The emperor’s new clothes

This is a picture of Cardinal Raymond Burke (via).

I’m sure that Burke could explain why he is dressed this way. I am not sure that I would understand that explanation.

Yes, I’m a Protestant from a very low-church Baptist tradition. And, yes, I’m sure that explains a measure of my befuddlement over this photograph. But not all of it, because, well, just look at it.

I can only guess that this is a ceremonial costume. It surely does not seem to be anything one might wear for practical reasons.

I mean, lots of professions involve particular or even peculiar and odd-looking outfits. Welders, for instance, wear visors, protective aprons and thick gloves. Surgeons wear masks, latex gloves and scrubs. Those are like costumes, but they serve practical purposes for the tasks that such workers have to do.

What sort of task might require this? What work could one be faced with that would cause one to stop and say, “No. No, I couldn’t possibly do that unless I were wearing a red satin train at least 20 feet long and some kind of antimacassar as a frock”?

So this must be ceremonial, which is to say that this outfit must be meant to be symbolic and meaningful.

I remain just as baffled by it. If this get-up is meaningful, what then is it meant to mean? What does such pageantry symbolize, signify or teach? I think it teaches several things, but I doubt those things are what Burke intends.

I have the unsettling suspicion that Burke’s explanation for this costume would have  something to do with ecclesiology, and thus, fundamentally, with Jesus.

This, even more than the sheer spectacle of the thing, is what confounds me the most. What I’m looking at here is a photograph of a man who, at some basic level, has accepted this calculus: Jesus, therefore 30-feet of flowing red satin and lace.

I imagine there must be many steps involved in that “therefore.” I do not know what all those steps might be, but I am certain of this much: many of them were bad steps — steps in a wrong direction. Or, at best, steps in a very odd direction.

 Update: To clarify, the point here is not to say “Ha-ha-ha — look at that outfit,” but rather one step back from that, which is to wonder how such a thing can be worn without the expectation that it will and must, inevitably, cause others to goggle at it — to marvel at it with questions and reactions that have nothing to do with solemnity or reverence or with the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

I’m not confused by the idea of elaborately impractical ceremonial garb per se, or even by the idea that such garb may require additional explanation. A bishop friend once complained that awestruck witnesses of Pentecost settled on a metaphor of “tongues of fire” and that 2,000 years later that meant he had to wear a funny hat. I get that. The liturgical vestments Burke is pictured in on his Wikipedia page might go against the grain of my low-church iconoclasm, but such lovely symbols don’t bewilder me. The extravagant explosion of red satin and lace in that photo above does.

It seems to be the costume for a role in a story I do not know, yet it is being worn in the telling of a story I do know — and I cannot imagine how it belongs in that story. I suspect that including it in that story changes the story in a way that this story ought not to be changed. This is a costume for a story about money and power. That’s not the story he’s supposed to be telling.

 

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  • Beleester

    As a Jew, I’m used to my personal Weird Religious Shit deriving from two verses in the Torah followed by 2,000 years of oral tradition expanding on it. So my initial guess for that getup would be “Tradition, therefore 20 feet of red satin.”

    After looking on Wikipedia, I found that a cardinal’s usual outfit kinda-sorta-maybe resembles that. So my next guess would be “Incompetent tailor, therefore 20 feet of red satin.”

  • Hilary

    Word.  2 verses of Torah + 2 thousand years of commentary = some very weird stuff, sometimes.  Case point: tefillin, aka phylactories.  I wouldn’t laugh or point at someone using them with real meaning, but I still think they’re weird.

    But for this picture, all I could think of was “You wear that in church, and have the nerve to denigrate real drag queens on stage?” Maybe the church is just jelious of drag queens getting better tailoring? 

    Hilary

  • PurpleAardvaark

    I think it is intended to convey the message that the wearer is too important to even consider doing anything that would cause his garb to become soiled and that this garb costs more than you peasants earn in a month.  Kind of like a CEO in his $5000 suit.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

     Yep; this outfit says just what Ricardian politics would say: “I have conspicuous wealth & therefore unlimited power.  Accept my authority, because as you can see by my high status display, I am far, far above you.”

  • http://twitter.com/mikailborg Michael O’Brien

    On top of everything else, I would wear a 20-foot red satin train a *hell* of a lot better than he’s doing.

  • nerdycellist

    I’m a high-church Anglo-Catholic – where the extreme ceremony and dress-up of the Catholic Church gets an added boost from an affirmed, proud and deeply religious gay clergy, and even I haven’t seen anything quite that flamboyant. One Easter our associate priest did have to wear a similar lacy apron thingy as part of his vestments, but I believe that is because he lost a bet with the rector.

  • The_L1985

    “What sort of task might require this? What work could one be faced with that would cause one to stop and say, “No. No, I couldn’t possibly do that unless I were wearing a red satin train at least 20 feet long and some kind of antimacassar as a frock”?So this must be ceremonial, which is to say that this outfit must be meant to be symbolic and meaningful.”

    I can explain the vestments of an ordinary priest in the Catholic Church. The color is related to the liturgical season, and it’s just one outer robe over ordinary clothes (plus dog-collar).  Generally, traditional symbols of Jesus (especially the cross and/or
    Chi-Rho) and the Eucharist (often just a wheat-and-grapes motif) are
    appliqued on.  The deacon wears a white robe with a sash that matches the priest’s robes (again over ordinary clothes) so you can tell priest and deacon apart.  After Mass, the robes are taken off, and the hard part of the priest’s job begins:  shepherding the flock, feeding the Lambs and Sheep, performing the works of mercy detailed in the story of Matthew 25:35-36, hearing confessions.  During that main part of the job, the part that goes from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night, the only article of clothing that sets the priest apart from any other man in a suit is the clerical collar.

    This emphasizes that Mass is special, just as wearing your Sunday best does.  Everyone is wearing something different, as a reminder of the transformative nature of Jesus’s sacrifice and as a way of showing respect in such a formal church setting.  It also gets you into a more worshipful mindset, simply because “these are my church clothes.”

    I can handle a cardinal dressing like that during Mass, as in this picture*.  However, I would be deeply disturbed if he were wearing it on the street.  There’s no good reason to do that–it’s just plain showing off, and as you said, it makes it harder to do the “dirty work” of actually tending to the laity in the world.

    There are plenty of good reasons to wear fancy ceremonial garb during a Mass or jubilee celebration, or other official Church functions that are of a ceremonial nature, like electing the next pope.  There are no good reasons at all to wear something that looks like royal robes day-to-day.  Even real kings and queens don’t do that.  It’s a case of situational context.

    Priestly robes are kind of a universal thing–only Protestant Christianity appears to have done away with them altogether.  It’s part of getting into the ritual mindset.

    * I’m assuming that the reason that the cardinal is dressed in more layers of robes than an ordinary priest or bishop is simply for reasons of rank. I don’t like how far the decorative trend has gone, but I’m pretty sure there are interesting tradition-related reasons for it.

  • Becca Stareyes

    I’m going to agree with Beleester: tradition — especially since 1000 years ago the Church was as much a secular power in Europe as the actual secular powers — therefore lace and red satin.   (Though this particular implementation is a bit unfortunate.) 

    But I was raised by a pair of lapsed Catholics.  While I was baptized and still haven’t gotten around to asking to have my name removed from the rolls, I come from the tradition that sees the church as a thing your parents or grandparents did on Sundays and mostly the equivalent of any other society that takes itself far more serious than outsiders do.

  • Abra

    On the contrary, I think this conveys exactly what he intends — to some people, the “good/real Catholics” because he shares Ratzinger’s desire for a “smaller, more faithful church.” It has only a very loose connection to the Gospel: Jesus founded the church with Peter at the head, therefore those who are successors of Peter have authority given directly from God and everyone else better get in line.

    Burke’s priority: he is deeply committed to the top-down, unquestioned authority of the magistrate model of the Church hierarchy that existed pre-VII and has consistently tried to claw back VII changes. The pomp and circumstances is just part of reestablishing and communicating the priesthood’s, in particular the bishops’, and even more in particular the cardinals’ (the so-called Princes of the Church) status (and privilege) in the Church. He seems to have missed the “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” part.

    For the record, I am a lapsed Catholic (2nd largest denomination in the US — lapsed Catholic) who lives in Burke’s former archdiocese.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    “Princes of the Church”? Hmm. Somewhere, another ‘s’ must’ve gotten in because that looks more “Princess of the Church”. 

  • caryjamesbond

    The best part?  The “feck off” look he’s throwing the camera.  

    “Oh, and YOU never got dressed in the dark? Yeah, yeah, the peace of the fuckin’ lord be with you to0, punk.” 

    He’s an American Cardinal, too. If he was from, say, Spain, I’d say it might be more of a traditional thing- the Spanish have a tradition of….unusual…dress in some religious contexts. The word “capirote” comes to mind.  

    Or maybe this is just an ill-timed gust of wind. That blew aside his fabulous robes. To reveal his even more fabulous under-robe robes.
    Or it might be a hold over from the Middle Ages/Renaissance when “Cardinal” meant roughly the same thing as “robber baron.” 

  • Tricksterson

    “If you think “Cardinal” doesn’t still equate to “robber baron”, I reccomend you read Render Unto Rome by Jason Berry.

  • RavenOnTheHill

    It is called a “cappa magna,” which means great cape (or cope—same word.) It is a show of wealth from who knows how long ago.

    Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cope#Cappa_magna.

