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Source: (consider it) Thread: The shape of the chasuble
hatless

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I'm intrigued by the stuff about Fortescue and the schools or styles of liturgical clothing and action. IngoB's link on the other thread was illuminating: the chasuble being a symbol of charity, and having developed from an outer garment, chasuble being derived from the diminutive for house.

I wonder if anyone considers doing a modern equivalent, such as wearing a parka to celebrate the eucharist. It would demonstrate solidarity with rough sleepers and, according to the Wikipedia page on anoraks, call to mind a link with breast-feeding mothers.

That, to my Baptist mind, is the sort of thing liturgy is about, and how it can be powerful. It can, though, slip into silliness very easily, whether it's wearing parkas or worrying about the shape of a traditional chasuble.

I would welcome insights for a Baptist who is innocent of the camps and politics of vestments.

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(S)pike couchant
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Trying to keep away from pure Tat discussion in accordance with a hostly ruling on the other thread:

quote:
Originally posted by hatless:


I wonder if anyone considers doing a modern equivalent, such as wearing a parka to celebrate the eucharist. It would demonstrate solidarity with rough sleepers and, according to the Wikipedia page on anoraks, call to mind a link with breast-feeding mothers.


I'm sure somebody has done this. I'm not sure it's a good idea. Liturgy recreates everyday life, but in a specialized symbolic manner. This may seem artificial, but such symbols are actually a very important part of our lives as human beings: think of such gestures as wearing sombre clothing to a funeral to show our respect for the deceased and his or her relations. Perhaps better yet, think of shaking hands on introduction. As I understand it, this originates in a display of vulnerability (the hand that shakes another cannot hold a weapon at the same time): in purely functional terms, the equivalent would allowing oneself to be frisked by a new acquaintance. Outside of circles populated by gangsters, however, we don't do that. It would strike most of us as silly. That's because social interaction isn't about functionality: it's about symbols. Indeed, some of the most important forms of communication (known as 'phatic expressions' in linguistics) are not intended to convey any actual information, but simply to fulfill an important social function — the phrases, 'please', 'thank you', 'how do you do', and even (in many contexts) 'I love you' are, strictly speaking, meaningless, but they fulfill an important societal function as symbols.

Liturgy takes actions — the pouring of water, the burning of incense the wearing of certain items of clothing — and invests them with symbolic meaning. In doing so, it universalizes the particular. For that reason, I believe, we should be very careful about trying to create liturgical actions that are 'meaningful' for a specific event or in a specific context, rather than making use of universally relevant liturgies. In a famous purple passage that many Shipmates probably know off by heart, Dom Gregory Dix describes the universal relevance of the Church's obedient response to the command that Our Lord gave to his disciples when they were seated together at supper in the upper room:

quote:
Was ever another command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstance, for every conceivable human need from infancy and before it to extreme old age and after it, from the pinnacle of earthly greatness to the refuge of fugitives in the caves and dens of the earth. Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the proclamation of a dogma or for a good crop of wheat; for the wisdom of the Parliament of a mighty nation or for a sick old woman afraid to die .... one could fill many pages with the reasons why men have done this, and not tell a hundredth part of them. And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the pastors have done this just to make the plebs sancta Dei—the holy common people of God
I've cut out a bit (well, quite a lot, actually) because Dix doesn't half go on, but his point stands. What the chasuble signifies — the continual offering of the sacrifice of the mass with any of a multitude of specific intentions and with the general intention of the salvation and sanctification of the world — is so awesomely great, that any other meaning that could possibly be attached to it would pale and look absurd in comparison. That, at least, is the way that I see it, and I suspect that most Catholic Christians would agree.

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venbede
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That is a wonderful passage from Gregory Dix, and shows why he is still relevant.

It is irrelevant to the question of what vesture to wear.

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hatless

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The meaning of symbols is only understood by a certain group of people. The Chinese alphabet is largely without meaning to me. The chasuble was without meaning to me until yesterday. Yet symbols are seldom arbitrary. They originate in something concrete and, once, contemporary.

They can acquire meaning and therefore power if one is inducted into the community that uses them, or if the connection with a more widely shared life is laid bare.

I'm familiar with the Dix passage. It works for a Baptist, as well. There would probably be no chasuble on the beach at Dunkirk or in a labour camp in Siberia to mention two of the examples I recall from the full version of the passage.

Dix is about repetition and faithful intent building in power over the years and cultures as history and people adhere to the actions. That's a fine example of liturgy gaining power and life. I don't have much of a feel for that happening with vestments. I can see that they are a fine way of expressing self-identity, and sending a message to others in the know - choosing a Baroque or a Gothic chasuble - but I'm still uncertain what vestments say to worshippers.

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(S)pike couchant
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:



I'm familiar with the Dix passage. It works for a Baptist, as well. There would probably be no chasuble on the beach at Dunkirk or in a labour camp in Siberia to mention two of the examples I recall from the full version of the passage.

I don't think anyone has alleged that the mass must (as opposed to should) be celebrated fully vested. There are, of course, times when it is not possible to do so and the mass is not thereby invalidated.
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:


Dix is about repetition and faithful intent building in power over the years and cultures as history and people adhere to the actions. That's a fine example of liturgy gaining power and life.

