Saturday, September 18, 2010

Expose: Parish Fall Festivals

Documentary evidence...
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Watch for future blog posts examining these odd get togethers.
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Photo:  Cathy working the St. Helena's Autumn Daze Fall Festival.
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What?

The Importance of the Bishop.



Or, you can't have a synod without a bishop.
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St. Ignatius of Antioch became one of the first to write on the importance of the bishop in the life of the Church.  In his letter to the Church of Smyrna he stated, "Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be, even as wherever Christ Jesus appears, there is the Catholic Church."  I took this quote from the EWTN library rather than look through my books for relevant quotes on the necessity of the bishop who, no matter his age, "embodies the authority of God the Father."
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Many of us have at times expressed disappointment in some of the bishops of the Catholic Church for one reason or another, especially after the terrible scandals which have chastened the Church in recent decades.  Many times we might have signalled out a particular bishop when in fact our criticism ought to have been directed towards the bureaucracy created around that bishop(s).  This accounts for some of the watchdog monitoring of USCCB press releases and policies - that is not a bad thing BTW.  Even though we hear of 'bad' bishops from time to time, we cannot forget the primacy of the bishop(s); that where the bishop is, there is the Church.  As St. Ignatius wrote, "The bishop is to preside in the place of God, while the priests are to function as the council of the apostles, and the deacons, who are most dear to me, are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ." 
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As Canon Law makes clear, "By divine institution, Bishops succeed the Apostles through the Holy Spirit who is given to them.  They are constituted Pastors in the Church, to be teachers of doctrine, the priests of sacred worship and the ministers of governance." [Can. 375].
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So anyway...
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This weekend a group of Catholics are gathering in the Twin Cities to hold a 'synod' for Church reform.  The group calls itself Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, and they are meeting as the Synod of the Baptized: "Claiming Our Place at the Table"!  The group appears to have 500 registered attendees.  CCCR is in no way sanctioned by the Catholic Church or any diocese or archdiocese in the world.  In other words, they are acting with out the approval or recognition of the local ordinary, Archbishop Nienstedt, and therefore they are not representative of the Catholic Church - despite their claim, "we are church".
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How queer. 

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Art: CCCR Synod logo

Friday, September 17, 2010

"You would pluck out the heart of my mystery..."


Revealing everything online.
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People who 'live' online pretty much open up their lives to the world, especially if they are on Twitter, Facebook, chatrooms/forums, operate a blog, and so on.  Some writers think they are journalists, and they are in a way - their blogs can be a sort of public journal of their experience, or simply news blogs - hence the journalist identity.  In fact not a few real journalists actually blog.  All of us are writers simply because we write.  As writers, good or bad, we give out a lot of information by what we choose to write about.  We have followers and subscribers and regular readers who frequently want to know even more about us.  Therefore, in and through our online presence, we voluntarily give up a certain aspect of our privacy - our mystery.  If we give it away, we can't expect to be immune from critique - myself include BTW.
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That said, I was looking at the video of the Queen and the Pope, and thought what an amazing thing it was the Elizabeth II was entertaining a Pope of Rome, considering her predecessor, Elizabeth I had been excommunicated by an earlier Pope of Rome.  Both "Heads of State" had very different powers back then.  In their day they actually had powers, although today temporal power is no longer the property of either Head of State, and yet they command the world's attention?  Something the Queen Mother said in an interview came to mind as I tried to resolve my thought about all of this, "above things our royalty is to be reverenced, and if you begin to poke about it you cannot reverence it… Its mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic."  The Pope doesn't practice magic however, he is not a Magus or a performer, much less a figurehead, but the Vicar of Christ, whose temporal powers have gratefully been lifted off the shoulders of the papacy, and who more than ever before, reflects the true light which illuminates the mystery of Faith in the world.
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In addition, the Queen Mother's statement reminded me very much of Hamlet's speech - "you would pluck out the heart of my mystery..." - I wonder if this perhaps explains the lack of reverence we see in our day?  We have probed and poked about everyone and everything - we pretend to know and analyze and diagnose everyone and thereby attempt to pluck out the heart of their mystery.  All of us participate in this stripping away of mystery to varying degrees.  It is a cultural tendency.
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We look for the faults of our political and religious leaders as often as we do our heroes and celebrities.  Even in hagiography, the lives of the saints are stripped of their mystery and their faults and foibles are reinterpreted according to contemporary cultural standards; for instance, the claim that Sebastian was a homosexual, or Catherine of Siena was an anorexic.  Ven. JPII's teaching on theology of the body has been likewise twisted to suit profane knowledge, hence the sacraments and liturgy are profaned and sexualized.  Our scholars and many of their students probe and dissect everything religious and spiritual - making a career of religion without becoming holy.     
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How can we have faith if we seek approval from one another? [Jn 5:44]  We must be careful not to scatter the thoughts of our hearts before swine. [Mt 7:6]
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Art: Rublev's Christ.  I love this image, so disintegrated yet the light of Christ shines through.  It often reminds me of the verse from the Song of Songs: "Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices." - [Sngs. 2:9]