    The cappa magna is not strictly a liturgical vestment, but only a glorified cappa choralis,
    or choir cope. That is to say, it is not used when vested as a
    celebrant at a liturgical service. It is worn in processions or “in choir”
    (i.e., attending but not celebrating services). Its colour for
    cardinals is ordinarily red and for bishops violet. Cardinals and papal nuncios are entitled to wear a cappa magna of watered silk.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    Okay that’s his choir dress (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choir_dress#Roman_Catholic_choir_dress) though that ferraiolo (cloak) is really unfortunate…

    From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_%28Catholicism%29#Vesture_and_privileges

    “When in choir dress, a Latin-rite cardinal wears scarlet garments — the blood-like red symbolizes a cardinal’s willingness to die for his faith.  Excluding the rochet — which is always white — the scarlet garments include the cassock, mozzetta, and biretta (over the usual scarlet zucchetto).”

  • Magic_Cracker

    Obviously, he’s about to fly around the Earth to reverse its rotation to before Vatican II.

  • LL

    Ok, this one probably wins the thread. 

  • Enoch Root

    Your own

    ..portable

    ..cathedral.

    Someone to hear your prayers, someone who’s there.

  • nomen nescio

    As others have pointed out, honest-to-goodness liturgical vestments (even including the much-maligned maniple and pre-Vatican II pontificalia, like buskins and gauntlets) generally continue ancient Roman “Sunday best” qua clothing for the Eucharist. Moreover, their general splendor and hierarchical nuances really do stem from the traditional notions, common to Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, (a) that the Eucharist, amongst other things, represents the perfection of the rites of the Temple of Jerusalem, and (b) that the bishop is actually the ordinary celebrant of the Eucharist in his diocese and a symbol of the sacramental unity of the diocese = local church, with his priests celebrating the Eucharist as his deputies, in his absence.

    That said, stuff like the cappa magna (seen in the photo) continue mediaeval and Renaissance-era ceremonial clothing of an essentially secular nature, which had far, far more to do with temporal power than with anything else — whatever one might think within a Catholic context about the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms, Paul VI probably had the right idea when he systematically did away, in a separate reform, with purely ceremonial confections like the cappa magna.As for Cardinal Burke, to be absolutely fair, he’s only decked out with cappa magna and galero when solemnly celebrating Mass for a certain (canonically licit) traditionalist group which either does everything consistently according to the pre-Vatican II books, or has an interesting tendency to Baroque affectation, depending on your perspective…

  • Christopher Mauney

    He’s wearing an oversized red garbage bag over a repurposed table cloth, symbolizing poverty and thrift.  What’s not to get?

    Anything else that explains this getup would just be silly (er…more silly).

  • Matt Herrera

    As a former Catholic turned Agnostic, is it OK for me to make the obvious Avengers reference?

    “Doth Mother know thou weareth her drapes?”

  • AnonymousSam

    Yes, yes it is.

    Personally, flamboyant displays like this just sadden me. They remind me that what the church worships is its own history, not Christ. They have nothing to do with Christ, only what authority and spiritual presence Christ has supposedly bestowed upon them.

  • connorboone

    You know, Fred, I expected better of you.

    If you want to talk about the things that the Catholic leadership is teaching that are destructive and horrible, great.

    But pointing at Catholics and saying “Look at how *weird* they are!” isn’t terribly helpful.  It is othering, and it isn’t very nice.

    I’ve read up on, for instance, the secret Mormon rituals that go on in the temple.  I think they’re weird, sure, but that’s the thing about rituals – they look weird to the people on the outside.  My family has rituals that would look weird to people on the outside – that’s because I’m an atheist and my wife is an eclectic pagan.

    This is on the level of making fun of Mormon magic underwear, or mocking Native American rituals. 

  • nomen nescio

    If this were Cardinal Burke in a chasuble or cope, even with the biggest, shiniest, pointiest mitre ever on his head, I would agree with you 100%, for those are honest-to-goodness *liturgical* vestments whose splendor actually would make sense from the theological framework where the received liturgical tradition is Tradition with a capital T, e.g., Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

    Something like the cappa magna, however, is arguably fair game, but I would agree that there’s a definite danger of coming across and saying nothing more substantial than “teehee, Romish superstition.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Herrera/100000106872183 Matt Herrera

     I think it’s less a case of “othering” Catholics so much as it pointing out a symptom of that destructive Catholic leadership.  The same leadership that claims to speak with Christ’s voice, that claims to represent  the most vulnerable in society, is here seen wrapping themselves in gaudy robes that reek of opulence and power.  The clothes are a hint to where the Church’s real priorities lie.

    They also happen–to paraphrase myself quoting Tony Stark–to look like Grandma’s drapes.  And that’s kinda funny.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Mormon magic underwear isn’t twenty yards of cloth that costs ten dollars a yard, though. This isn’t “ha ha, look at those Others, don’t they look stupid”, this is “these people say they want to help the poor, but then they spend two hundred dollars on fancy clothes”. With a side of “don’t they look stupid”, yes, but the point is the wasteful spending and the hypocrisy.
    And I suspect ten-dollars-a-yard red satin is the cheap shit, which I can just about guarantee you is not what that cloak is made of.

  • connorboone

    But the hypocrisy of finances is nowhere in Fred’s post.  Fred’s post is entirely about “What would possess someone to wear that on purpose?”

    It’s pointing at the cardinal and laughing at him because he’s dressed funny.  There is nothing that Fred wrote that had to do with the cost of the outfit.

    If we wanted to talk about what the cardinal is teaching to his congregation or the agenda he is using his office to advance, that is fair game, especially if he is doing it in the name of his particular religious denomination.

    Likewise, I don’t criticize the Mormon church for magic underwear, for the outfits they wear within their Temple services.  These are their rituals, and that is their business.  Someone’s religious rituals only become subject to mockery when they cause harm to others – see also polygamy (as practiced by the Mormon church in times past) and baptism for the dead.  Those are valid points of mockery and derision, because they are wrong.

    And when the Mormon church throws its financial might behind Proposition 8, well, that’s a valid target for criticism, as well.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What I’m looking at here is a photograph of a man who, at some basic level, has accepted this calculus: Jesus, *therefore*30-feet of flowing red satin and lace.

    I imagine there must be many steps involved in that “therefore.” I do not know what all those steps might be, but I am certain of this much: many of them were bad steps — steps in a *wrong* direction. Or, at best, steps in a very odd direction.

    You really think Jesus would have approved of spending two hundred plus dollars on looking fancy?

  • connorboone

    No, I don’t.

    But that wasn’t what Fred said.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So what was Fred saying in that bit if it wasn’t “Jesus wouldn’t have approved of the expensive cloak”?

  • The_L1985

     Connor’s point appears to be “This part only appears at the very end, after a lot of mockery of the cardinal’s fashion sense, and thus looks like an aside rather than the main point.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    I think the post is more coherent if one reads it as a buildup to the main point, rather than the main point then an aside, but I can see how one might get the latter impression.

  • AnonymousSam

    If you invoke the name of Jesus followed shortly by an explanation of why that means you need to wear a ludicrously expensive costume which is purposefully unlike what anyone else would ever dream of wearing, then yes, it’s pointing out a theological oxymoron about humility and pride, charity and greed, not just making fun of the outfit.

    Fred has just updated the post-

    Update: To clarify, the point here is not to say “Ha-ha-ha — look at that outfit,” but rather one step back from that, which is to wonder how such a thing can be worn without the expectation that it will and must, inevitably, cause others to goggle at it — to marvel at it with questions and reactions that have nothing to do with solemnity or reverence or with the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

    I’m not confused by the idea of elaborately impractical ceremonial garb per se, or even by the idea that such garb may require additional explanation. A bishop friend once complained that awestruck witnesses of Pentecost settled on a metaphor of “tongues of fire” and that 2,000 years later that meant he had to wear a funny hat. I get that. The liturgical vestments Burke is pictured in on his Wikipedia page might go against the grain of my low-church iconoclasm, but such lovely symbols don’t bewilder me. The extravagant explosion of red satin and lace in that photo above does.

    It seems to be the costume for a role in a story I do not know, yet it is being worn in the telling of a story I do know — and I cannot imagine how it belongs in that story. I suspect that including it in that story changes the story in a way that this story ought not to be changed. This is a costume for a story about money and power. That’s not the story he’s supposed to be telling.

  • Abra

    You have vastly underestimated the amount of money spent on Cardinal Ray’s vestments. Even at my local Catholic supply store, the cheapest chasuble  costs $300+ and they aren’t Prada (Ratzinger’s preferred designer apparently) — why, they cost that much, I have no idea. Their construction is along the lines of a table cloth with a collar and most parish priests’ chasubles are made of similar material.

    Someone put together an estimate of what a different set of Burke’s vestments cost — $30,000. That was without the capa magna.

    http://www.richardsipe.com/Burke_Gallery/Looking%20sharp%20for%20Jesus%20-%202003.pdf

  • EllieMurasaki

    I figured I was, but my only point of reference for how much all that costs is the price of red satin at Jo-Ann’s. Thirty thousand, Jesus fuck, that is more than I make in a year, what is keeping them from doing the ceremony in an outfit only marginally more special than everyday wear and using the rest of the money to provide a paycheck to someone on the long-term-unemployed list?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    According to the Gospel of John, Jesus wore a seamless gown on the eve of his crucifixion.

    So extravagant garb isn’t right out.

    Are you really saying that fancy dress is inherently against any legitimate interpretation of christianity?