Right, and vesting for mass (where one is able to do so) is an excellent symbolic reminder of this shared history.

quote:
Originally posted by hatless:


but I'm still uncertain what vestments say to worshippers.

I think that even the youngest Catholic child and the newest convert, and indeed even the person on the street with no knowledge of Catholicism other than what he or she has seen on television knows that the Catholic priests dress in a certain way (which they may find silly and will find 'different') because, well, that's what Catholic priests do. Why do priests do it? Because it's a way of indicating that they are priests.

As I've already said before: the shape of the chasuble doesn't matter. It really, really, doesn't. Some people try to pretend that it does, but they're just being silly. It's natural for people to prefer beautiful chasubles over ugly ones, but that's the only distinction that really matters, and both beautiful and ugly chasubles can exist in a great variety of shapes.

I do think that it's important that we should use in our worship the best that we can offer to God. For a priest in a Gulag in Siberia, that might mean a stole cut from a burlap sack or no stole at all — and that would be a reasonable and holy vestment to wear for the reasonable and holy sacrifice — but in a wealthy parish in Europe or North America, that would look like indifference. If it really is indifference, then I think it says something negative about the people concerned and their attitude toward worship.

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Forthview
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Certainly to a regular Catholic worshipper the use of the chasuble indicates that one is taking part in the celebration of the eucharist in the way which has been established by centuries of worship,almost two thousand years indeed.

That being said it is not all too unusual to see priests celebrating Mass without the chasuble,particularly,but not only in hot climates.

The priestly garment par excellence is the stole but that's another matter.

It is a bit like going to a law court and seeing the judge wear traditional robes or seeing the Household Cavalry at a Royal ceremony wearing what is considered to be the correct uniform.
I suppose that they could support the monarch while wearing everyday clothes or perhaps even not wearing any clothes at all.

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hatless

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I don't see how the chasuble represents the 2000 year tradition of the Church when it's a relatively recent garment. I don't see how you can say that it is worn because this is what Catholic priests wear, when there has been controversy over the style of chasuble, both in the past and today.

Now Forthview tells me that the stole is the priestly garment, and I'm confused.

Uniforms are an interesting comparison. Though they are uniform to a degree, they do in fact differ. Regiments have their own styles, and of course, ranks are clearly indicated on the uniform. To what extent are vestments uniforms? One major difference is that you don't usually choose your uniform, whereas the choice of vestments is clearly highly important to many people. Are they, though, fulfilling a similar function of indicating the role of the wearer and distinguishing them from others in the hierarchy?

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Augustine the Aleut
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Chasubles, as a version of formal dress for Roman citizens, have been a distinctly liturgical garment for about 16-17 centuries, so I'm not sure if we can call them recent. Gulag liturgical aficionadi might recall find Solzhenitsyn's note of the martyrdom of S Benjamin of Volokolamsk and how the saint ensured that he was properly vested, albeit in rags, but I suspect that this might have been an exception or even a pious legend.
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Trisagion
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
I don't see how the chasuble represents the 2000 year tradition of the Church when it's a relatively recent garment.

It depends what you mean by "relatively recent". In any event the representation of being part of the tradition is secured by it being what the Church in West has come to understand as being part of the proper clothing for a priest celebrating Mass.

quote:
I don't see how you can say that it is worn because this is what Catholic priests wear, when there has been controversy over the style of chasuble, both in the past and today.
Why does controversy about style have any relevance to this matter? As for the controversy: the history of the Church is one of controversy. If it gets serious enough then someone gets to adjudicate. Who that is depends on the size, scale and importance of the controversy.

quote:
Now Forthview tells me that the stole is the priestly garment, and I'm confused.
Historically that has been so, in that even before the Chasuble had been universally adopted, priests still wore stoles...but then so did deacons...who also wore chasubles sometimes.

quote:
Uniforms are an interesting comparison. Though they are uniform to a degree, they do in fact differ. Regiments have their own styles, and of course, ranks are clearly indicated on the uniform. To what extent are vestments uniforms? One major difference is that you don't usually choose your uniform, whereas the choice of vestments is clearly highly important to many people. Are they, though, fulfilling a similar function of indicating the role of the wearer and distinguishing them from others in the hierarchy?
What you've hit upon is the "given" nature of liturgy and it's accompanying impedimenta.

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Spiffy
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I saw an interesting take on this, from a less liturgical side, over at the blog Experimental Theology the other day: Overalls.

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hatless

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But it's not given if people choose to wear Gothic or Baroque and do so to declare party allegiance. And isn't that what goes on in some cases? Not amongst RCs perhaps, but in Anglicanism there seems to be a lot of positioning going on. How many buttons are there on your cassock, all that stuff.

As a result, and because Baptists seldom use vestments, I've let it all pass me by as an unpleasant irrelevance, but perhaps I'm missing something.

Trisagion
quote:
It depends what you mean by "relatively recent". In any event the representation of being part of the tradition is secured by it being what the Church in West has come to understand as being part of the proper clothing for a priest celebrating Mass.