Sacred Stigmata of Our Holy Father St. Francis of Assisi

Oratio

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Dómine Jesu Christe, qui, frigescénte mundo, ad inflammándum corda nostra tui amóris igne, in carne beatíssimi Francísci passiónis tuæ sacra stígmata renovásti: concéde propítius; ut ejus méritis et précibus crucem júgiter ferámus, et dignos fructus poeniténtiæ faciámus: Qui vivis.
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Today is the anniversary of my profession at the tomb of St. Francis in Assisi - many years ago.
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A blessed feast day to all.


Art: The Sacred Stigmata, Francisco de Herrera, el Mozo (o el Joven)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This is funny...


I told a non-Catholic friend that Susan Boyle was singing for the Pope - and being the accomplished pianist he is - the Holy Father was scheduled to accompany her in his first 'gig' in the UK.  My friend thought that was cool.  See how non-Catholic, non-religious people are?  And yet we say the things we do online.
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Shame on you Anonymous!

The Pope in Britain: "The Bucket residence, the lady of the house speaking!"



What Does The Pope Really Say?
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"Just what he says Hyacinth - just listen to what he says.  Must you always do a play by play?"
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Some of the commentary on the Holy Father's visit will be tres grande, as in grandiose and haughty and perhaps just a tad pretentious.  Reminds me of when the Holy Father visited the U.S....  Oh, who can forget the wrenching, tearful coverage and the scalded criticism of the unsuitable fashions, vestments, flower arrangements, altar table arrangements:  "no, no, no you twit - move the candle over there!"  Oh!  Oh!  And the horrid music selections, the hideous lack of decorum, and what not - right down to the canonical meaning of the Holy Father's facial expressions.  Get out the hankies!   
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"If my Sheridan were here he'd be appalled!"

The Pope in Britain: Live Webcast

Click here for live webcast:  Live Feed.  It is very edifying to watch.
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Thanks to Lead Kindly Light blog.

The Pope in Britain: Don't mention the war!



He did though!
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The Holy Father barely stepped off the the plane and then:
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The German pope spoke glowingly of Britain's history and, significantly because of his own background, praised its people for standing up to the "Nazi tyranny" that was wreaked on the country by his own people in World War II. - Pope in UK 
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I can't wait to hear what else he says.
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"Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity."


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Photo: Don't mention the war!
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Tradition, Family, Property: Good group or bad group?