    The basic idea behind the catholic ceremonial garb is “We’re going to go stand before God, so we want to look the best we can,” and to communicate to the parisioners “This is a big deal. It’s about greatness and majesty.”  It’s about looking otherworldly because the thing you’re doing is otherworldly.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Of course I’m not saying fancy dress for important occasions is contrary to Christianity. I’m saying extravagant spending on that fancy dress is contrary to Christianity. Or at least to the teachings of Christ.

  • Carstonio

    Religious organizations shouldn’t have their clergy members in extravagant clothes or lifestyles because that’s money that doesn’t help feed or clothe the needy. It gives the impression that the parishioners’ donations primarily support a pampered ecclesiastical aristocracy. That’s what I perceive when I see outfits like this one, as if the cardinal imagines himself feared and respected by the rabble.

  • Carstonio

    Religious organizations shouldn’t have their clergy members in extravagant clothes or lifestyles because that’s money that doesn’t help feed or clothe the needy. It gives the impression that the parishioners’ donations primarily support a pampered ecclesiastical aristocracy. That’s what I perceive when I see outfits like this one, as if the cardinal imagines himself feared and respected by the rabble.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    It gives the impression that the parishioners’ donations primarily support a pampered ecclesiastical aristocracy.

    Mal:  Don’t want to give people the wrong impression.

    Wash:  Or the right one.

    –Firefly, Bushwhacked

  • mirele

    Seeing Burke in this getup (I can’t dignify it with the moniker “robes”) reminds me that I pay more taxes so that his organization can purchase items like this with tax-free monies. 

  • mirele

    Seeing Burke in this getup (I can’t dignify it with the moniker “robes”) reminds me that I pay more taxes so that his organization can purchase items like this with tax-free monies. 

  • nomen nescio

    It’s also worth saying that good vestments and liturgical items in a Roman Catholic context will see *centuries* of use, just like a Sefer Torah and its case in a synagogue. Moreover, “modest” looking modern-style vestments need not be one whit cheaper than traditional-style vestments; to play devil’s advocate, even cheaper would be just dusting off the better quality pre-Vatican II stuff (as opposed to the kitch, which is legion), insofar as it didn’t get sold off/thrown out/burnt in the 60s and 70s.

    Also, those of us with Catholic peasant and working class family background, especially in relation to Southern or Central Europe, might recall that public liturgy (Mass, Vespers) and paraliturgy (processions, devotions), in addition to providing spiritual nourishment, also offered some of the only aesthetic/sensory nourishment/relief available in the midst of grinding poverty, especially before the time of mass communications and mass production. Hence, the extraordinary efforts of absolutely impoverished people to furnish their church as nobly and beautifully as possible. Of course, this is all an argument, perhaps, in favour of careful and conservative investment in vestments and liturgical paraphernalia, as opposed to, I don’t know, going on a spending spree at Slabbinck’s with every change of incumbent…

  • Hilary

    That’s a good point.  Our sefer Torah’s at my temple have some very fancy torah covers with complicated needlepoint decoration, and they do last a very long time.  And yes to the need for beauty and color even in the midst of poverty. 

    So some beauty in religious decoration is not a bad thing; what gets me is the hypocrasy of the CC blasting openly out, honest, non-pedophile famboyant gay men, yet wear this without any irony.  Flamboyant and weird religious stuff isn’t a problem  – it’s the Catholic Church thinking they have the right to insist everybody, Catholic or not, play by their rules in the public sandbox when their own moral standing is in the gutter.

    Hilary  

  • Carstonio

    No disagreement about the need for beauty. That’s not the same as expensive extravagance, and one can have the former without the latter.

  • Hilary

    Agreed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     I think if they were going for beauty with that particular outfit, they missed.

  • Hilary

    Like, epic fail.  Could be sent to Christian Piatt for a photo list of Religious costumes, epic fail. 

    Although to be fair religious costumes Epic Fail isn’t limited to tacky Catholic Velvet.  I will never fully recover from seeing my rabbi dressed as Barney for a Purim Spiel, but at least that was a deliberate attempt at humor.  Still an epic fail, only slightly relieved by the year 2 rabbis, 2 cantors did the Fab Four Beatles for Purim dress up.  An entire Jewish service scaned to the Beatles – Hey Jew/Hey Jude!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    in addition to providing spiritual nourishment, also offered some of
    the only aesthetic/sensory nourishment/relief available in the midst of
    grinding poverty, especially before the time of mass communications and
    mass production. Hence, the extraordinary efforts of absolutely
    impoverished people to furnish their church as nobly and beautifully as
    possible. Of course, this is all an argument, perhaps, in favour of
    careful and conservative investment in vestments and liturgical
    paraphernalia, as opposed to, I don’t

    I really like the way you put this. One thing that the Catholic church has which is sort of special about them is that when *they* give you the talk about how Church is Totally Rad and Way Cooler Than Those Secular Spectacles, they actually make a good-faith effort to *live up to the promise*.

    Sort of a medieval-religious adaptation of one of those big flashy Vegas shows (A thought which is going to keep me chuckling for a while)

  • Carstonio

    Now I imagine priests and nuns staging a Cirque du Soleil production…

  • nomen nescio

    Putting aside the sacramental aspects, liturgy in Roman Catholicism (and Anglo-Catholicism), Eastern Orthodoxy, and Oriental Orthodoxy *is* interactive sacred theatre, albeit with the weight of at least fifteen centuries of Tradition (capital T!) behind it. But this would lead one down the rabbit hole (in the context of this discussion) of the what’s and why’s of liturgy in liturgical Christianity.

    But as people have been correctly pointing out, it’s one thing when a parish community furnishes its church with the various odds and ends needed for what it finds to be beautiful and meaningful liturgy, and it’s another thing for the faithful’s money to be blown on a Cardinal’s (non-liturgical!) ceremonial wardrobe, or a Patriarch’s Rolex collection, or even a Pastor’s luxury yacht, for that matter. 

    Well, to be obnoxiously fair to His Eminence, the cappa magna that launched a thousand comments was probably a loaner from the traditionalist group he was visiting, and in turn probably specifically donated by the traditionalist group’s (wealthy and fantastically, monarchistically, legitimistically right-wing) benefactors. But then, that said:
    (1) welcome to the strange, strange world that the French call “Tradiland;”
    (2) that doesn’t let Sua Eminenza off the hook for being quite the big spender back in St. Louis (and La Crosse?).

  • nomen nescio

    But now that I’ve read what I’ve just written, the wealthy monarchists who probably donated the cappa magna &c. to the traditionalist group in question most certainly *do* believe that all the princely trappings vestigially mentioned in the pre-Vatican II Ceremonial of Bishops make for beautiful and meaningful liturgy for their little pure, orthodox community. But then, that’s really a statement about *their* particular, all-encompassing mix of theological and political and social reactionism, in comparison to my poor peasant forebears who were happy enough to scrape up money for a nice Mass set and chalice for their own parish, but were none too happy about all the land they had to farm at the threat of hellfire for the local Franciscan (!) monastery…

  • nomen nescio

    But now that I’ve read what I’ve just written, the wealthy monarchists who probably donated the cappa magna &c. to the traditionalist group in question most certainly *do* believe that all the princely trappings vestigially mentioned in the pre-Vatican II Ceremonial of Bishops make for beautiful and meaningful liturgy for their little pure, orthodox community. But then, that’s really a statement about *their* particular, all-encompassing mix of theological and political and social reactionism, in comparison to my poor peasant forebears who were happy enough to scrape up money for a nice Mass set and chalice for their own parish, but were none too happy about all the land they had to farm at the threat of hellfire for the local Franciscan (!) monastery…

  • P J Evans

     Or the altar cloth that my maternal grandmother made for her (Methodist?) church (embroidered, if I remember my mother’s story correctly). Or the frame my father built (in the back yard) for the stained-glass cross behind the altar in the church we went to.

  • P J Evans

     That explains the sisters in plain dress in the pews. They apparently get to play the poor peasants.

  • AnonymousSam

    I would say so, yes. If you have enough money to buy yourself expensive clothing, then you had enough money to be doing good and instead chose to purchase clothing to make yourself look more important.

    Didn’t Jesus say something to the effect of “Give away all you have to the poor, and then follow me”? I’m pretty sure that precludes ostentatious clothing, much less ostentatious clothing that costs tens of thousands of dollars for the purposes of communicating what a far more important man you are than everyone else.

  • EllieMurasaki

    It is worth clarifying that there is nothing wrong with paying extra to get quality. Is it Sam Vimes who put forth the Boots Problem, how a fifty-dollar pair of boots lasts rather longer than five consecutive ten-dollar pairs, but the fifty-dollar pair is out of many folks’ reach? And of course most cheap stuff nowadays is only cheap because the people who make it don’t get paid enough to live on; especially galling when, with no change of price and without making the company unprofitable (less profitable, certainly, but not unprofitable), all those people could be paid considerably more.

    But there is paying extra for quality and paying extra for not exploiting people, and then there is extravagance.

  • AnonymousSam

    Oh, absolutely. I think there’s an acceptable margin of price and quality ratio, with some things which are cheaper in quality and value and some which are more expensive and higher quality, but I have mental caps on both ends. There are things which are too low quality for human use (e.g., pink slime) regardless of how little you charge for them… and then something like this, well. Once you pass a certain margin on the high end, that item effectively becomes the domain of the rich, like luxury yachts and private jets.

    I have a hard time not seeing anyone selling the former to the poor as a bastard for exploiting people and anyone purchasing the latter as a bastard for not seeing a better use of their money.

  • mirele

    It’s not even $200+ to look that fancy. that getup probably costs between $10,000 and $20,000 dollars. 

