Signs of Bishops: Palliums and Places of Residence

palliumsMuch attention here given to Pope Francis wearing a “regular” pallium as he conferred look-alikes on the world’s new archbishops.

Most Catholics today would be able to pick three or four of the last five popes out of a crowd of chasubles. Is the modern recognition enough? Did Pope Benedict’s “special” pallium or the fanon have any real purpose? Did they further the Gospel in any way? Stir up a warm spot in the guts of an occasional Catholic? Smirks of various kinds on the rest of our faces?

Honestly, I thought the B16 look, the one at the top left in the diagram looked sloppy.

One priest told me once that the restoration of wearing the stole under the chasuble was seemly: the garment was used for wiping one’s nose. Why would one advertise one’s nasal mucus? Likewise, is the fanon some kind of bib? For tradition aficionado and skeptic alike they spark some kind of discussion that perhaps is far afield of “You are rock” or “Feed my sheep” or things like that.

Whispered in the loggia, a Pennsylvania bishop calls in a realtor for house in the burbs. I still remember the good ol’ days when bishops didn’t wait for popes to move into guest houses. They lived in nursing homes, rectories, and had no problem selling the episcopal manse. They weren’t many, and clearly it wasn’t impressive enough to convince many of their brother bishops of the 80’s.

mansionI do hope that these moves are more than attempts at sincere flattery. Bishops could be selling homes and giving the money to the poor as an actual personal discernment. At least they should be making sure their household help lands well in another rectory around town.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Signs of Bishops: Palliums and Places of Residence

  1. Devin says:

    IMHO, I much rather liked pallium in the top upper left, although I know a lot of conservatives and possibly Pope Benedict himself (since he replaced it with a more “modern fit”) would probably agree with your assessment. It reminds of me of the palliums used around the sixth century.

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