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don’t have anything to wear?

Previously I had a fund-raising appeal amongst followers of this site so that I might purchase the ideal home for a liturgist. Now I’ve seen the ideal thing to wear around that house! So I’m on a fund-raising appeal yet again – I promise you this piece of vesture, is, as those into this sort of thing say, “to die for”! For those types – watch and drool:

Nope – not a historical movie; not even a spoof; not even photoshopped or digitally enhanced by Weta Workshop! This was the Pontifical Solemn High Mass in Washington DC. April 24, 2010.

It’s one of the strongest visual arguments anyone can see against women priests and bishops: why would women want to dress up as men like that?!

There’s another view of the this by Cleansing Fire:

Notice how the people are reverently preparing to celebrate the Eucharist. There certainly isn’t a disproportionate focus on the presider… ummmm… So much so that the anonymous (?) defender “of Truth and Tradition in the Lay-run Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester” who was present cannot even remember or find out the name of the bishop actually wearing the capa magna.

In case you wonder about the liturgical meaning of the capa magna, here’s an explanation – no seriously! This is an allegorical explanation of the symbolism, and regulars here will know how much I love allegorical interpretations of symbolism [For those newer here – hint: NOT! Symbolism IMO should be/is fairly self-explanatory, otherwise it is not a symbol but a sign. My comments in matching maroon italics]:

The capa magna does indeed represent the finery of the world, its power and prestige. That is why after his entrance wearing it, the prelate is publicly stripped of this finery and humbled before the congregation. Then, vestment by vestment, the bishop is clothed in the new man of which St Paul speaks, including the baptismal alb, the dalmatic of charity, the stole of pardon [sic] and the chasuble of mercy [ah – the chasuble of mercy – I’d been wondering all this time what the chasuble actually “meant” – and of course, I love the Russian doll system of wearing the chasuble over the dalmatic – don’t let on that historically it’s essentially the same garment, that would spoil the “symbolism”]. When finally clothed in Christ, the prelate makes a second entrance into the church to begin the eucharistic celebration in persona Christi, the visible head of the body, the church.

It was a clear statement that the power and prestige of the world have no place at the altar, but it is expressed in a liturgical ritual or symbol, which, unfortunately, are often lacking in the contemporary rites and thus hard to grasp.

Unfortunately no one told this prelate that the whole point of wearing the capa magna is the stripping off! He’s still wearing it at the end of the Eucharist!

Even the source of our second clip, Cleansing Fire, hasn’t been properly educated in the allegorical meaning of the capa magna and is confused enough to suggest that “things like this cappa magna lend an air of majesty to church.”

So – I’m receiving donations for my capa magna now. Those who donate will be allowed to wear it for a bit when they come to dinner in my house in Hobart.

ps. did I tell you I’ve been reading quite a lot on St Francis of Assisi lately… fascinating…

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8 Responses to don’t have anything to wear?

  1. Splendid! I absolutely loved this! I am quite sure you would look splendid in this fuschia/magneta garment while strolling about in your Hobart house 😀 (St.Francis of Assisi… perhaps the dear prelate should read a bit about St.Francis.)

  2. I’m kind of taken aback by your kind of angry/sardonic tone. I don’t really understand why you’d lash out at us when you clearly didn’t read out entire series on that Mass. We went on to discuss the role of the cappa in subsequent posts, as well as the comments on the actual video’s YouTube address. That same day I posted saying, “the bishop’s name is Edward Slattery from Tulsa, Oklahoma.” I humbly apologize for all of the staff at Cleansing fire for not being “properly educated.” We bow to your Anglo whims.

    • My comments policy does not generally allow anonymous comments “Cleansing Fire” (why are you and your “staff” anonymous?!), but as I linked to your site I think it appropriate to let your comment through. Your post I link to has not been corrected, and still reads “It wasn’t Bishop Slattery” – and I cannot find “the bishop’s name is Edward Slattery from Tulsa, Oklahoma” on your site even using an advanced search. What you call the “Anglo whim” I quote comes from the respected site New Liturgical Movement (as my source indicates). I leave it to my regular readers whether my tone here is angry. Please next time provide a real name. Thanks for your visit.

  3. I’m guessing that since this was a ‘pontifical high mass’ that the capa magna was used by the cardinal to symbolize the pope. I had a similar reaction on my first visit to the Vatican two months ago. While I absolutely loved being mooned by God in the Sistine Chapel, for the most part my reaction was more of a Martin Luther experience. Is this really what the Church is about? Of course not. Thankfully, the Reformation is alive and well, I suspect, even among faithful Catholics.
    Did I take your words as angry? Nope. More along the lines of amused amazement. It’s somewhat akin to the video of the huge thurifer swinging through the transept in Spain (Santiago de Compostela?)
    Vashti Winterburg
    Lawrence, Kansas

  4. Fascinating. As an Anglican evnagelical I have learned a lot about liturgy from your pages, and do find it helpful to see other priests behaving in a way that is outside my experience and comprehension. The second video is priovate so I couldn’t see it. Would you be kind enough to explain the capa magna stuff a bit more please?

    • The capa magna is well outside my experience and comprehension also, Helen 🙂 And, in a humorous way (note the post’s tags) I think I was indicating that those who are advocating for it also cannot come up with a consistent “explanation” of “the capa magna stuff” 😉 I didn’t even know you could set youtube videos to private – useful! It certainly wasn’t “private” when I had embedded it from “Cleansing Fire” – but, you see above, their reaction to my post. Thanks for your openness to what is on this site. I also appreciate yours.

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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