Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kicking It Old School: Cardinal Burke, The Galero Wars, and the Revival of Real Catholicism

In response to my posting about Cardinal Burke and Fr. Andrew Hamilton yesterday, Kathy Hughes made the following scintillating comment:

I think Bully Burke undercuts his argument with his photos in clerical bling.

And I agree.  And so it's incumbent on me, I think--at the risk of overdoing the Burke theme--to inform readers about yet another recent bit of sartorial splendor His Eminence has staged for the good of the church.  Or perhaps to illustrate in vivid stage-dress, as it were, the authentic Catholicism that His Eminence recently informed Australian students he and his peers own.  Which is waning in the Western world.  Perhaps to wow us as many of us, nasty cynics that we've become, begin to wonder whether the sartorial splendor might be hiding something less savory and less resplendent underneath all the scads of scarlet silk and lacy frou-frou and dramatic hats a diva might die for.

His Eminence put on this galero show a few weeks before he flew off to Australia to revive waning real honest-to-God Catholicism in the West.  And this photo is now making the rounds of right-wing Catholic websites where people are thrilled--thrilled, I tell you!--to see Cardinal Burke giving it to the liberals by donning the galero, a bit of cardinalistic finery that has, for some strange reason, been in abeyance in the post-Vatican II period.

Until His Eminence chose to revive it.

One of the websites pushing this picture is the inimitable Fr. Zuhlsdorf's, which opines that the "liberal loons" will laugh when they see the photo, but, as we all know, Risus abundant in ore stultorum.* 

Unfortunately, the zing loses just a tad of its zinginess in Fr. Z.'s Latinate take-down of liberal loons, since his Latin is (tsk, tsk) incorrectRisus is a singular subject, whereas abundant is a plural verb.

And I think I might be inclined to go instead with Horace, re: His Eminence's galero modeling, and ask,  Risum teneatis, amici?  Or perhaps with the venerable Latin proverb, In vestimentis non stat sapientia mentis.

But as Fr. Z. does wisely observe, "Cardinal Burke does not go about in public in his galero, which would be odd."

Indeed.  Odd.  And we surely would not want that.

Note that you're instructed to click on the picture Fr. Z. kindly provides, if you wish to make it larger.  Go ahead.  I dare you.

As I say, this picture is now making the rounds of the websites of the Catholic right, and they're loving them some Burke.  And some good old authentic Catholic ecclesiastical bling and drag.  Comments on these sites in response to the picture range from "Make this man Pope, now!!!" to "He not only wears it, he drives it," and "Cardinal Burke is freaking awesome," to "He's kicking it old-school."

Unfortunately, however, if I were giving points to the biggest and best galero-revival among the stunning crop of cardinals (and papal electors) who now constitute the princes of the Catholic church, I'd give my vote to His Eminence Cardinal Ranjith of Sri Lanka, who kicked it old-school in far grander style than Burke did with this galeronic display last fall, which leaves Burke in the dust:

And all of this pomp and circumstance to remind us of what old-fashioned, honest-to-God Catholicism is really about, please remember, as millions of Catholics exit the church in Europe and North America.  Because they're beyond fed up with all of this.  And as news of one Philadelphia after another breaks.  As a priest supporting women's ordination is slapped down immediately, while bishops who have shielded pedophile priests are never called on the carpet.  As Elizabeth Johnson's theology is condemned with no chance for her to discuss her work with those condemning it, and as American nuns are subjected to a demeaning investigation, while bishops who have shielded . . . ditto.  And as a nun in Phoenix is excommunicated for supporting the decision of an ethics committee to save the life of a mother who could not bear her fetus to term by aborting the fetus, and the hospital that saved her life has the title Catholic yanked from it.

As Fr. Z. might say, Et lacrimatus est Jesus.

* Strange.  It appears Fr. Z. has taken this posting down.  But google the terms "Zuhlsdorf" and "risus abundant," and you'll still receive a hit or two pointing to the original, but now lost, posting.

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