“The Church Must Protest Against Laws Favoring Homosexuality” (Crusade, September/October 2010)
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I've read some terrific things written by TFP's Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira - I'm not certain if he founded TFP or was simply a spokesman/contributor to the organization, but I have referred often to his lives of the saints and history of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The only personal contact I've ever had to TFP members were a couple of people I worked with at a religious goods store in St. Paul.  They are TLM traditionalists, home-schoolers, and faithfully Roman Catholic - no sedevacantists.  Their political views are rather conservative, nothing wrong with that of course, although some people may find them a little too much so.  Although one idea I heard from TFP member which struck me as rather novel for a Yankee, was that the South should have been the victor in the Civil War; another concept I'm not accustomed to is their apparent preference for monarchism.  Again, nothing wrong with that, in fact I find the idea interesting, if not attractive some days.
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Anyway, my friend Thom posted on how the church he attends inserted TFP literature into the Sunday bulletin, presumably with the pastor's permission.  The literature offended Thom's sensibilities as it concerned Church teaching on homosexual behavior, or to be more exact, the manner in which Church teaching was presented as well as an apparent inaccurate statement, stating homosexuality is an acquired vice.  It is true the Church doe not define it that way at all.  In fact the Catechism and document regarding the orientation states that the origins, reason for same sex attraction are unknown.  The upshot of the TFP document is that it came off as narrow minded, offensive and hostile against same-sex attracted persons.
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I've actually made similar statements to what the TFP handout states - but I was primarily addressing behavioral issues and addictive tendencies within gay culture, as well attempting to defend Church teaching against the propaganda of militant gay activists, always trying to respect the dignity of individuals in the process.  Naturally homosexual persons are offended whenever the tone becomes degrading and aggressive, and I have long tried to tone down my rhetoric so as not to offend in charity.  As my readers know, I've not always been successful. 
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That said, Church documents, as well as the Catechism presents the authentic Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality with charity, sensitivity and clarity, therefore it seems to me it ought to be given priority in religious instruction over literature from non-canonical lay organizations.   
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Aside from that, I was most surprised to read negative comments regarding TFP.  I know they are connected to America Needs Fatima, but I'm not sure if I mix up that group with the Fr. Gruner group.  I also realize that on another of their websites I link to for biographies of saints or devotion to the Blessed Virgin, are several posts one might label reactionary, anti-Vatican II, but I was sure these people were faithful Roman Catholics.  Anyone able to advise me on this?
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reverence for the Blessed Sacrament: Fragments.

Too scrupulous?

Reading Fr. Z and Fr. Mark of Vultus Christi, I noticed both priests have posts concerning reverence for the Eucharistic species.  In one case a priest asks a question of Fr. Z concerning fragments of the Eucharist left on the corporal.  I always wonder why priests would seek clarification of these matters online rather than approach their bishop, pastor or superior of their place, and/or their spiritual director?  After all, that is the ordinary chain of command in their obedience.  In another post on WDTPRS, a newly ordained priest asked if the pastor of the place he is assigned had the right to censor his homilies.  You bet he does - within reason - but if there is a real problem, an abuse of power, etc., the priest should bring his concerns to the chancery or directly to the bishop.  But I digress.  Such issues are instructive for the ordinary Catholic and it is another reason why enjoy reading Fr. Z.
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That said, Fr. Z's questioner reminded me of a situation I noted at my own parish.  I mentioned before that I am the last person at adoration in our parish, and so I must repose the Blessed Sacrament - I would rather not do this, but no one else is available.  Nearly every week I notice the corporal remains on the altar outside of Mass - some weeks there are red stains from the precious blood - or wine, I have no way of knowing which came first - as well as the occasional crumb(s).  The same corporal usually remains on the altar week after week.  The priest uses an oversized host - so we know how minute fragments scatter.  I was told not to worry because unless the fragments resemble actual bread, they are of no concern.  This in a day when we can view and study micron particles... 
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Now as a lay person I can see why I would bring these concerns to a priest - only to be regarded as overly scrupulous and a busy-body - so why bother?  Nevertheless, in the monastery I was always taught the corporal should be removed from a properly dressed altar after Mass.  (During exposition a properly cleaned corporal is used.)  Nevertheless, at least one bishop (before he was consecrated bishop) has offered Mass at my parish - during the week and on a weekend or two, while the pastor was away - and he too left the corporal on the altar.  I realize some things are just out of a lay-person's hands.
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Today is my adoration day, so I'll bring these matters to Our Lord, "who can do infinitely more than I can ask or imagine."  In the meantime, check out Fr. Z's post and then read Fr. Mark's at Vultus Christi.  Fr. Mark departs from his usual meditations and homililetics, asking serious questions concerning the 2004 document, The Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist.  Once again one might ask why his concern is not brought to the attention of his bishop or a higher authority, but I think the question is more or less rhetorical and meant for our instruction.
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Our Lady of Sorrows


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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Question about praying for the "Conversion of England".