My Protestant roots influence me towards thinking that something has to go back right to the First or Second Century to be genuinely traditional. I want a connection to the earliest congregations, not to the post-Constantinian church. Chasubles don't seem to qualify.

When you say the Church in the West I assume you mean the RC church with, perhaps, one or two similar and sympathetic denominations. Adoption by the RC church doesn't make it part of the tradition I see myself inhabiting.

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hatless

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quote:
Originally posted by Spiffy:
I saw an interesting take on this, from a less liturgical side, over at the blog Experimental Theology the other day: Overalls.

Nice!

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My crazy theology in novel form

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Jengie jon

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You are aware of the Iona Community habit of wearing a smock, not for worship per se but just as everyday dress for men while on Iona, nothing regulatory about it but a surprising number tend to do it quite often. Sometime back there was an article on it in Coracle.

Jengie

eta: given Iona worship tradition I suspect this does mean that some have been worn for communion services.

[ 27. August 2012, 15:49: Message edited by: Jengie Jon ]

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PD
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At the end of the day, the shape of the vestment is irrelevant until some fool elevates it into a party badge. This has tended to be the case far too often in Anglo-Catholicism where we do have a certain element that likes to play the 'more Catholic than thou' game.

The classical chasuble was cut away at the sides to faciliate the elevation of the host, which ceremony became a prominent liturgical gesture from the 12th century. As I elevate the host and chalice during the Mass, and do not have a couple of flunkies to hold up the sides of the chasuble whilst I elevate, the fiddleback shape makes sense. The other chasuble shape that works for the elevations is the modern one where it is basically an oval of cloth about 5' by 8' with a head hole in the middle, as that leaves the arms free too. The fiddleback also lets the steam out on hot days. So for me the choice of shape is ptagmatic, but the vestment itself goes back to antiquity.

PD

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Metapelagius
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Gregory Dix has already been mentioned above. At an earlier point in The Shape of the Liturgy he discusses liturgical vesture, noting that in the early church the clergy wore normal, everyday dress at the liturgy. When in time fashions changed, clerical garb did not - and so the concept of vestments distinct from everyday dress came into being. Dix cites as a more recent example of the same process a Baptist lay preacher whom he had known in his youth. The preacher kept an old fashioned coat which he wore when preaching. He wouldn't wear it for anything else; he wouldn't preach without wearing it. Ergo, noted Dix, the coat was as much a liturgical vestment as a cope, chasuble or whatever.

Again, in the sixteenth century, the reformers abandoned the traditional liturgical vestments and had their ministers wear their everyday academic dress for worship. Thus the traditionally garbed reformed minister of today with Geneva gown and bands is still in essence turned out as a renaissance academic, which is as divorced from the practice of the early church - normal clothes - as eucharistic vestments.

So, Hatless, given that the function of a parka to someone living in the 20th/21st century is much the same as that of a paenula / planeta to a 2nd/3rd century Roman, why not?

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Clafoutis
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[ 27. August 2012, 16:40: Message edited by: Clafoutis ]

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hatless

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So wearing contemporary clothing is one way of following tradition, and wearing the stuff we've always worn is also a way of following tradition. But wearing contemporary clothes must be a slightly older tradition because it precedes the freezing in time type of tradition. No vestments is therefore slightly more traditional than vestments.

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Clafoutis
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quote:
given that the function of a parka to someone living in the 20th/21st century is much the same as that of a paenula / planeta to a 2nd/3rd century Roman, why not? [/QB]
But there is no evidence whatever (is there?) of the use of a pænula or planeta in the 1st - 3rd century in the context of Christian liturgy - unless we clutch at the straw offered by 2 Tim 4.13.

And - on a different point - the planeta was distinctively the mark of a gentleman; I am not sure if a 'parka' is.

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
But it's not given if people choose to wear Gothic or Baroque and do so to declare party allegiance. And isn't that what goes on in some cases? Not amongst RCs perhaps, but in Anglicanism there seems to be a lot of positioning going on. How many buttons are there on your cassock, all that stuff.

As a result, and because Baptists seldom use vestments, I've let it all pass me by as an unpleasant irrelevance, but perhaps I'm missing something.

Trisagion
quote:
It depends what you mean by "relatively recent". In any event the representation of being part of the tradition is secured by it being what the Church in West has come to understand as being part of the proper clothing for a priest celebrating Mass.

My Protestant roots influence me towards thinking that something has to go back right to the First or Second Century to be genuinely traditional. I want a connection to the earliest congregations, not to the post-Constantinian church. Chasubles don't seem to qualify.

When you say the Church in the West I assume you mean the RC church with, perhaps, one or two similar and sympathetic denominations. Adoption by the RC church doesn't make it part of the tradition I see myself inhabiting.

Discussion of these matters in Anglican circles is pretty rare. Outside of some clergy and a very few laity (who haunt boards such as this), I think it safe to call such discussions non-existent.

One of the difficulties of dating early chasuble use is the paucity of evidence --Percius or Dearmerikos did not produce a 78AD ritual notes. However, the garment which has come down to us as the chasuble was that used by professional-level folk in apostolic and post-apostolic times and so, if that's your rule, a chasuble likely fits in. Lots of other stuff wouldn't.

