vrijdag, juli 11, 2008

Cappafobie!? Ook aanwezig in de Lage Landen?

Cappaphobia: mental disorder afflicting progressive Catholics (met dank aan Telegraph)
The stress of modern life is generating new kinds of mental illness, sometimes taking the form of irrational fear of certain objects. The latest example is an obscure disorder called cappaphobia. It is caused by cappa magna choralis and chiefly targets the elderly, many of whom may already be suffering from dementia.

I first came across this clinical condition when shown a samizdat publication issued by a beleaguered group of progressive Catholics from an address in King Street Cloisters, which atmospherically evokes a huddled catacomb. A letter to the editor began: "Seeing Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos vested in a cappa magna in Westminster Cathedral was a chilling experience."

An accompanying photograph, without even the health warning "May contain some flash vestments", illustrated the offending garment, a long train of scarlet moire silk being worn by Cardinal Castrillon at the celebration of the Tridentine Mass in Westminster Cathedral on June 14. The acute allergic reaction this vesture produces among cappaphobics should not be underestimated.

The cappa magna, a ceremonial cloak for cardinals and bishops, was first regularised in 1464. In 1952 Pius XII, in a misguided fit of radicalism, shortened the cardinalitial cappa from six yards to three. That moment marked the beginning of the Church's downward trajectory. In 1969 Paul VI, in an orgy of vandalism reminiscent of the burning of patents of nobility in the French National Assembly in 1789, abolished the winter ermine hood on the cappa, along with the cardinals' galero hat, the red tabarro cape, buckled shoes and just about everything that compensated for the sacrifices Catholicism imposes on the faithful.

Now Benedict XVI, by resuming the ornamental half-sleeves on his soutane outlawed by Paul VI, has effectively signalled the repeal of the drabby sumptuary laws of 1969. This places cappaphobes at high risk of exposure. Perhaps, on the lines of the pollen count warnings, there should be a cappa count.

Jerusalem should be avoided, since the Latin Patriarch uniquely retains the ermined cappa. World Youth Day is likewise off limits since it is hosted by the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Pell, who flaunted a six-yard cappa at the last gathering. Rome might seem safe, since Paul VI forbade the cappa within the Eternal City. Rumour has it, however, that Pope Benedict has commissioned a 30-piece set of baroque vestments modelled on those of Leo X, which could be equally traumatic.

A letter from another cappaphobe the following week, in the same publication, observed: "It would be interesting to know if the silk cappa magna worn by the cardinal could be sold for the poor in accordance with Jesus' instruction." There is a slight error in exegesis here. Jesus said, "The poor you have always with you"; the apostle who raised the bolshie question about selling the expensive balm with which Our Lord was being anointed was Judas Iscariot.

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