    Remember, this man claims to represent a humble woodworker who died on a cross. I rather doubt in Jesus’ life the only time he saw something that awesomely gaudy was when he was hauled in front of Herod.

  • Ursula L

    Likewise, I don’t criticize the Mormon church for magic underwear, for the outfits they wear within their Temple services.  These are their rituals, and that is their business.  Someone’s religious rituals only become subject to mockery when they cause harm to others – see also polygamy (as practiced by the Mormon church in times past) and baptism for the dead.  Those are valid points of mockery and derision, because they are wrong.

    Given that the price of this outfit is being estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars, I’d say he’s hurting people, simply because there are so many good things that could be done with that amount of money.  

    Particularly since it’s likely that this is not his only outfit that’s this extravagant. 

    I can understand poor people working together to create a beautiful church for their shared use, or even to provide beautiful ceremonial outfits for use by their clergy.  (Probably in a way that the ceremonial outfits belong to the church, and remaining with the church even if the individual doing the job of ministering to the church changes.)  When it is their money, used to bring beauty into their lives, that’s good.

    But this is clergy paid by the donations of ordinary church-goers, at a salary that allows them to spend tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars on extravagant clothing for their own use.  

    It’s corruption.  In the same way that CEOs getting billion dollar bonuses while shutting down factories and laying off workers because the company “isn’t making enough” is corruption, or a small-church pastor skimming money from the collection plate is corruption.  Personal gain at the cost of the well-being of people you claim you’re both leading and serving.  

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I don’t get why everyone is treating it as “personal gain” for the cardinal. Those aren’t *his* clothes, that’s not *him* profiting from them. He doesn’t wear them about town on his day off. He doesn’t get to keep them when he retires. This bears little to no resemblance to a CEO taking home a billion dollar bonus. That ludicrous outfit is *ceremonial*. He wears it as part of his *job*. It’s his *uniform*. There’s no “personal” in this “personal” gain.  That “beautiful church for their shared use”? When he puts on those clothes *he is a part of that just as much as the big crucifix hanging on the wall*.   That’s the point of the dress-up: he’s making himself a part of that big beautiful *thing* that is the Church, just like the fancy marble baptismal font or the statues of the saints or the stained glass.

    I’m sure that he’s got an expensive armani suit he keeps in his closet for his days off, and you’re welcome to cite that as proof of corruption.

  • Ursula L

      I don’t get why everyone is treating it as “personal gain” for the cardinal. Those aren’t *his* clothes, that’s not *him* profiting from them. He doesn’t wear them about town on his day off. He doesn’t get to keep them when he retires. This bears little to no resemblance to a CEO taking home a billion dollar bonus. That ludicrous outfit is *ceremonial*. He wears it as part of his *job*. It’s his *uniform*. There’s no “personal” in this “personal” gain.  That “beautiful church for their shared use”? When he puts on those clothes *he is a part of that just as much as the big crucifix hanging on the wall*.   That’s the point of the dress-up: he’s making himself a part of that big beautiful *thing* that is the Church, just like the fancy marble baptismal font or the statues of the saints or the stained glass.

    He is making himself part of the big beautiful thing.   At the expense of the people in the pews. 

    That’s quite different from ordinary, even poor, churchgoers choosing to work hard to make their church beautiful.  

    It is different because different parties are making choices.  Poor churchgoers choosing to work together for their common good, versus one person deciding he should be dressed extravagantly at the expense of others to (supposedly) improve the quality of the worship experience.  The people who donated money to the church never got to vote whether or not this was the right way to spend the money they donated.  And by not taking that vote, the church leadership and anyone in that group using church money for clothes they will personally wear can’t truthfully claim that their extravagant outfit is how the people donating to the church plate wanted the money spent, when they’re also telling people to donate money because it will be used to pay the church’s electric bill and run a food bank.  

    It is different because the money is being spent on things to be used by just one person, rather than things for the common use of the people in the church, such as spending the same amount of money on robes for the entire church choir, their use passing from one choir member to the next as different people join and leave the choir.  

    As others have pointed out, the absurdly long cloak is not part of the ritual clothing for worship.  It is specifically a garment to indicate his personal status within the organization.  

    And it is a garment that is specifically and historically about the conspicuous consumption that someone who is socially, politically, economically, and, in his case, religiously, powerful can afford to indulge in. In the past, people of extraordinary wealth and power wore such garments.  Church leaders started wearing those outfits to show that their status was equal to or better than that of people who weren’t church leaders but chose to wear such things.  They started wearing such cloaks to show they were as rich and as powerful as anyone who could afford such a thing.  

    Uniforms that indicate high rank are not about the uniformity of an organization, they’re about establishing authority within the organization.  Countless privates wear identical uniforms, showing them to be equal and interchangeable.  A general’s uniform indicates rank and authority, power, privilege and status as a unique person of importance.  

    So even if this is his uniform for his job, it is still about explicitly asserting his personal status and power.  The people in the pews in that picture are nameless and interchangeable, but he isn’t.  He’s the person who gets to wear outfits that cost thousands of dollars, paid for by the money the people in the pews put in the offering plate.  No one else in that picture can expect the church to give them either garments that cost thousands of dollars or thousands of dollars to buy clothing so that they can be part of the beautiful thing, and enhance the experience of other churchgoers by having a pleasing appearance and wardrobe.  

    If the point is that the church is using the money in the offering plates to create a beautiful visual experience for the people attending the service, wouldn’t they be better served by dressing 60 people in outfits costing $500 each, rather than one person in an outfit costing $30,000?  If you put sixty people in the most lovely outfits one can get for $500, those are still extremely lovely outfits, and you could position these people so that no matter where one looked, one would see someone dressed so wonderfully.   Rather than having to focus your attention on one person to see what the money you put in the offering plate will buy you.  

    Concentrating that much money and attention on one person’s clothing isn’t about the welfare or pleasure of the ordinary people expected to pay for it.  

    It’s about knowing that you can get that much money from people who will watch you spend tens of thousands of dollars of money they donated to have a well-run church to benefit their community.   Instead spending it on one outfit for one person.  Knowing that a significant majority of those people won’t dare complain.  

    Yes, it is about the personal gain of the cardinal in question.  It’s about him gaining either the use of or the ownership of obscenely expensive clothing. It’s about him claiming that his wearing of obscenely expensive clothing is somehow for the benefit of others. It’s about him using these outfits as a way of demonstrating how powerful he is, compared to other people in that church at that time who can’t expect the church to pay for their clothing.  It’s about him using the wearing of such clothes as a sign that he has moral authority, that others should defer to him because he’s a cardinal, as they can see from his clothes. 

  • Tricksterson

    Yes, but if that was his intent Fred could have done a better job of conveying that message.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Fair enough.

  • P J Evans

     Only $10 a yard? I’d have bet that it was specially-dyed silk taffeta and more like $50. The ten-per-yard stuff is at your local fabric store.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which only emphasizes the point.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I happily will snort at the ridiculous attempts at overawing people that Roman Catholic priests and their superiors readily engage in. Besides, as Becca Stareyes has noted they were once the de facto and nearly de jure power in the absence of strong secular governments and they still hold a great deal of wealth and power today. I highly doubt mocking the powerful is going to suddenly cause a mass attack of the vapors.

    Personally? I was going to snark that Halloweeen has come yet, so dude’s a little early for that.

  • LL

    Fred may be above this, but I’m not. They’re not the only weird ones, BTW, but the elaborate dress of the upper-echelon Catholic hierarchy? Weird. Vaguely creepy (maybe I’ve seen too many “ultra religious people who belong to a cult/are in league with Satan” movies). 

    Now the stuff most priests and nuns wear, I got no problem with. But this flowing robe stuff … ick. But that’s just me. Maybe if he looked like our popular portrayal of Jesus, with relatively humble robes made of relatively humble cloth, rather than looking like he’s wearing the Vatican Fall 2012 haute couture line, it wouldn’t seem so … offputting. I understand they’ve been wearing this junk for a long time, but still. And I also think the Mormon underwear stuff is weird, too. 

  • walden

    great use of the word antimacassar…
     

  • caryjamesbond

    This is on the level of making fun of Mormon magic underwear, or mocking Native American rituals.

    A)  mormon magic underwear is pretty objectively silly. 

    B)  comparing the members of two small minority religions to a group that BY ITSELF qualifies as the second largest religion in the world is….not so much. Not to mention he’s making fun of Cardinals. It’s not like he’s making fun of what they wear in the slums of Rio.

    C) “But its my SPECHUL TRADITION ERMAHGERD” does not mean your special tradition isn’t dumber than a sack of nickles.
    C2) “but my spechul tradition of oldness” is not a magical weapon to silence everyone else in the world. If its that special and old, it’ll stick around beyond a few pointing, laughing people.

    D)  The entire point of Fred’s post is in that second to last paragraph:

    “What I’m looking at here is a photograph of a man who, at some basic level, has accepted this calculus: Jesus, therefore 30-feet of flowing red satin and lace.”In other words:

    “This man claims to be following the teachings of a guy that said ‘if someone asks for your cloak, give him your shirt too’ by wearing 20 feet of the most expensive cloth he could find….LOLWUT???” It’s conspicuous consumption from the last person who should be doing it. 

    E)  That outfit, objectively, looks really, really, REALLY stupid.

  • The_L1985

     A) Symbolically eating the flesh and blood of your god so that you’ll live forever after you die is also pretty objectively silly, but that’s no reason to make fun of Christianity.  All religious rituals look painfully silly to people on the outside.

