Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pants: to the Bulgars

I thought you might enjoy this from "The Responses of Pope St. Nicholas I to the Questions of the Bulgars" (Letter 99), Chapter LVIIII, A.D. 866. It concerns "femoralia", women's things(?) which in this case are trousers or in the case of Americans are pants. It appeals to the schoolboy in me. I also find Pope Nicholas' reasoning elegant.
Trousers were a big issue then, they were considered un-Roman and therefore a mark on barbarianism: could one remain a trousered barbarian and be a Christian?
In Nicholas' "Response" he is answering the question: should Christianity extend beyond the ancient borders of the Roman Empire?
Of course it would take many more centuries for the Church to decide if it was appropriate for its clergy to wear trousers and dress as barbarians, in women's things, the femoralia.


Physiocrat said...

Calvin is a brand of pants. He is probably turning in his grave at the thought.

George said...

This statement from Pope St. Nicholas would cause a stir in some traditional Catholic circles. Many traditional priests teach that pants are morally dangerous for women.

Then to have a 9th Century pope and saint say "for whether you or your women wear or do not wear pants (femoralia) neither impedes your salvation nor leads to any increase of your virtue."

pelerin said...

So pleased wearing trousers does not impede ones salvation! Made my day!

Nicolas Bellord said...

The Romans had no word for trousers so they had to import a word from teutonic - braccis. We have the word breeches.

John Nolan said...

Joan of Arc was burned for wearing trousers; the fact that she resumed them when in prison as a protection against rape was enough to brand her as a relapsed heretic. American 'pant-suited nuns', beware.

berenike said...

Femur, femoris - thigh.

GOR said...

I don't think 'femoralia' refers to women's things specifically Father - rather to the femur and what might be used to cover that which covers the femur: i.e. the thighs.

Of course you could say a dress or skirt covers the thighs also - or used to - and they would be women's things. Unless you're a Highlander or one of those Greek 'palace guards'.


Fr Ray Blake said...

Femur, femoris - thigh
Trousers are girly, so are thighs! All men should wear a tunic or a cassock, the sign of Christian Roman culture!

nickbris said...

How about a Culotte,then everybody could be happy

Evagrius said...


Next time I must go to an Extraordinary Form Mass, I shall be sure to go togate!

More seriously, your underlying point is well-made and rather important.

johnf said...

The late Ogden Nash, America's greatest poet ;-) commented

'Sure, deck your lower limbs in pants,
Yours are the limbs, my sweeting.
You may look fine when you advance -
Have you seen yourself retreating?'

Supertradmum said...

I do not think women should wear trousers except in need. There should be a distinction of men and women in dress. Now that it has been "decided" that men wear pants, women should wear dresses and skirts. I hate the androgynous look. However, I want the cassock for priests, as it sets them aside, although black pants and shirts with the collar are cool as well. Note this

Physiocrat said...

What about in Scotland? What should the women wear there?

gemoftheocean said...

Supertradmum: "Now that it has been "decided" that men wear pants, women should wear dresses and skirts."

So, you and which army are going to enforce that ukase? If there's anything I can't stand it's ultra-traddy women whining about what other women have on. If you're really having a problem identifying a woman simply because she isn't wearing a skirt/dress, you have more problems than a psychologist can reasonably deal with in a month of Sundays. I expect you never travel north of the border to see Scotsmen in their kilts lest your head explodes. 'Women' with beards would probably drive you to the bottle.

gemoftheocean said...

Nickbris: If there were any reader of Fr. Blake's who was sans-culotte, I'd expect it to be you!

pelerin said...

I enjoyed the comment from Physiocrat. Having never been to Scotland I don't know how common the wearing of the kilt is there. I suspect it is only on special occasions. However this form of dress does surprise me giving the weather they endure.

I suspect that Supertradmum lives in a warm climate otherwise she would be all in favour of women wearing trousers. Yes I would far rather be able to wear a skirt but this is only practible during our often very short summer. And socks are cheaper and last far longer than tights!

nickbris said...

Quite right Karen,the Sans Culotte will ensure Barack remains in the White House for another term,thank God

Pablo the Mexican said...

Feminists love to malign 'trad women'.

Being barren or having 1.3 kids compared to the 8, 10, or 12 children trad women have would ruffle the feathers of any old goat man hater.

But things come down to this:

Pride versus Obedience/submission.

Only a woman in pants would dare countermand the orders of a Bishop:

I guess after usurping the authority of the Padre and all the 'men' around her, I guess a Bishop is quick work for a Lib Cathlyk.

In pants.


gemoftheocean said...

Nidk, you are still thanking God for the man who wanted to let abortionists be able to put babies who'd managed to survive an abortion in a utility closet to die to be allowed go unpunished? That's sick.

Get it through your head that Zero is an anti-Christ. And I am not joking by any stretch of your imagination.

Pablo the Mexican said...

The first place that the Holy Father can start squelching Feminism is with the pants wearing, US Marine Core Hair-cut Eucharistic Ministers, Lectures, Pastoral Associate Women and limp wristed men.

It is time for Rome to spring into action now that there aren't any Catholics left in America after years of Springtime.

Women's Pants.

The badge of Feminism.


Lisa said...

The Pope was addressing ONLY THEIR style of pants and if you take a very long look at the way they dressed in this above picture, you can see clearly why the Pope said that their style of pants wasn’t going to harm their salvation because it was not immodest! He also tells them to conform though to the Church and that the church teaches only men were to wear pants and that is the churches custom.
Please take a very long look at the style the Pope was addressing. It does not reveal the rear end and the entire form of the woman’s body because the woman basically is covered by a dress that is below the knee. (which is more modesty/feminine than the pants we have today. Scientist today have said that men look straight up the lines of a woman's pants (because men are drawn to lines) and they see the woman's crouch or rear end depending on what side the man sees. The brainwaves of the man showed from seeing a woman in pants the man sees the woman as an object rather than a person. I would have to say that the only words from the Holy See are Cardinal Siri's on the women who are wearing pants today and they are forbidden because these fashions of today offend our Lord and our Lady and are neither feminine nor modest and they were never meant to be.

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