Clothing new cardinals was an expensive business

clothing cardROME, 22 Nov 2010, UCAN, (C.M. Paul) — Weeks prior to the latest consistory at St. Peters Basilica in Rome, several blogs had speculated on the cost of the custom-made paraphernalia that the new cardinals would wear.

Watch out, they said, for the best dressed cardinal back in their diocese for their official reception. The well-dressed new cardinal could have the following ready made items bought in Rome with a modest price tag. If custom made, it will cost far more.

With prices given ineuros, the Chasuble would cost 9,000, alb = 550, amice = 40, cassock = 550, sash = 175, socks = 20, shoes = 800, buskins = 320, tunic = 500, dalmatic = 500, ornate ceremonial gloves = 1,000, zucchetto = 125, biretta = 250, pectoral cross = 1800, cord for cross = 250, miter = 6,000. A new cardinal could have a ready-made outfit bought in Rome with a modest price tag totaling 21,880euros or 30,011 in US dollars or 1,333,618 Indian rupees.

clothing for liberationAn Indian bishop who participated in the recent Synod of Bishops for the Middle East could not afford a black cassock with scarlet border, so he decided to borrow one for the occasion.

The same bishop went to buy a ring and told the shopkeeper that he wanted a simple and affordable one.

Your choice is very impressive, unlike other bishops who look for more expensive rings, the Roman shopkeeper complimented the bishop.

There are several Asian bishops, especially Indian, who have adopted a simple style even during official and liturgical functions, says Professor Peter Gonsalves, author of Clothing for Liberation.

In his book, he focuses on the clothes that Gandhi wore and their symbolism throughout his life, from his childhood in a bania (merchant) family, through his years in England and South Africa until his later involvement in Indias freedom struggle.

Gandhis choice gave clothing a historical, political, economic, social, psychological, cultural and moral significance, he said.

Gonsalves adds that Gandhis dress revolution transformed 383 million people into one independent nation, a phenomenon that heralded the beginning of the end of British imperialism worldwide.

Clothing was used to make a revolutionary statement throughout history. When the prophet Jonah preached repentance, the king of Nineveh abandoned his royal clothes and put on sack cloth and ashes as mark of penitence.

The revolutionary precursor of Christ, John the Baptist, was dressed in camel skin. Jesus of Nazareth had only a seamless tunic, with no exceptional sartorial cut.

More recently, Blessed Teresa of Kolkata put away her religious habit and wore a sweeper woman’s home-spun cotton saree when she started her ministry to help the poorest of the poor.

The dress one wears makes a statement, Gonsalves concludes. It all depends what statement one wishes to make.



Filed under Cardinals, clothing cardinals, consistory

2 responses to “Clothing new cardinals was an expensive business

  1. Scarlet and Red are the colours of the clothing of the Cardinals. Scarlet is the colour of the BEAST of Rev 17:3;further,Rev 12 speaks of “RED DRAGON”. and Rev 17 yet mentions the “seven headed RED BEAST”- obvious reference to the “city of seven hills” – Rome.
    Why should Church dignitaries adopt such colours with negative scriptural interpretations ?.
    The use of these colours came down from secular decadent Christian times
    and got struck with the so called “Princes of the Church” – still in vogue as seen from the titles of “Excellency”, “Your Lordship” etc given to them…And they claim to represent a crucified ( naked) Christ!
    By the way Pre Vatican Mass Lectionary had ZERO number of verses while Post Vatican Lectionary has 404 verses from the Book of Revelation.

    If such dress as used by the Cardinals came from a secular decadent times, it must be done away with. No wonder many radical Christians see in the “scarlet and red” used by the Cardinals – signs of the Anti-Christ!

  2. Fr.Tomy Kuruvilla

    “The dress one wears makes a statement, Gonsalves concludes. It all depends what statement one wishes to make.”

    Nice statement indeed.
    Ever since I can remember and recall,all what I can think of ,is of a CHURCH that is so very TRIUMPHALISTIC in it’s very mentality and projection.A very powerful , authoritarian and eternal church.The dress code has to match such a projection you see.
    We preach of serving the POOR,and nothing but SERVICE as our motto.But look at the custodians of the holy Catholic Church, very few can really identify themselves with the poor whom they have vowed to serve as priests and religious.The majority of the Cardinals and Bishops of-course and the others in hierarchy as per the power they wield to keep the Holy Catholic Church intact very seldom interact with the poor.So it doesn’t matter what they they were you see. What is important is the POWER, MIGHT and the ETERNITY of the Church has to be made really felt among the followers. Perfect manipulation like the political body out in the world. Poor Christ, if he were to return today may be the scene at Jerusalem temple would be repeated.

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