So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Mind the generation gap. Vestments making a statement.

Archdiocese of Melbourne/June 27, 2015

Note the younger priests are wearing amices that cover their clericals, as is fitting! Note the beauty of their stunning (St. Bede Studio) vestments, too.

Beauty is useless if your attitude is ugly.

Let us engage in a brief and probably useless speculation.

Might one speculate that the younger fellows appreciate Tradition more than their elderly peer?

It may very well be that all three priests are good and holy chaps. If that be the case, there is still the obvious and unnecessary dichotomy between beauty and simplicity and holiness represented by the bland chasuble. (At this point a cheeky troll chimes up and asks the rhetorical question 'Which of the three chasubles would Pope Francis' wear?' One might reply: not every good pope has been a connoisseur of fine vestments as Pope(-Emeritus) Benedict was/is. Not every pope who has worn beautiful vestments has lacked holiness and simplicity of life. All things being equal, beautiful vestments honour God in the Liturgy, not the wearer.)
A theologian who does not love art, poetry, music and nature can be dangerous. Blindness and deafness toward the beautiful are not incidental; they necessarily are reflected in his theology.—Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI). The Ratzinger Report (p. 130).

Something... amiss?

One could argue that the younger fellows are merely expressing a passing fancy for expensive vestments. Perhaps. Given the inclusion of the amice, which is a detail that speaks to Tradition (and the important heritage of liturgical customs that reflect and make visible the Apostolic Tradition), they may be acknowledging that vestments should speak to the glory of God and permanence (Well made garments can be passed down to new priests for generations!), and are most fitting for the reverent and dignified celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The symbolism and sheer beauty of the vestments train the eyes and minds of the congregants on the beauty of God and invite the imagination into the transcendent Reality that inspires the visible signs. The banal "leafy-cross" chasuble (and matching stole underneath, visible through the translucent fabric) may be an heirloom of sorts given to the priest. That thought could be contradicted by the apparent newness of its condition. The lack of an amice and the generational difference could give one the impression that the "leafy-cross" priest lacks a fuller appreciation for the Church's rich spiritual and liturgical heritage.

Or, to put it another way—bland is as bland does (wears). No offence intended.

Is the amice a key to identifying and encouraging holiness?
Prayer when donning the amice [Vatican site: Liturgical Vestments and the Vesting Prayers]:
After the washing of the hands, the vesting proper begins.
2) The priest begins with the amice, a rectangular linen cloth, which has two strings and is placed over the shoulders and around the neck; the strings are then tied about the waist. The amice has the purpose of covering the everyday clothing, even if it is the priest's clerical garb. In this sense, it is important to recall that the amice is worn even when the celebrant is wearing a modern alb, which often does not have a large opening at the neck but fits closely around the collar. (!!!!) Despite the close fitting neck of the modern alb, the everyday clothing still remains visible and it is necessary for the celebrant to cover his collar even in this case.
In the Roman Rite, the amice is donned before the alb. While putting it on the priest recites the following prayer:
Impone, Domine, capiti meo galeam salutis, ad expugnandos diabolicos incursus.
Place upon me, O Lord, the helmet of salvation, that I may overcome the assaults of the devil. (If more priests had been wearing the amice and had taken seriously the prayers, perhaps they might have avoided failing their vows and/or falling into the grievous error of the abuse of children!)
With the reference to St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians (6:17), the amice is understood as "the helmet of salvation," that must protect him who wears it from the demon's temptations, especially evil thoughts and desires, during the liturgical celebration. This symbolism is still more clear in the custom followed since the Middle Ages by the Benedictines, Franciscans and Dominicans, who first put the amice upon their heads and then let it fall upon the chasuble or dalmatic.

See also the Oasis for Priests, Sacristans and Servers page at this blog [to visit click on link below]:
Priests—be spiritual soldiers! Don the armour of your profession to protect you from harm! May the donning of the amice be an occasion for Christ to inform you and form you with His grace.

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