    B) There’s still a difference between calling out corruption among cardinals, and making fun of the office itself.

    C) Thank you, Captain Obvious!  Isn’t this the same exact argument you made in A?

    D) Exactly.  The problem is in the level of elaboration, not in the fact that Catholic clergy wear robes.  A lot of priests and priestesses in a lot of religions wear robes.

    E) So do things like bowling shoes, oversized pants, or neon faux-fur.  I always thought the polite thing was not to mention it.

  • Ursula L

    A) Symbolically eating the flesh and blood of your god so that you’ll live forever after you die is also pretty objectively silly, but that’s no reason to make fun of Christianity.  All religious rituals look painfully silly to people on the outside.
    B) There’s still a difference between calling out corruption among cardinals, and making fun of the office itself.C) Thank you, Captain Obvious!  Isn’t this the same exact argument you made in A?D) Exactly.  The problem is in the level of elaboration, not in the fact that Catholic clergy wear robes.  A lot of priests and priestesses in a lot of religions wear robes.E) So do things like bowling shoes, oversized pants, or neon faux-fur.  I always thought the polite thing was not to mention it.

    If the “ridiculous on the outside” is only a matter of something looking ridiculous on the outside, then the polite thing to do is not to mention it.

    But when the “ridiculous on the outside” is an example of actual corruption of leadership within a socially and politically powerful organization, then the thing to do is draw attention to it, as both absurd and corrupt. 

    Leaders spending tens of thousands of dollars from the organization they lead on a single outfit for their own personal use and wear is corruption.  Likewise using their organization to raise money for their personal homes. (For example, a priest at the parish that the woman I work for as a personal aide has solicited money from his congregation for two condos already, and is trying to raise money for a third.  These are in his own name, as his personal property.  But he’s convinced people that the religious thing to do is buy him condos, rather than using his energy to raise money for the actual needs of his parish or for the needs of the community.)  

    If someone likes bowling and buys a pair of bowling shoes with their own money, it is a small expense, and it is their money, not money donated to the general fund of a church that they’re using for their own ridiculous-looking clothing.  If a priest took money from the general fund of their church to buy bowling shoes, it would be both a ridiculous garment and a case of corruption.  

  • The_L1985

     Then I would prefer it to be “hey, way to care for the poor with your expensive clothes, there, buddy!” rather than “Ha, ha, nice dress!”  Surely you see the difference?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Like most ceremonial things Catholic, it’s meant to remind those who gaze upon it of all the grandeur they can expect to see in heaven, as imagined by a fourth century  Roman.

  • cjmr

    That *is* ceremonial dress.  And HIGH ceremonial, at that.

    Normally Cardinal Burke, like most cardinals, wears either a red cassock and skullcap, or black clericals with red banding and a red skull cap.

    Fred, this is totally unlike you.  And beneath you.

  • Morilore

    Yeah, I can’t get behind this.  The cardinal may be a douchebag, but the crazy costume is awesome.  Crazy costumes, generally, are awesome.  And people other than douchebag cardinals like to wear crazy costumes.  “Haha look at the weirdo in his weird dress” makes me feel like I’m back in middle school.

  • Jim Roberts

    Crazy costumes paid for by parishioner funds are less awesome, though.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Yeah. Fred doesn’t treat Catholics any different than anyone else when he’s making a substantive complaint about the poltical stance of the church. But the catholic church seems to be the only one where he feels okay *also* occasionally taking these shallow digs at their trappings, and that makes me kind of uncomfortable.

  • thebewilderness

    It is fascinating to me to see the way the sumptuary laws have been embraced over the years. The red carpet parade at the Oscars, the pomp of a royal court presentation, and religious organizations select, all seem to be saying similar things about themselves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Because he’s fabulous in it.

    Alternatively, there’s the explanation that bloodstains don’t show up so prominently on red cloth.

  • LL

    He actually looks kinda uncomfortable in that picture. It’s possible he doesn’t like that shit, either, but his predecessors wore it, and if he didn’t, people would talk. You know, the other, catty cardinals. “Well, look at Burke, thinks he’s too cool to wear the sacred vestments!” (or whatever the hell they’re called). 

    Just to give the guy in the extremely elaborate dress the benefit of the doubt. 

    He’s wearing enough red fabric there to clothe 6 teenage girls at prom. 8 if a couple of them don’t mind looking slutty (and apparently, many of them don’t). 

  • EllieMurasaki

    He’s wearing enough red fabric there to clothe 6 teenage girls at prom. 8 if a couple of them don’t mind looking slutty (and apparently, many of them don’t).

    There are ways to phrase your critique of the cardinal’s outfit that do not involve shaming young women for dressing in a manner that displeases you by its connection to female sexuality.

  • LL

    You take these comments way too seriously. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Words have meanings and context and connotations and some of those hurt people. This isn’t even connotations and implications, this is denotations, this is literal meaning. You think that teenage girls who wear prom dresses that reveal much cleavage or much thigh are doing something wrong, compared to teenage girls who wear more modest prom dresses, and that the first group of girls ought to be ashamed of themselves. You said as much flat out. That is an offensive belief and kindly do not voice it again.

    I do not care whether you think I am overinvested in attempting to ensure that other people do not say hurtful things, as long as you do not say hurtful things.

  • LectorElise

     Bravo.

  • Carstonio

    As the father of daughters, I’m 100 percent against the shaming of female sexuality and also 100 percent against treating teenage girls as prey. Seeing Emma Watson on the cover of Glamour creeps me out. Not because of the former Hermione Granger herself but because the magazine seems to be catering to the assholes who lust after former child actresses, like they had been waiting for them to “blossom.” A fan at an NHL game once held up a banner reading “### Days Until Mary-Kate and Ashley Are Legal,” and I shudder to think of how this guy might have been watching Goblet of Fire or Order of the Phoenix. How would one communicate to one’s daughters that some men will wrongly view them as meat without teaching them that their own sexuality is the problem? They’re too young to remember how Britney Spears was more or less marketed as “jailbait” and how a huge percentage of her “fans” were older men who would only buy her albums if they came with nude photo spreads.

  • Abra

     I realize that your questions are rhetorical but hate to leave the impression that it is a hopeless endeavor. The way you teach your daughters to have a healthy attitude toward their sexuality:
     
    (1) Be positive a sexuality — not sexualization — but that people are sexual beings. The Madonna/Whore dichotomy is alive and well and often leaves girls with a sense of shame about their own sexuality if parents pretend sex and sexuality don’t exist

    (2) Don’t treat your daughters like their entire identity is defined by their gender. Enough with telling girls they are little “princesses” and “daddy’s little girls.” It is creepy and part of the same culture that produced Britney Spears et. al. If a daughter gravitates towards the girlie-girl, that’s  fine but encourage her to do and play with other things too. It is okay to be ultra-feminine but don’t limit them or allow them to limit themselves to “girl things.” It is surprising how many girls reject it themselves and who then are subjected to peer pressure to conform — even in preschool.

    (3) Be honest. Telling them that dressing certain ways can make them targets for harassment etc. does not have to be shaming as long as it is clear that you are telling them the problem is with the harasser but it is good to have tools to deal with that. But I hate to break it to you, harassers and rapists can be pretty nondiscriminatory when it comes to clothing…

    (4) Talk to them about the sexualized images they see in the media, how that is a package being sold, who it is meant to appeal to, what it communicates about the person(s) in the images, what it communicates about women, and what they think about it.

    All boils down to — your job isn’t to protect them from the world, it is to prepare them for it, so talk to them.

  • Carstonio

     Good advice all around. While we do most of that already, I appreciate the suggestions. I guess I’m lamenting the fact that the world is a hostile place, particularly for females but not exclusively so, and that children need to be prepared for that. Not that I expect it to be sunshine, lollipops and rainbows instead. I grew up believing that I shouldn’t get in other people’s business and they shouldn’t get in mine, and even excluding assholes like Charlie Fuqua, there seems to be too many people who see that noninterference policy as anathema.

  • The_L1985

     I would like to add to  #2:

    Don’t treat your sons like their entire self-worth is defined by how stereotypically “macho” they are, either.  It is okay to love sports, or to be ultra-masculine, but don’t limit boys to “boy things” if they’re genuinely interested in something our culture portrays as “girly.”

  • LL

    I’ll voice whatever I want. You are free to not like it. If Fred feels what I write is inappropriate, he’ll remove it. That’s his right. 

    I don’t care what you think. About anything. Again, you’re free to disagree. You’re not free to tell me how to express my thoughts. Whether you feel they are inappropriate is completely irrelevant to me. And again, I’d advise, just for your own peace of mind, to not become so invested in what other people say on a website comment thread that it distresses you terribly to read it. I’m a complete stranger. There’s no reason for you to care what I write or think, either. 

    And you might want to look up the word “joke.” You appear to be unfamiliar with the concept. 

    Self-appointed language police are annoying. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    Self-appointed language police are annoying. 

    Many things are annoying. For example, your comment annoyed me; I would prefer you expressed yourself with more kindness.

    Which is not to say you must care about my preferences. I assume you care about them enough to want to tell me how little you care about them, but not enough to want to satisfy them.

    But I could be wrong.

  • Lori

    If your goal was to make yourself look like a ass, congratulations on your success.

  • The_L1985

    “And you might want to look up the word “joke.” You appear to be unfamiliar with the concept.”

    And you might want to look up the word “offensive.”  You appear to be unfamiliar with the concept.

    There are jokes you can tell that aren’t offensive.  There are ways you could have told that joke without using the word “slutty” and thereby being offensive.  (“That has enough fabric for 6 prom dresses–8 if some of them are very revealing.”)