I have no idea what Trisagion means by the Church in the West (he will likely come along and speak for himself) but I would suggest that the use of the term RC as the equivalent is as anachronistic as is the notion that it adopted the chasuble or that (say) Saint Ambrose was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Milan--it might be more accurate to say that the RCC as we know it inherited this use. But Vatican II and most RC theologians would disagree with me on this interpretation.

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Trisagion
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Well the thing is, hatless, the chasuble does come specifically out of the tradition of the Western or Latin Rite of the Catholic Church - that's the tradition the chasuble inhabits , to use your phrase (the Eastern Churches have their own tradition in these matters).

I share your irritation with the posturing about such things within parts of Anglicanism but since the use of Eucharistic vestments in Anglicanism is, at best, something Anglicans retain from their Catholic origins or, at worst, were readopted precisely in order to make the kind of contention that can look like posturing, the Anglican take on the use of vestments in general and this vestment in particular is, I would argue, unlikely to prove particularly helpful in coming to see the value where previously you saw none, nor in establishing whether that posturing and the resulting contention proves or disproves the pedigree or value of the practice. It tells you much about Anglicanism - or certain parts of it - but little about the chasuble. That a tiny number of (sadly vocal) traditionalists in the Catholic Church (who enjoy an internet presence out of all proportion to their number) have sought to engage in the same silliness is only to be regretted, better still ignored.

I fully take your point about the date of the adoption of a practice and what constitutes late adoption or not. Nonetheless, the expression you used was "relatively recent". Even allowing for rhetorical intent, that does seem a bit of a stretch here. Establishing with much security what happened in the first and second (do we admit the third as "genuinely traditional") is notoriously difficult and it isn't clear to me how you'd do that for a number of the practices of the denomination to which you belong, nevertheless, a practice that finds its origins in the demonstrable practice of the Church from at least the early fourth century and which was common throughout the whole of the Christian world until the sixteenth must, on any reasonable reading, count as genuinely traditional. I would, of course, reject your division of the Church into pre- and post-Constantinian but the presence of a tradition of vestment wearing in even those Churches early separated from the communion and communication of their fellow Churches - the Armenians, the Copts and the Indians - suggests to me that the practice so well established in Rome by the time of St Jerome, that of wearing different clothes for the Divine Liturgy, had not grown up in the few years since the Edict of Milan. Since as early as Ignatius of Antioch (died c108AD) Christians clearly had a sense of the connection between the Eucharist and the worship of the Temple, I suspect the development of the wearing of vestments was a very natural thing for them to do, in parallel or succession to the special garb of the High Priest. In other words, whether you think they are good thing or not, whether you like them or not, whether you think they are important or necessary or whatever, it is quite difficult to sustain an argument that says that they aren't part of a genuine tradition.

The tradition to which the chasuble belongs doesn't think that wearing one is absolutely necessary - see previous posts re Dunkirk etc. - but does see them as fitting and appropriate as the vesture of the priest as he celebrates the Mass. The size and shape of the vestment has varied throughout its history - at times good taste giving way to extravagance and flamboyance. As and when it has been necessary to rein in such behaviour, as with other examples of human exuberance (cf. the Council of Trent's strictures about the use of over elaborate music in the liturgy), the Church has sought to do this. The Second Vatican Council's remarks about vestments could be reasonably understood in this way.

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(S)pike couchant
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
So wearing contemporary clothing is one way of following tradition, and wearing the stuff we've always worn is also a way of following tradition. But wearing contemporary clothes must be a slightly older tradition because it precedes the freezing in time type of tradition. No vestments is therefore slightly more traditional than vestments.

I think that's a misunderstanding of what 'tradition' means. Tradition is not archaeology; it is not an attempt to recreate the worship practices of the 1st century.

I don't want to criticize Baptist liturgical practices, which have their own traditions quite distinct from those of Roman or Anglo-Catholicism, but I find your statement that you 'want a connection to the earliest congregations, not to the post-Constantinian church' both puzzling and vaguely disturbing. I don't think that it's either possible or desirable to pretend that the past 1700 years of Christian history simply haven't happened. They have happened, and it seems to me that to ignore history results in very bad theology. Of course, the writings of the Latin Fathers is one of my interests, so we probably have rather different views on the state of the 'Constantinian church' (and, yes, I have read Yoder on the subject, and no, I wasn't impressed by his arguments). I'm generally rather wary of pointing to one point in the 2000 year history of the Church and claiming that it was the golden age and things have only gone downhill since then — if the gospels are to believed, the leadership of the Church in AD 33 was just as capable of hypocrisy and other vices as it is now (see, e.g. Peter and the cock, which I promise is not the title of a pornographic film).

There are different traditions of men's clothing, even within the same society. What most westerner's think of as 'normal' men's clothing (i.e. the lounge suit and its variants) is actually a development from military uniforms and hunting clothes, and its lineage shows. Ecclesiastical vestments, along with legal and academic dress, represent a different development of modern clothing. They are not frozen in time, but their development is not necessarily in the same direction as that of 'ordinary clothes'.


