoration of the Papal tiara and coronation, and the gift suggests others think so as well.
I cannot see why people object to the tiara and its imposition. Ironically it was Paul VI, who dispensed with using the tiara himself who acted liturgically in the most authoritarian way, as we now realise. Coronations of Popes, Emperors and Kings are actually a reminder of their limitations - remember 'Sic transit gloria mundi'? It was absolutism which moved away from the rituals of coronation.
Clearly the presnt Pope is not going to try on so significant a symbol in a flippant way, as he might baseball cap or whatever. However the gift may give him, and others, pause for thought - well, clearly it has, as we are discussing it in the blogosphere.

Anagnostis said...

There's not very much sense of "limitation" in the passage from the coronation rite quoted above. A reminder that "worldly glory passes" serves only emphasise that it's "worldly glory" which is being transacted.

I know very well that the idea of "Catholic Tradition" as defined by Low Mass, neo-scholasticism, ultramontanism and reactionary politics is enjoying a certain vogue. To those who repine for the tiara at the same time as deploring the devastation of the vineyard, I recommend a daily meditation on Samuel 8, 1-18, paying particular attention to 18.

(And please...please try at last to come to terms with the fact that the Novus Ordo project, in all of its essentials, together with strategies and timescales for its implementation, was worked out under the active patronage of that arch-tiara-wearer Pius XII).

Once I Was A Clever Boy said...

Anagnostis is, I sense, an Orthodox, and Orthodoxy has had no problems historically with crowns for its bishops, or with secular crowned heads as protectors of the Church. Indeed I sense Orthodoxy is still, rightly, mourning the loss of the Byzantine Emperor in 1453.

The prayer at the imposition of the tiara is more about spiritual authority - and not all popes have been like Gregory VII or Boniface VIII.

Sorry to disappoint but I am not a born-again "Catholic Traditionalist." Personally I prefer High Mass and being a late medievalist I am rather drawn to the Augustinian revival and mysticism of that era, rather than neo-scholasticism, even though I respect it. If seeking the fullness of Catholic unity with the Pope is ultramontane then I suppose I am, and if reacting against so much of what I see around me in the modern world is to be reactionary, then I am happy to be so considered.

8 Samuel is essentially critical of all temporal government - and could be used to justify an all-out theocracy. I suspect it needs to be read theologically and also historically to understand the debate within the people of Israel. God gave His people a King, and did not use the failings of Saul to abandon the system, rather He positively reaffirmed it in the person of David, who foreshadows the Kingship of Christ.

As to changes that began under Pope Pius XII, they were, whether one likes them or not, perceived as reforms of the continuing Roman rite. What happened under Paul VI, arguably with the "democratic" mandate of the Council, went far beyond the actions of previous Popes in respect of the liturgy. In that sense Pope Paul was acting in an absolutist manner in a way that his predecessors did not, and in a way which the present Holy Father has eschewed.

Anagnostis said...


I mentioned explicitly that I'm Orthodox! I do not repine for the Byzantine Emperor, and never met anybody who does (though you "meet" all sorts on the Internet!). For every Justinian there was a Leo the Isaurian - or more realistically, half a dozen Leos the Isaurian. Half the saints in calender, it seems, were persecuted by the "orthodox" emperors.

The crowns worn by our bishops date from the period of the Turkokratia, when they were compelled to function as ethnarchs. They're picturesque, certainly (the crowns), but I can take them or leave them. I'd be very much in favour of reversion to the earlier form of episcopal headgear, an elaboration of the monastic hat and veil still maintained by the Patriarchs of Moscow.

None of these in any case approximate to the the Papal tiara, which, as I noted above with reference to the coronation rite, symbolises titles and privileges accorded to the Bishops of Rome that the Orthodox absolutely reject, and which this Orthodox critic definitely identifies as being at the root of the Roman Catholic Church's several disorders in the second millenium.

Again: all of the salient details of the Novus Ordo project were worked out under Pius XII (including the draft of Sacrosanctum Concilium, "time-bombs" and all). It did not leap into existence in the period 62-69, but was the subject of intensive activity and debate from 49-55, after which the Pope decided firmly in favour of the "radical" party. The hapless Paul VI was simply holding the parcel when the music stopped.

Dom Bede Rowe said...

How wonderful to have a day when special hats are worn!

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