    When you tell a joke that is offensive, either by its nature or because of the specific wording used, you look like a jerk.  You look like a much bigger jerk when you go on and on about how “it’s just a joke, can’t anybody take a joke anymore?”

    The problem is not that it is a joke.  The problem is that you worded that joke in a manner that is extremely offensive to teenagers, people who like revealing clothing, and women in general.  Please stop wording your jokes that way.

  • Saffi

    “The problem is that you worded that joke in a manner that is extremely offensive to teenagers, people who like revealing clothing, and women in general.  Please stop wording your jokes that way.”

    No, he appropriated the language of people he obviously disagrees with in order to make them look small and petty.  Sorry, but this is one of the strongest techniques in a satirist’s toolbox.  People have been using it for hundreds, maybe thousands of years in defense of the powerless and oppressed.  

  • The_L1985

    Please explain how the word “slutty,” in the original joke, is in any way a defense of powerless and oppressed people.

    Please explain how the word “slutty” makes the joke in any way better or funnier than the alternative I mentioned.

    I know what satire is.  I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Swift, and have been reading the Onion for years.  Using the word “slutty” to describe a revealing dress, in a joke about something else entirely, is not satire.  It’s just offensive.

    Every single time I’ve ever heard something or
    someone described as “slutty,” it was meant as an insult.  Specifically,
    an insult towards women who dare to have sexuality,
    or to express it in any way.  This is what we call oppression
    of women
    , not a defense of them.

    My issue, as I explained in the very comment that you quoted, is NOT with the joke itself.  My issue is with the use of the word “slutty” within what would otherwise have been an acceptable joke.

    Here’s your homework.  Wikipedia isn’t perfect, but this particular entry therein is spot-on.  Also: this one.

    For further reference, here is the original, offensive version of the joke. To make it more clear what is bothering people, I have put the offensive part of the joke in bold:

    “He’s wearing enough red fabric there to clothe 6 teenage girls at prom. 8 if a couple of them don’t mind looking slutty (and apparently, many of them don’t).”

  • EllieMurasaki

    That. All of that. I am so fucking sick of “feminists can’t take a joke!” people when the problem is that either the joke relies on stepping on the stomped-on and is thus only funny if one agrees with stepping on the stomped-on (hello Mr. Tosh!), or the joke is told in a manner that involves stepping on the stomped-on and thus as above but there’s an actual non-hurtful point there and thus if the joke had been told differently it would be both unobjectionable and funny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Pardon my honest ignorance, but is this “Mr. Tosh” you referred to a commenter here, or is this a reference to that TV show I’ve heard of?  If the latter, obviously, I’ve never seen it, and have no idea how it “steps on the stomped-on.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    The guy on the TV show, actually. The problem, which you can Google the entire debacle yourself though mind the rapeyness and rape apologism, is that at a live event he made some wisecrack about rape, and someone in the audience criticized him, and his answer–and I think this is verbatim–is “wouldn’t it be funny if someone raped her?”

  • Saffi

    Well put, LL!  

    As a former-former Catholic (i.e., current Catholic) (it’s Complicated), I’ve been furious at the Management for its unforgivable cover-up and tolerance of massive child abuse, and have been furious for over a decade.  But that doesn’t mean that I reject Catholic theology or the embrace of ritual and elaborate ceremony that are part of my religious heritage.  So the constant sniping at Catholicism that I hear in popular culture and from my friends can be pretty disheartening.

    And you know what?  I’m AN ADULT.  I understand that there are mean people in the world and that just because someone appropriates the language of mean people for comedic effect, that doesn’t constitute an endorsement of meanies!  When I see someone trying to make a joke, I take it in the spirit it was offered whether or not I personally find it funny.  And what’s more, if I don’t think it was funny, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt that there was no malicious intent!  Crazy, I know!
    And PS: I thought you were funny, both times.

  • The_L1985

     …So you’re okay with LL calling teenage girls sluts, then?  Because that is the thing that people are all worked up about:  the fact that he called teenage girls sluts in his joke.

  • Saffi

    “…So you’re okay with LL calling teenage girls sluts, then?  Because that is the thing that people are all worked up about:  the fact that he called teenage girls sluts in his joke.”

    *sigh*  When you have to explain a joke, it usually takes way to long and kills the humor, but I’ll give it a shot.

    LL did not call teenage girls sluts – the persona he assumed did.  That persona had an approving tone when talking about hiding altar boys (implying that he had no problem with covering up child abuse).  That persona was stupid enough to miss the point of criticizing the ostentatious display – as though the problem was the amount of cloth and not hypocrisy.  That persona was morally blind and stupid – thus, people who call teenaged girls sluts are blind and stupid.

    Yes, this is subtle – the assumption is that we’re adults and to insist that humor not be subtle is to infantalize us all.  

    No, I am not okay with anyone calling teenage girls sluts.  But silencing and silent disapproval isn’t going to make it stop.  There are mean people in this world, some of whom have no problem with calling teenage girls sluts.  Hiding that fact isn’t going to change it, but holding such people up as objects of ridicule might vaccinate against the harm intended by the use of the word.  It might even make using the word so powerless that it stops altogether.

  • The_L1985

     Ok, let me make something clear.  This is the Internet.  There are no non-verbal cues here.  Therefore, it is generally assumed that someone is speaking in earnest and expressing one’s own opinions unless specifically stated otherwise.  This is where those annoying tags come from–because otherwise, it’s really hard to tell, through text alone, that someone is being sarcastic.

    LL never said anything to indicate that he was putting on an act.  In the absence of any cues to indicate that he didn’t mean to call teenage girls sluts, he was, essentially, implying “I agree with what I just typed.”

    That’s not subtlety, that’s laziness.  There are some things that need to be specifically spelled out in a text-based comment that are clear and obvious when you’re delivering the same….”joke”….in person.

    LL did not indicate that he was making fun of the kind of person who calls girls sluts.  Through the language that was used, and the failure to clearly indicate use of a persona, he implied that he, himself, thinks that teenage girls are sluts.

    By doing so, he didn’t in any way rob the word “slut” of its power.  Instead, he–apparently unintentionally–contributed to the hurtful dialogue that supports rape culture in the United States.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What indicates to you that it was LL-persona who meant ‘slutty’, not LL zirself? What indicates to you that LL-persona exists at all?

  • nomen nescio

    Bravo, Fred, for your clarification. While there’s actual theological content behind the liturgical vestments in the Wikipedia photo, theology with which one can agree or disagree depending on one’s take on the nature of the Eucharist and of the Church, there is no such theological content behind irredeemably princely finery like the Cappa Magna in the photo here, cutesy a posteriori allegorical justifications notwithstanding.

    At the end of Vatican II, Paul VI solemnly laid his triple tiara on the High Altar of S. Peter’s Basilica and donated its value to the poor, never to pick it up again. I’m just a lapsed, left-wing Catholic who probably has no place in the Roman Catholic Church of Cardinal Burke (let alone the Throne-and-Altar fantasies of the good folks who kit Burke up like this every once in a while), but I do still hope, perhaps against hope, that Montini’s beautiful gesture will someday truly reverberate…

  • gocart mozart

    Wow!  You can fit two, maybe three altar boys under that getup.

  • LL

    See, now, THAT’S more like it! From slutty prom goers to an altar boy joke. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    That joke strikes me as inappropriate as well. I can’t articulate why, though, and it’s different from your prom-goers remark in that prom-goers wearing revealing gowns are not doing anything wrong, while we all know what many Catholic hierarchs are doing with far too many children and teens is most certainly wrong.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Not at all cool.

  • Damanoid

    See, I look at that photo and come away with a totally different impression.  By Catholic standards, the ensemble is really quite severe.  Where’s the gold thread?  Where’s the jewel-encrusted paraphernalia?   This design is practically Minimalist. 

    Yes, he looks awkward, but that’s because he’s basically dressing up in red curtains and Grandma’s tablecloth.  They may well be expensive curtains, but we don’t even really know that for sure; you can find material just as sumptuous-looking at JoAnn’s Fabric.  Either way, judging by his expression, he’s not exactly thrilled with the outfit either. 

    Really, it’s just a slightly more formalized version of Christmas pageant nativity
    costuming, where bathrobes are understood to spiritually represent the
    garb of Eastern astrologers. All that’s missing is a crozier made out of a cardboard tube.  Arguably, it is also a good example of why you shouldn’t try to symbolically represent the lavish rewards of faith if your available budget can’t actually back it up.

    One thing’s for sure, though: Grandma’s gonna be pissed.

  • thatotherjean

     Somehow I doubt that a Prince of the Church, even in America, is going to be decked out in polyester satin from JoAnn’s.  Out of curiosity, I googled the price of satin for a while.  The cheapest real silk satin in that shade of red that I could come up with was $5o.00 a yard (36″x44″).  Those curtains might well be out of Grandma’s league.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    “I’m a sin forgiver,  I’m an apostic Papa coming For You!
     I’m a transubstantiator!, I’ll be a sacramental Bitch for You!
     Keep you mouth shut!  Stop squaking bout some damn lying Kids..
     While I’m dropping my dogma, on the world (If you dig)
     
    Bring your electric lust to me babe!
    Put your mortal stain to my head!
    Press your fallen grace to my love! 
    And Freak out in a Latin Daydream’ oh yeah!