We should respect tradition, but part of that means recognizing that tradition develops. (Before anyone jumps on me, my problem with much 20th century liturgical reform isn't that it changed the liturgy but that it did so with so little apparent regard for the organic development of the liturgy, which is not something that happens overnight because a group of bishops and academics meeting in Rome decide that it should).


One of the criticisms of the Gothic Revival is that it tried to erase the years between the Renaissance and the 19th century, but this is erroneous: no Mediaeval building ever looked like All Saints' Margaret Street or the Houses of Parliament. The great architects of the Gothic Revival were in fact producing modern architecture that was inspired by forms from the Middle Ages. We should aim for the same.

On a purely aesthetic note, I think it's a great benefit that there should be vestments in different styles. For me at least, it's not a question of 'Gothic' vs 'Roman' (or, Spanish, or what have you), but of good design and craftsmanship over bad, and good design and craftsmanship can exist in any style. Even very modern vestments can be lovely (Matisse designed a very nice Requiem set).

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'Still the towers of Trebizond, the fabled city, shimmer on the far horizon, gated and walled' but Bize her yer Trabzon.

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Metapelagius
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quote:
Originally posted by Clafoutis:
quote:
given that the function of a parka to someone living in the 20th/21st century is much the same as that of a paenula / planeta to a 2nd/3rd century Roman, why not?

But there is no evidence whatever (is there?) of the use of a pænula or planeta in the 1st - 3rd century in the context of Christian liturgy - unless we clutch at the straw offered by 2 Tim 4.13.

And - on a different point - the planeta was distinctively the mark of a gentleman; I am not sure if a 'parka' is. [/QB]

The painting in the catacombs of Priscilla is fuzzy, at least in the reproduction I have, but the dress depicted looks to be something like a planeta. The planeta was the mark of a gentleman - well, sort of. The concept of 'fashion' as we know it (Paris collections and the like, 'designer' clothes &c) was entirely unknown in ancient Rome. The military wore uniform; there was prescribed garb for senators and other public officials - the sort of people that would roughly match our concept of 'gentlemen'. It was their everyday dress; there was no real concept of formal versus leisure wear. If they happened to be christians they would have worn their habitual garb for the liturgy. What else would they have worn, given that there was no variety of fashion as we understand it?

Our class connotations of the parka as opposed to a well tailored overcoat are one thing, but the underlying principle - ordinary clothes for church at that time - is the same.

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Rec a archaw e nim naccer.
y rof a duv. dagnouet.
Am bo forth. y porth riet.
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Metapelagius
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
So wearing contemporary clothing is one way of following tradition, and wearing the stuff we've always worn is also a way of following tradition. But wearing contemporary clothes must be a slightly older tradition because it precedes the freezing in time type of tradition. No vestments is therefore slightly more traditional than vestments.

Precisely, but there is a widespread feeling that some sort of distinctive garb for "the folks at the front" is helpful, and a good thing.

Then there was the quote from a Baptist Minister read out by David Frost on his television programme many years ago. "I shall wear nothing to distinguish me from members of my congregation." Depends on where you put the stress .... [Two face]

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Rec a archaw e nim naccer.
y rof a duv. dagnouet.
Am bo forth. y porth riet.
Crist ny buv e trist yth orsset.

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by (S)pike couchant:
Even very modern vestments can be lovely (Matisse designed a very nice Requiem set).

Not just the requiem ones either.

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Enoch
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There should be no difficulty in finding a parka in dingy green, but do they also exist in dingy white/gold, red, purple or black?

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(S)pike couchant
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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by (S)pike couchant:
Even very modern vestments can be lovely (Matisse designed a very nice Requiem set).

Not just the requiem ones either.
I'd not seen those. I do have to say, though, that I think I prefer his requiem set. The restriction of the colours to black and white meant that it's somewhat less jarring than some of those. Still, perhaps if it were very sunny and I were in the right mood (which would probably involve quite a lot of iced rosé), I could appreciate those as well. The point is that they're designed with some thought. Modern doesn't have to equal mindlessly mass produced polyester (although, again, if that's what the parish can afford, its cheapness does no dishonour to God).

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hatless

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Thanks for your reply, Trisagion. V

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hatless

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Thanks for your reply, Trisagion. Very helpful and very fair. Yes, I was being tongue in cheek when I described the adoption of the chasuble (and much else) as relatively recent, and the Protestant wish to be like the early churches and to pole vault over the intervening centuries is neither possible nor honest. We Baptists in particular play fast and loose with traditions, and we shouldn't.

I think the idea of a given needs more exploration. There are givens, such as the canon, and that's arguably true and important despite a little inconsistency or two in the contents table in our Bible. For many, vestments and liturgical texts may also be given, but not for Baptists. I'm one of the more liturgical Baptists, but that's a choice, not a given. If I were to wear a chasuble, or some contemporary equivalent, again, it would be a choice, and a very eccentric one at that. (You can get away with such things as a Baptist, though.)

Baptists and others are not only people who once broke with tradition, but people who continue to see tradition as a developing thing, almost a challenge to innovate. One of the things we bring to worship is our desire to re-coin the traditions in new ways, making them powerful by making them fresh. This is not quite the opposite to Dix's sense of continuity in time and space, there can be continuity within the change, but it's a very different approach.

