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…