    Don’t fake it baby!
    Lay the real thing on me!
    You know the church of boy love is,
    such a holy place to be!
    Deny it baby! Drop the lawyers money in the till!
    We can blame it all on the, homos still!  (You know we can baby)

    Bring your electric lust to me babe
    Put your mortal stain to my head! 
    Press your fallen grace to my love!
    And Freak out in a Latin Daydream, Oh Yeah!

    Oh, Freak Out!  far out, cash out!”  (face melting guitar outro) 

     
     

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Kim Kardashian wears a $10,000 piece of clothing, I roll my eyes and shrug.

    Kim Kardashian is not pretending to be a moral leader. Kim Kardashian is not trying to control my body on the most intimate and extreme levels. Kim Kardashian is not working for an organization run of, by, and for the rapists of the Vatican who want to send women back to the dark ages, and who are doing a damn good job of making sure AIDS keeps spreading at a phenomenal rate in Africa.

    Fuck the cardinal and the cape he rode in on. I’d say that stupid costume goes with flying monkeys, but the Wicked Witch of the West was never so evil.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Fred, your posts about Catholic tradition/symbols/practices etc remind me why criticism from within is so very different to criticism from without. You say you’re not trying to point and laugh, and apart from the odd disagreement I get the impression that you’re a good guy so I should give you the benefit of the doubt. And perhaps I still have the simmering shits about your US-centric proclamation my country is not free and does not operate under the rule of law, so I may be experiencing some annoyance seepage.
     
    All those caveats noted, this and the throne thing and a few other posts you’ve made leave me with a really nasty echo of “Dumb Micks and their peasant religion”. And every time you do one of these posts some wit jumps in with the always hilarious “priests are all kiddy fuckers HAHAHA”.

    So FWIW, your Catholic posts usually make me feel like shit. Thought it was worth pointing that out cos you seem to generally like to know about that sort of stuff.

  • Carstonio

    I’ve never gotten a sense that Fred detests adherents of the Catholic religion, or that his criticisms were based in hatred of Irish people. I acknowledge that I may not be attuned to these. Can you cite examples of anti-Irish dog whistles that Fred is using?

    From the outside, the traditions and practices do look different, because of the hierarchy’s behavior suggests that it cares only about its own power, and is exploiting the traditions to maintain its position. In this sense it’s not much different from something like Penn State, except that the latter never claimed moral authority. In another thread I suggested something like Occupy Catholicism, where US Catholics overthrow the local hierarchy and set up a separate religion that keeps the doctrines and traditions. Yes, I know this would mean rejecting apostolic succession and papal infallibility.

    Still, I can understand your reaction to Fred’s posts on the subject. His particular faction of Christianity, US evangelism, has been one of Catholicism’s staunchest opponents, and often this seems to influence his otherwise well-founded criticisms of the Catholic hierarchy. The tone is far different from his condemnations of evangelicals who push authoritarianism and sexism – with the latter, he sounds as if he’s trying to rescue his particular religion.

  • The_L1985

     Papal infallibility is a new doctrine anyway.  It only dates back maybe a century or two.

  • nomen nescio

    From what this random anonymous commentator hears, the precise Latin text of Pastor Aeternus, the document of Vatican I defining papal infallibility, sets up semantic loopholes large enough to drive a Mack truck through — Ukrainian Greek-Catholic theologians, who understandably aren’t too keen on having the Patriarch of the West not only be a one-man Oecumenical Council, but also have “full, immediate, and universal ordinary jurisdiction” over other supposedly sui iuris Churches, have apparently been doing some good theological work in this regard. Given, however, that papal infallibility is a purely *negative* guarantee, S. Robert Bellarmine’s opinion that a manifestly heretical pope would cease to be pope might seem to render papal infallibility (if not so-called papal supremacy) a tautology.

  • Ursula L

    Given, however, that papal infallibility is a purely *negative* guarantee, S. Robert Bellarmine’s opinion that a manifestly heretical pope would cease to be pope might seem to render papal infallibility (if not so-called papal supremacy) a tautology. 

    That isn’t a particularly reassuring point.  

    “Manifestly heretical” is a fairly slippery concept, both in terms of defining what is “heretical” and what is “manifestly” so.  Particularly when the person whose words and deeds are being considered has the advantage of having any sort of concept of “papal infallibility” on their side.  

    Far too much corruption and error can accumulate before someone who is presumed to have papal infallibility reaches a state that society in general recognizes as  manifest heresy.  

    And there is very real power at stake.  Most clearly, the control of the various lands, properties, investments and resources that are the property of the Catholic church.  Also the persuasive power that comes with being a pope who has the concept of “papal infallibility” as a tool of politics, persuasion and public relations.  

    If a pope does things that constitute “manifest heresy” what can be done to separate that person from the economic, social, political and spiritual power that comes with having the title of “pope”?  

    Even less than what an abused child can do to protect themself from the power of a local priest.  Because a child can complain to their parents, who can go to the local police.  Who has the authority to make a complaint, investigate, arrest,  try and convict a pope for “manifest heresy”?  

    Greater power on the part of the corrupt individual, and a less clearly defined complaint on the part of those exploited and harmed.  Whatever good can come from the concept of “papal ineffability” is outweighed by the associated harm of that type of power.  

    There needs to be a concrete and defined procedure for dealing with a pope who is “manifestly heretical” before any theoretical protections that people have against a pope who claims the authority of “papal infallibility” can be said to have any sort of real moral, ethical or legal weight.  

  • nomen nescio

    Oh, but it isn’t reassuring in the slightest! What you observe is really the sticky point in all this, and it really must be said that Bellarmine’s opinion is anything but a majority opinion, even if it’s the theological basis for Sedevacantism (cf. Mel Gibson’s father).

    At the end of the day, all these fantastical claims of papal authority date from a very different time ,when the pope was in direct competition with the various Christian monarchs concerning the running of the Church on the ground, Christian monarchs who could and indeed did march up to Rome and take the Pope hostage (Charles V, Napoleon) to bend them to their will, or call an Oecumenical Council (Council of Constance) to force all extant papal claimants to abdicate and have a new pope elected, or just plain exercise a veto over the election of a pope, something that last happened when Franz Josef I of Austria-Hungary successfully vetoed the election of the russophile liberal Cardinal Rampolla in 1903 (!). So, we have the rhetoric of popes desperate to claim authority over monarchs who considered themselves anointed of God — reigning by the Grace of God, as the formula went — in today’s age where the pope himself is the only Christian absolute monarch left. Throw in Rome’s perennial concern for bella figura, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for today’s mess…

  • EllieMurasaki

    There needs to be a concrete and defined procedure for dealing with a pope who is “manifestly heretical” before any theoretical protections that people have against a pope who claims the authority of “papal infallibility” can be said to have any sort of real moral, ethical or legal weight.

    The difficulty arises when one observes that a pope advocating, say, permitting female priests, well he’s obviously a heretic, give him the boot. Same with a pope advocating the use of Pill and condoms except when trying for pregnancy, or permitting same-sex marriage, or or or. The Catholic Church has a whole bunch of doctrines that hurt people and that a pope overturning any one of them would be self-evidently “manifestly heretical” from the eyes of the hierarchy. Not that all or most Catholic folk would necessarily agree, but when have the laity ever been involved in a decision the hierarchy wants to make themselves?

  • P J Evans

     I’d say that they’re already over the line into ‘manifestly heretical’, since so many of the Vatican’s official views and teachings don’t come anywhere close to what Jesus said we should do, and some of them are so far into wrongness that about all I can do is second Hans Küng’s call for a bottom-up revolution.

  • http://vicwelle.wordpress.com victoria

    (raises hand)
    Lifelong Catholic here (well, currently “lapsed,” but i still claim it as a cultural identity).  I think Fred’s critiques of Catholicism are spot on.  I would also argue that he is no longer as much of an outsider in his critiques at this point, given that he has married someone who is Catholic (he’s blogged about how his family is personally affected by clerical sex abuse in the RCC, to name one example).  I welcome more posts like this.

  • http://thisculturalchristian.blogspot.com/ michael mcshea

    Love all the comments Fred.  I love to get feedback on my artwork so to speak.  Burke was in a series of posts I did, a flow, a string of thought built on my following through on the use of word “faux”. The “faux” started with Bill Donohue’s over at the Catholic League with his 501(c)3 political statement I thought masquerading as art in his “Obama in faux feces” artwork. Art imitates life I suppose. 

    But with Burke you have got  the head of a major faction within the ruling party of the Vatican, the Crows. As opposed with the Dove Party.  Well anyway, its Bertone vs Burke, two Crows, in the next election for the title of Pius XIII – What you see is what you get above with Burke BTW, sad to say. Same with Bertone and his recently staged faux trial of the pope’s butler.

    http://thisculturalchristian.blogspot.com/2012/06/cardinal-raymond-burke-pius-xiii.htmlAnd last, I am glad to see that some remember the magnanimous gesture of Paul VI in donating his Tiara to the poor.  Good gesture but the Tiara eventually got bought up by the Burkites as a trophy of power and resides as a tourist stop, feature in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Wash DC next to the attached Knights of Columbus Bell Tower, the Knights of course being the only present major competing tax free bank with the Vatican bank etc. within the RC church re money and power and affecting votes $$$ in the next papal election.  Life is politics I suppose.http://thisculturalchristian.blogspot.com/2012/07/papal-tiara-of-paul-vi-last-italian.html

  • nomen nescio

    “Good gesture but the Tiara eventually got bought up by the Burkites as a trophy of power and resides as a tourist stop, feature in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Wash DC next to the attached Knights of Columbus Bell Tower”

    I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

  • http://thisculturalchristian.blogspot.com/ michael mcshea

    By all means – Laugh darling. And party like it is the year 2 9 9 9 !  The best is yet to come. 