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hatless

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and, (S)pike couchant, I agree with almost all of your post in response to me. (I was being flippant about history.) Your point about the Gothic Revival, though, is interesting. If tradition is a living thing, like a river, perhaps, and should be developed by those who are within its flow, there will always be a tension between preservation and change. We have to look backwards as well as forwards and find roots as well as new directions, and we have to balance the two.

The Gothic Revival may be a development of Medieval architecture, and Seventeenth and EIghteenth Century architecture was perhaps a development with roots in Greek styles, but the Gothic Revival does seem unusually retrospective, and its adoption by many churches has tended to set churches apart from their culture. Not entirely. There are GR town halls all over the north of England, but in the churches I think GR fed an unhealthy fear of the new over the past century and a half.

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Clafoutis
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quote:
The painting in the catacombs of Priscilla is fuzzy, at least in the reproduction I have, but the dress depicted looks to be something like a planeta.
This is extremely interesting, and I would be very interested to know which particular fresco you believe depicts a planeta.

quote:
The concept of 'fashion' as we know it (Paris collections and the like, 'designer' clothes &c) was entirely unknown in ancient Rome.
But common sense tells us that this isn't true. As long as men and women have put rags on their backs (at least since the neolithic age), fashion, emulation, envy and absurdity in clothing have surely existed.

And as regards the period in question we know e.g. that slaves who could set a toga 'just so' were highly regarded. And we know the sensation Heliogabalus caused when he wore (of all things) a dalmatic in the forum.

quote:
there was no real concept of formal versus leisure wear.
The ladies in bikinis that I saw the other day in the Roman pavement under the Patriarchal Basilica at Aquileia seem to suggest the contrary.

And Cincinnatus, [simply to pick a random but celebrated example] when called from the plough, famously knew that it wasn't quite decent to meet a deputation of the Roman Senate in his shirt.

quote:
What else would they have worn…?
They could have worn their tunicæ - like Cincinnatus at the plough; like the vast throng of plebeians; and like the majority of the figures in the frescos at the Catacombs of Priscilla.

quote:
[The planeta] was their everyday dress… If they happened to be christians they would have worn their habitual garb for the liturgy. What else would they have worn…?
Exactly. If one holds (as I do) that Christian was ab initio an essentially middle class phenomenon then naturally they would have worn the dress that was formal and conservative - the planeta.

I do not disagree with you Metapelagius. I think that the chasuble is important. I would not attend Mass where the priest is too bone-idle to lift one over his head. I take the 'highest' view possible of the phelenion that St Paul wanted sent on from Troas. I think that the planeta was customarily worn liturgically in the pre-Constantinian church.

I simply think that the evidence for all this is thin to vanishing point. (Hence my interest in the Priscilla fresco).

I know of no reference to a 'planeta-with-ecclesiastical-significance' before (significantly in my opinion) the Life St Patrick.

[fixed code]

[ 27. August 2012, 21:53: Message edited by: seasick ]

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leo
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Gothic for me, every time - they indicate grace and generosity.

Fiddlebacks? Hate them. Graceless, cutback, mean.

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(S)pike couchant
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Gothic for me, every time - they indicate grace and generosity.

Fiddlebacks? Hate them. Graceless, cutback, mean.

And just after I was trying to convince hatless that the shape of the chasuble is simply a matter of style, leo comes along with his typically charming and well-reasoned take on things. [Roll Eyes]

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'Still the towers of Trebizond, the fabled city, shimmer on the far horizon, gated and walled' but Bize her yer Trabzon.

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sebby
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Perhaps there is a via media between Gothic and Latin shape - the Spanish.

Although fiddleback-ish, they tend not to have that gaping hole in the front but can look more like a graceful cello. Like the Latin shape they have the advantage of allowing the celebrant's arms a degree of unhindered movement.

Long gothic chasables - like the ones Pope John Paul II favoured - have a similar awkwardness to vestment sets containing a maniple. The folds of flapping cloth tend to get in the way.

Interestingly a number of people who dislike maniples intensely, and claim the lack of practicality at the altar as a reason for not using them, are also great fans of the voluminious gothic. It leads me to assume that the dislike of the maniple by some is an aethetical preference for the 'post-Vatican II spirit' - as opposed to the merely Vatican II spirit, of course.

I presume it is the former that the reform of the Reform under BXVI is seeking to balance.

This is an observation. I have no personal preference.

