ROME, 22 Nov 2010, UCAN, (C.M. Paul) — Weeks prior to the latest consistory at St. Peter’s 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.
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 India’s freedom struggle.
Gandhi’s choice gave clothing a historical, political, economic, social, psychological, cultural and moral significance, he said.
Gonsalves adds that Gandhi’s 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.