  • VMink

    Fascinating… I didn’t know there were political parties in the Vatican.  Least of all that they were called Crows and Doves.  I’ll have to research this more.

    Further, it’s fascinating that there’s already jockeying for the next Pontiff.

  • The_L1985

    Of course there is.  The medieval Church caught a lot of flak for letting long intervals go between the death of one pope and the election of the next.

    Besides, you can look at Ratzinger and tell he doesn’t have too many years left.  He has not aged well at all.

  • P J Evans

    it’s fascinating that there’s already jockeying for the next Pontiff.

    I’d expect it to start about three days after the pope is elected. They’ve been involved in politics for longer than most countries have been around.

  • Guest

    “There are ways to phrase your critique of the cardinal’s outfit that do
    not involve shaming young women for dressing in a manner that displeases
    you by its connection to female sexuality.”

    Since the original critique is based on shaming people for how they dress as a thin disguise for shaming them for not believing/behaving as the author would like them too…  That’s pretty hypocritical of you.

  • Gelliebean

    “Since the original critique is based on shaming people for how they dress as a thin disguise for shaming them for not believing/behaving as the author would like them too…  That’s pretty hypocritical of you.”

    Somehow I’m not convinced you can equate (1) a ridiculous amount of extravagance on the part of a person whose life is supposedly dedicated to charity and service with (2) a personal expression of sexuality and body ownership for someone who has made no such dedication.

  • christopher_young

    MR. BLAKE was a regular out-and-out hardened sinner,
    Who was quite out of the pale of Christianity, so to speak,He was in the habit of smoking a long pipe and drinking a glass of grogon a Sunday after dinner,And seldom thought of going to church more than twice or–if GoodFriday or Christmas Day happened to come in it–three times a week.
    He was quite indifferent as to the particular kinds of dressesThat the clergyman wore at church where he used to go to pray,And whatever he did in the way of relieving a chap’s distresses,He always did in a nasty, sneaking, underhanded, hole-and-corner sort of way.
    I have known him indulge in profane, ungentlemanly emphatics,When the Protestant Church has been divided on the subject of theproper width of a chasuble’s hem;I have even known him to sneer at albs–and as for dalmatics,Words can’t convey an idea of the contempt he expressed for THEM.
    He didn’t believe in persons who, not being well off themselves, areobliged to confine their charitable exertions to collecting money fromwealthier people,And looked upon individuals of the former class as ecclesiasticalhawks;He used to say that he would no more think of interfering with hispriest’s robes than with his church or his steeple,And that he did not consider his soul imperilled because somebody overwhom he had no influence whatever, chose to dress himself up like anexaggerated GUY FAWKES.

    -W.S.Gilbert (without Sullivan)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    A) Symbolically eating the flesh and blood of your god so that you’ll
    live forever after you die is also pretty objectively silly, but that’s
    no reason to make fun of Christianity.  All religious rituals look painfully silly to people on the outside.

    This sort of insistence on giving cultural protection and succour and immunity to criticism of religious ritual is precisely the sort of thing that sticks in this atheist’s craw.

  • The_L1985

     Ok, please tell me all about how silly my religion is, then.  Please, tell me how hilarious it is when I’m looking for a ceremonial statuette of Thor and can only find the Marvel comic-book version.

    Tell me how funny it is that I could easily lose my job if the wrong person got wind of my faith.

  • caryjamesbond

     Ok, please tell me all about how silly my religion is, then.  

    Your religion is silly.

    Please, tell me howhilarious it is when I’m looking for a ceremonial statuette of Thor and can only find the Marvel comic-book version.

    http://www.celticattic.com/treasures/home_decor/statuary.htm

    or, for something almost as tacky as that robe-

    http://www.somaluna.com/prod/thor_statue.asp

    Tell me how funny it is that I could easily lose my job if the wrong person got wind of my faith.

    http://www.aclu.org/

    Thats a violation of several fundamental rights, I’m sure the ACLU would LOVE to take such a blatant case of discrimination, probably get you a lot of money as well.  

    That robe remains really stupid.

  • The_L1985

    “Your religion is silly.”

    You are more than welcome to have that opinion! :)  However, bear in mind that your atheism looks just as silly to a lot of people.

    “http://www.celticattic.com/tre…, for something almost as tacky as that robe-

    http://www.somaluna.com/prod/t…”

    Different things are tacky to different people.  In addition, the surrounding decor can influence whether or not something looks good in a particular setting.  Your first link doesn’t work as written; next time, please double-check that you hit the spacebar after pasting in a link.

    By the way, thank you very much!  That first link had exactly what I’ve been fruitlessly Googling for ages! :D

    “Thats a violation
    of several fundamental rights, I’m sure the ACLU would LOVE to take
    such a blatant case of discrimination, probably get you a lot of money
    as well.”

    Yeah, and it’s happened to a lot of people already.  Guess what?  While it’s possible to make money off that in the long run, the act of filing suit, even with the ACLU’s help, would NOT be cheap.

    In addition, I live in a “right-to-work” (ha ha) state.  What that means is, I can be fired with no reason given.  So even if I have every reason to suspect that my religion is what got me fired, I can’t prove a godsdamned thing.  This means that I cannot possibly expect to win a lawsuit.

    Injustice exists; legal loopholes make it likely to continue until those laws are changed.

  • Tricksterson

    Personally I like the Thor statue.

  • Carstonio

    The garment’s train is what brought home Fred’s point about money and power. The train is long enough to require someone to carry it to keep it clean, so it is essentially a status symbol. I remember a cartoon where the king had a carrier for his train, and the carrier’s own garment had a train that required a carrier. And also the lifestyle of the royal family in Coming to America, with the rose petals and the personal bathers.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I remember a cartoon where the king had a carrier for his train, and the
    carrier’s own garment had a train that required a carrier.

    http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/001/122/xzibit-happy.jpg

    I’d say that kind of covers it. :P

  • Celesteh

    If you want to understand catholic vestments, there’s probably an easier way to get information than by  posting anti-catholic musings to your blog.

  • P J Evans

    Thanks for misunderstanding what Fred said.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Unjustified assumption #1: criticizing a single Catholic, or a single Catholic leader, or all Catholic leaders, is the same as criticizing or discriminating against or being prejudiced against all Catholics.

    Unjustified assumption #2: the purpose of this post was to gain knowledge of Catholic vestments and not to point out the contrast between a Catholic leader’s expensive single-occasion garments and the teachings of the person Catholics all claim to follow.

  • Isabel C.

    @Saffi:disqus: Then he did it badly. There’s no way that the word “slutty” as used in this context connects to the cardinal; there’s no examination of the term in a different context; it’s used as a lazy and sniffy way to say “doesn’t require much fabric.” 

    “Well, any *less* fabric and he’d be too slutty to enter the Vatican,” or similar, sure. 
    “Slutty” is applied to the prom dresses (and presumably the girls who wear them) here, which means LL is either incompetent or mean-spirited. 

  • Isabel C.

    Additionally: you may give people the benefit of the doubt.  That doesn’t oblige the rest of us to do the same. 

  • caryjamesbond

    You are more than welcome to have that opinion! :)  However, bear in mind that your atheism looks just as silly to a lot of people.

    Note- I do not, actually, find norse paganism particularly silly.  (I find all supernatural beliefs somewhat silly, but at least Norse pagans believe in limited as opposed to omnipotent deities.)

    And I expect lots of people to find my beliefs stupid.  Thats part of life- people will find your beliefs silly.   Notably, to get back on track here, Fred wasn’t saying “Geez, whats up with those taigs, worshiping a statue of the Virgin Mary?  Weird shit, amirite?”  Fred was say “Lordy, that is a tacky. freaking. robe.”

    Which is less a statement of belief or about belief than it is a statement of TASTE. And while, like Invisible Neutrino, I’m a little sketchy on the whole “These are my BELIEFS and you must RESPECT THEM OMG(s)” thing, bad taste, or even what I find to be bad taste, is fair grounds for mocking. At least, thats what I believe.

  • caryjamesbond

    Actually, I take that back. Fred wasn’t even going that far.  Fred was going “and this is about Jesus….HOW, exactly?”

    I and several others called it tacky. TOTALLY. FREAKIN.  TACKY.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    As I pointed out earlier this is his “choir dress” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choir_dress#Roman_Catholic_choir_dress

    Except for the Cappa it’s pretty standard. Take for example these canons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sint-Salvatorskapittel_Bruges_Precious_Blood_2008.JPG obvious black and white rather than red and white because they are canons not cardinals but other than that pretty much the same. Even down to the lace (which is very common on rochets). The “dress” is a cassock (as I’m sure people are aware) and far from unique to Catholicism. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassock – scroll down and see the other denominations cassocks).

    As to the cloak… Cardinals do not usually wear those as you can see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kardinaal_III_Danneels_en_Kasper.JPG From the way it’s terribly crumpled, rucked up at the back and the expression on his face he’s not really used to it. So I’m with the peeps who think it was likely given to him that day. If he was used to wearing it he’d have a lot more panache about it like this dude http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cardinal_Th%C3%A9odore_Adrien_Sarr_2.JPG

    I do agree that the cappa magna is a bit over the top. If you’re going to try wearing a cloak a more normal cope is much less cumbersome http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Procession_of_the_Precious_Blood_of_Jesus_Christ-Bruges;_Prelatuur_Processie.JPG though it probably would still gain the mockery of outsiders.

    But really that cappa needs ironing if nothing else.


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