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Metapelagius
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The painting I had in mind is the 'fractio panis'.

quote:
There are three striking points of difference between ancient and modern dress. Firstly, both in Greece and Rome women's dress in outward appearance was very similar to men's and a Greek wife could, and often did, wear her husband's cloak out of doors. Secondly, there was little fashionable alteration in the garmants worn by both sexes, and none of the bewildering changes in body contour. Thirdly, wearing apparel was usually home-made and the same piece of home-spun cloth could serve as a garment, a blanket or a shroud. - F A Wallbank in the Oxford Classical Dictionary
Hence my reference to the absence in antiquity to the concept of fashion as we know it. There may have been attention to detail - 'setting a toga' just so - but that toga was the toga as it ever was. Similarly, with a limited wardrobe, there could still be a right or wrong thing to wear - as in the case of Elagabalus that you mention. Elagabalus was in any case a thoroughly disreputable character, even if the account of his life in the Historia Augusta is more entertaining than reliable. I think I can picture the 'bikini ladies' mosaic that you mention - is it the one reproduced in Seltman's Women in Antiquity (I can't see my copy for the moment)? - if so, iirc the women are engaged in some sort of sporting activity which would require a measure of déshabillé.

The story of Cincinnatus (fl. 450 BC) is well known, but 'details of his career probably are derived from popular poetry' - OCD again.

A more intersting point (though nothing to do with the shape of chasubles) would be to establish from what social background the clergy in the church of the pre-Constantinian period came, and hence their likley everyday costume.

Which life of S. Patrick is the one to which you refer - Jocelyn of Furness?

--------------------
Rec a archaw e nim naccer.
y rof a duv. dagnouet.
Am bo forth. y porth riet.
Crist ny buv e trist yth orsset.

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Edgeman
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quote:
Originally posted by sebby:
Perhaps there is a via media between Gothic and Latin shape - the Spanish.

Although fiddleback-ish, they tend not to have that gaping hole in the front but can look more like a graceful cello. Like the Latin shape they have the advantage of allowing the celebrant's arms a degree of unhindered movement.

Yes, they are a bit more graceful. They also do not need as much lining and often are lighter.


quote:
I presume it is the former that the reform of the Reform under BXVI is seeking to balance.

Indeed . [Biased]

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cosmic dance
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I am reading all this with great interest and learning a lot. The question I have, which I have already asked on another thread and not received a satisfactory answer is this: What is the theological meaning of the chasuble in present use? What ideas or beliefs separate the wearer from the non-wearer? In my experience in the Anglican church (down here in the Antipodes) some priests choose to wear it and others don't. What are they indicating by this choice?

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Hatless, I'm part of that tradition that pays a lot of attention to the minutae of chasubles and other such things. I do think for those of us who are part of that tradition, the chasuble serves as a visible reminder and symbol of what we are about in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. However, what is most important is not symbol but reality. At the end of the day I'm far more concerned that the Eucharist be celebrated with all reverence rather than what vesture we use and all that sort of thing. I've seen priests reverently celebrate the Mass vested in surplice and stole, and other priests to my perception carelessly preside with no apparent reverence whilst vested in the chasuble. Reading this thread I'm reminded of what the Rev Chris Hines - the son of a late bishop of the Diocese of Texas and Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church - once said to a congregation (of which I was one) gathered for a Sunday evening Eucharist at the Episcopal student chapel at the University of Texas sometime around 1974. He came out of the sacristy vested in alb and stole, but without the chasuble that was usual there. He addressed us thus: "You may notice that I am not wearing the chasuble this evening. That is because the air conditioning has broken down and it is quite hot. The word "chasuble" means "little house". Therefore, rather than a shelter of fabric, let us take refuge in that House which we have in the Blessed Sacrament." And then he started Mass: "Almighty God unto Whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from Whom no secrets are hid..."
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Mr. Rob
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:


... I wonder if anyone considers doing a modern equivalent, such as wearing a parka to celebrate the eucharist. It would demonstrate solidarity with rough sleepers and, according to the Wikipedia page on anoraks, call to mind a link with breast-feeding mothers.

That, to my Baptist mind, is the sort of thing liturgy is about, and how it can be powerful. It can, though, slip into silliness very easily, whether it's wearing parkas or worrying about the shape of a traditional chasuble.

I would welcome insights for a Baptist who is innocent of the camps and politics of vestments.

You gotta be be joking. Anoraks or parkas? What are "rough sleepers" anyway? People who sleep out in the woods?

Here we go, reinventing the wheel again.
*

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Mamacita

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"Rough sleeping" is a phrase I've seen used by many of our British shipmates to refer to homelessness. Someone who sleeps on the streets.

And I could be wrong, but I think the bit about the anoraks is more of a rhetorical device than a plan.

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Mamacita

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quote:
Originally posted by (S)pike couchant:
And just after I was trying to convince hatless that the shape of the chasuble is simply a matter of style, leo comes along with his typically charming and well-reasoned take on things. [Roll Eyes]

Hostly Blue Scarf On

(S)pike Couchant, you have been previously warned here and here about sniping at other posters. If you have a personal issue with another shipmate, take it to Hell.

Mamacita, Eccles Host

Hostly Blue Scarf Off


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Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

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Doublethink.
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It struck me at the time of the flu pandemic, that an awful lot of ritual and vestiture around the eucharist existed for practical reasons - it has become so ritualistic that when we really needed it we had to institute a second set of precautions.

So clergy & servers come to church in street dress (cassock or variant there of) - this this being a long time ago they may have been wearing this street clothing for weeks without effective washing. Consequently, out of reverence, they ensure they wear something obviously clean on top (which also lowers risk of contamination) hence an alb. The amice stops it getting specially dirty and difficult to clean about the neck.

