21 August 2018


PF has welcomed the fact that trainee Jesuits no longer wear a cassock when visiting their General or the Pope.

Presumably PF was actually wearing a cassock himself when he made these remarks!?!

I find it hard to understand how any human being can be pompous and so full of himself that he is unable to recognise such a comical paradox!

I am reminded of a Principal who liked to wear his MA gown when addressing the students, but disliked seeing his colleagues in gowns. He wanted the gown to be the signifier of his own unique uniqueness.

The papal white cassock, although it dates from before the twentieth century, became in that century much more of a central visible feature in the papal personality cult which, particularly since the election of Pius XII, grew so greatly and so unhealthily. S John Paul, when hiking through mountains, was always photographed doing so while wearing his cassock! As clergy of all ranks tended during this period to wear their cassock less and less, the papal cassock, naturally, stuck out more and more as a statement, an assertion of status, than it had done in the happy but far off days when even the simplest cleric wore one daily.

Don't get me the wrong way round. It's not the cassock, but the cult, that I see as so damaging to the Church. It is not the fact that PF dresses (at least partially) as befits his office that I object to, but that he discourages others from doing the same.


Thomas said...

It reminds me of a cartoon I saw, possibly in Punch, some decades ago. It showed a bishop standing at the bar of a pub while wearing cope and mitre and every possible piece of episcopal bling, exceedingly ornate crosier in one hand hand and a pint of beer in the other. One of the regulars at a corner table is saying to his friend: "It's his 'I'm just one of the boys' attitude that really gets up my nose!"

vetusta ecclesia said...

Mountain walking and trekking are very popular in Poland. It is quite normal in the Tatras to see male and female religious in habit participating in this activity.

Donna Bethell said...

Good point, Father. But don't worry. Remember what happened when PF criticized the saturno. Gammarelli's reported they were quickly sold out with a long order list.

armyarty said...

The real value of Pope Francis' pontificate will be to re-assert the doctrine of free will, showing that, while popes are infallible, and assisted by a myriad of graces appropriate to their state, they are free to reject them all, and behave in as illogical, contradictory and even malicious manner as they chose.

Remembering that will be a healthy thing.

If I were forced to meet Francis- and I have no desire to do so- I think that I should quote Oliver Cromwell to him- "You have been here long enough for any good you have done. In the name of God, Go"

Mike Walsh, MM said...

I am appalled that PF sometimes wears a white suit. Like he's selling ice-cream.

Randolph Crane said...

Father, I see no great irony in PF's remarks. Have you seen his cassock? It's the thinnest and cheapest polyester crap (pardon my French) I have ever seen. You can see his black pants clearly through the fabric. If he wore a Papal cassock like Benedict XVI, made out of a worthy material, with the special sleeves etc., then his statement would be ridiculous. But since he doesn't, his statement is in perfect continuity with his character, his behaviour, and his appearance.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

As to what has been happening in the Church in modernity.

Recall that Mary told the Fatima children that Russia would spread her errors unless the Pope consecrated Russia to her Immaculate heart

That has never been done, thus, we can see the result of the refusal of Mary’s request

The primary error of Russia is that it is anthropocentric and concerned with man and his presumptive earthly perfection

During the Second Vatican Council the new theology “ experts” effected a revolution within the form of Catholicism and so we went from Theocentrism to Anthropocentrism as we fell victim to the errors of Russia as perfectly predicted by Mary

As was claimed by the about-to-be-Canonised, Paul VI, "We have the cult of man," and most modern Popes have become every bit as much of a personality cult as was Stalin.

1569 Rising said...


The quite unique and much admired Fr Barney Payne, Librarian, among other things, of Ushaw in the 50s and 60s was famously laid up in bed with some sort of illness. He was always available to students in his room, but always wore his biretta with pyjamas.

Vincent 1967 said...

When I originally read the address of PF to those Jesuits on the Vatican website I assumed the Pope was encouraging informality. I wonder if he would also rather the faithful address members of the college of Cardinals as 'Uncle Ted'?

Pelerin said...

Spotted last week in Lourdes - a Priest wearing a cassock riding a bicycle. Never thought I would see that again!

Elisabeth F. said...

Hello - There are many photos of St.JP2 (and also Benedict-when-he-wasRatzinger in "street clothes"... I would note that in some skiing photos he's wearing a cassock, while not in others.
One almost always Sees Fr. Dziwisz not far off and one often sees St.JP2 praying the Hours while "out in nature".

Fr PJM said...

Are you serious? Has he really been seen in a white suit, like... like Colonel Sanders?