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Friday, April 12, 2013

Lace, Shoes, and Fannons...Oh My!?!

I got into a conversation about trappings and Sacred Tradition.  Here is one comment which was made and my response.

"So I do not say that some of these things can never be set aside, only that the process of doing so should not be capricious."

I think that this is the key.  If something is going to be set aside, why is it set aside?  Is it done out of true humility or is it done out of some sense of obligation to "the times in which one lives."  Looking at the abandonment of the triregnum we can clearly see what Paul's motivation was.  It wasn't done out of humility, but rather it was done to make a statement of the times.  And that, in my opinion, is wrong.

The trappings conveyed and still convey something very central to the Church, the ability to give glory to God in an outward way.  If God is who we think He is, then why wouldn't we want to offer Him our best foot forward, from an artistic point of view?  I know that this is a very subjective thing, but it is clear that the art from the 18th century is much more refined and beautiful than the art of the abstract art of the 1960s.  (Oh, I'm sure that some will argue with me on this, but point stands)

The sad part about the Church today is that those who are interpreting art are not keeping up with the times.  Here is my example...Those who insist that gold and lace and brocade, etc...should be replaced by polyester and poplin drapes are still living in the 1960s and 70s.  Yet even secular society has passed them by.  How many Polyester leisure suits and high waisted bell bottoms do you see on the streets?  None, for all intents and purposes, but we are still subjected to that in church.  On the street we have moved back to wool suits and a more classic line for women and that is considered tasteful....but not so for the purveyors of Catholic sensibilities in the parish.  They want to hang on to that 1970s kitsch for as long as they can.  And it just doesn't follow.

Yet, we see Benedict move back to a more classic style (albeit updated) and what do we get, we get comments like, " Lace, shoes, fannons are not in the least essential and should be basically invisible. The Faith, the Tradition, is what we should be attuned to, not how high he may elevate the species at the consecration or where he sits in the chapel praying before mass."

Poppycock.  The trappings elevate our minds and bring a sense of the sacred in a classical sense.  The fact, is that the polyester brigade doesn't want to let go of a style that went out 20 years ago.  Timeless classics never go out of style, like a worsted wool 3 button in a business setting, the Roman cut will always fit in a Catholic setting.

The argument about trappings is so stupid.  They serve a purpose.  To deny that is to be dense.  Not everything has to be immediately tied to salvation...but sometimes those things which lead one to embrace those things which are immediately tied to salvation make a difference.  More banging against one tree, while missing the whole forest.

The 1970s schtick is passe.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Whoops, I don't know how I ended up deleting that...not as eloquent, but essentially I said that I completely agree. I converted this past Easter, I had previously been an involved, fairly content...or so I thought, Protestant. I had a really profound experience...actually, it happened at St. Anthony's, anyway after that, when I finally gave in to God and told Him that I would be Catholic, if He really wanted me to ((you can find the whole long story on my blog)) I really started realizing the need and the importance of those trappings.I found myself running to them on numerous occasions,especially on weeks that my RCIA class was particularly....interesting. Who am I kidding? I still run to the beauty of churches like St. Anthony's, that's why you'll find me making the two hour journey nearly every Saturday. Marveling at and appreciating that surface beauty really does help to draw us deeper. It certainly has a purpose.