Anything that holds the sacrament is made of precious metal often silver - which is easier to clean and slightly anti-septic, lowering risk of contamination. Only the priest handles the food items directly (lowering risk of contamination) - first he washes his hands (lowering risk of contamination), then he dries them. Conveniently he is carrying a towel for this purpose (maniple, later on people got focused on that as a vestment, so they provided another towel).

When moving the food items around they are covered with a cloth (lowering risk of contamination, flies etc.).

I had therefore assumed the poncho-like chasuble was basically doing duty as an apron.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Trisagion
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The great weakness in your argument, Doublethink, is that it betrays an anachronistic concern about infection and the link between it and cleanliness.

[ 28. August 2012, 06:43: Message edited by: Trisagion ]

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Doublethink.
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Infection perhaps, but I think cleanliness was linked to holiness. Being washed clean of sin as a metaphor, for example.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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dj_ordinaire
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I would agree that the link is cleanliness rather than anti-infection concerns. You could have added the use of incense to your list - except that its role was clearly to mask unpleasant smells rather than do anything about their causes!

(There is a ceremonial liturgical apron by the way - it is called a gremiel and is used by bishops, I believe when handling oils... I suppose the inference is that clergy can be trusted not to pour wine on themselves but that oil might be more difficult to deal with).

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
Infection perhaps, but I think cleanliness was linked to holiness. Being washed clean of sin as a metaphor, for example.

I think you'll find that the concept of cleanliness being close to godliness is a late Victorian one in the UK*, and applied principally to the middle and upper classes. Until quite recently - the last 150 years or less - lice were referred to as "the pearls of God".


* It probably came about much earlier in the US, Canada, Aust, and NZ. I'm not so sure about Europe in gemeral, and there are still many countries elsewhere which use a different standard.

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aumbry
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
and, (S)pike couchant, I agree with almost all of your post in response to me. (I was being flippant about history.) Your point about the Gothic Revival, though, is interesting. If tradition is a living thing, like a river, perhaps, and should be developed by those who are within its flow, there will always be a tension between preservation and change. We have to look backwards as well as forwards and find roots as well as new directions, and we have to balance the two.

The Gothic Revival may be a development of Medieval architecture, and Seventeenth and EIghteenth Century architecture was perhaps a development with roots in Greek styles, but the Gothic Revival does seem unusually retrospective, and its adoption by many churches has tended to set churches apart from their culture. Not entirely. There are GR town halls all over the north of England, but in the churches I think GR fed an unhealthy fear of the new over the past century and a half.

Is there much evidence that churches that have classical architecture are doing better than those with gothic? In a year when half of all the Methodist churches in Pembrokeshire have been closed the indication would seem to be the opposite.
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Stephen
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Well......Mt.Pleasant Baptist Church in Swansea is packed to the rafters from what I hear, and that has a classical facade
By Methodist do you mean Wesleyan Methodist or Calvinistic Methodist - ie Presbyterian? It causes no end of misunderstandings!
The Wesleyans seem to be doing OK at least in Wales' second city AFAICT - although if I'm wrong Seasick will no doubt correct me
However this seems to be a tangent
With chasubles, as far as I'm concerned Gothic reigns supreme. I hate those Latin fiddlebacks - they are an abomination

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dj_ordinaire
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
Infection perhaps, but I think cleanliness was linked to holiness. Being washed clean of sin as a metaphor, for example.

I think you'll find that the concept of cleanliness being close to godliness is a late Victorian one in the UK*, and applied principally to the middle and upper classes. Until quite recently - the last 150 years or less - lice were referred to as "the pearls of God".

Hmm. Don't know about that - what about 'Thou shalt purge me with hyssop Lord, and I shall be clean'? (Hyssop being a natural form of soap).

I think the line from Blackadder might also be apposite - you can tell he's a king because 'He isn't covered in shit'.

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Flinging wide the gates...

Posts: 10335 | From: Hanging in the balance of the reality of man | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Spike

Mostly Harmless
# 36

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quote:
Originally posted by dj_ordinaire:
I think the line from Blackadder might also be apposite - you can tell he's a king because 'He isn't covered in shit'.

[pedant mode on]
That was from Monty Python and the Holy Grail
[/pedant]

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"May you get to heaven before the devil knows you're dead" - Irish blessing

Posts: 12860 | From: The Valley of Crocuses | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
venbede
Shipmate
# 16669

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Isn't "fiddleback" a misnomer? The fiddle shaped side was the one on the front of the priest, with scallops in the front to allow the arms to work. The back was straight sided.

I suppose if you imagine the priest with her back to the congregation, then the fiddle side is the back from that point of view. Back is the new front.

I must say I'm no longer such a Vatican II purist as I was, and I don't mind eastward facing celebration, and I don't mind the shape of the chasuble. Westward facing with style and large chasuble for preference, but I'm just grateful for taking the liturgy seriously and not reducing it to a patronising school assembly.

[ 28. August 2012, 19:39: Message edited by: venbede ]

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Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Posts: 3201 | From: An historic market town nestling in the folds of Surrey's rolling North Downs, | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged



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