Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Entry for Most Lavish Cappa Magna Contest: Cardinal Franc Rodé

Wow. I thought I’d already seen the puddle of red silk to beat all other puddles.

Turns out I was wrong. Today, Thomas Fox at the National Catholic Reporter site has posted pictures of Cardinal Franc Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for the Religious, presiding at the ordination of deacons at the mother house of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Gricigliano, Italy, this past March.

Take a look at the skeins and skeins of silk the cardinal managed to trail around, as he participated in this ordination. Who knew the world contained so much of the stuff?

As Tom Fox notes in his commentary on the photos, it’s Cardinal Rodé whom Pope Benedict has charged with the investigation of American religious women. And when one looks at these photos, Fox notes, one can’t help but wonder about the disconnect between the worldview of the man organizing the investigation, and that of American nuns—a tragic disconnect that will likely do great harm to American women religious, if the investigation continues.

And I love Kevin Clarke’s headline for a posting at America's blog about this NCR photo album. Clarke entitles his piece, “The Sartorial Splendor of Truth.” Clarke notes, “I am encouraged to learn, from John Allen's interview in the same NCR issue, of how Vincentian ‘simplicity and humility is still part of his [i.e., Rodé’s] spirituality.’”

Indeed. Because the lavish display of scarlet silk and frilly lace might lead one to think otherwise, and to wonder whether scads of silk and yards of lace are all about decking increasingly empty authority figures out in finery designed to distract us from the emptiness at the heart of it all.