Can we?  Should we?
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Can we, or even should we pray for the "conversion" of England (Anglican church) when we are currently told not to pray for the "conversion" of Russia (Orthodox Church) nor the "conversion" of the Jews?

Why I closed comments, and other curiosities.

What?

Unfortunately I lost patience a day or so ago with an anonymous commenter on what was supposed to be a humorous blogpost which was misunderstood and became something of a source of mild contention.  I used snarky language assuming that I was once again being accused of being unkind towards a Zany yet popular priest blogger.  I actually did a second post that I knew would be interpreted in exactly the same way - just to be mischievous...  (quick, cute shoulder hunch and mischievous smile to punctuate!).  Anyway, I removed both of the posts because their original intent was lost in the bickering and I did not want to be uncharitable or contentious.  I'm ashamed I allowed myself to get into defending myself and the post, and very sorry I told the commenter to remove...  Well anyway - I am truly very sorry.
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However, that is exactly the problem with anonymous commenters and often why bloggers do not permit them - one sometimes does not know if they be friend or foe.  A name, an identity is always helpful in conversation, unless you are in a confessional, but even then the parties engaged have some idea of who is speaking and know what is being said is not confrontational.  I clearly state in my com-box I do not accept anonymous comments - and yet people sign in anonymously.  I will allow the comments if they are signed and/or not offensive - yet even then I sometimes let things through.  I do this because some folks have difficulty registering or understanding how to place a comment in the first place.  And because I'm nice.
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At any rate, I closed comments for a short while.  I insensitively mentioned in a post now removed, a separate reason why I closed comments, noting it was due to reader complaints about borderline personality disordered commenters high-jacking the combox.  (Laugh now.  JK!)  However, I do like my colorful characters and the crazy things they can say - so I wonder if that is such a bad thing in itself?  I know that on that Zany yet popular priest's blog, the good father has many followers and commenters who can be downright arrogant and contentious at times, which is why I can sometimes get a little annoyed after reading the blog and comments.  But, like I always say, I like the man and he has wonderful posts.  His wit and eccentricities I find amusing and enjoyable, his knowledge scholarly and informative, his status curious, his followers and watchdogs...  But I digress.
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All in all this blog is mine - I write what I know, what I think about stuff, my personal interests, likes and dislikes, and so on.  It is disingenuous to write to please others, or to collect fans and followers - commercial blogs may have to please their audience, but I do not fund raise or sell anything here - I'm all stocked up on crazy. 
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Nevertheless, I'm not sure removing a post after it was published is the best idea either, although it doesn't really matter as it remains somewhere in cyberspace and Google reader.  Of course the action itself demonstrates that I changed my mind, came to my senses, or that I simply did not intend it to come off as it had been perceived or misunderstood, and truth be told - guldarnit, some posts just aren't good enough to remain in my archives.  I'm aware some readers find this idiosyncrasy of mine annoying - so I will try to be less impetuous about posting and removing or changing content after publication.
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In the meantime, I have to become more thick-skinned - as do you, gentle readers (eye roll), accepting the realities of the internet as it involves those inquisitor types who are masters at taking things out of context or digging up any mis-statement from the past; they are low-life, watchdog informants, whose misplaced zeal compels them to apprise their masters of any disagreement or potentially unflattering critique.  Cults form so quickly these days.
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I will re-open comments sometime soon - after all, that is what makes blogging fun, that's why people keep coming back to check if anyone agrees with them or not.  It's just a blog people - we can't take ourselves that seriously.  So take the stick - just kidding - (quick, cute shoulder hunch and mischievous smile).

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Glorious Cross


The monastic fast.
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During the great monastic fast, which lasts from 14 September to Ash Wednesday, except for Sundays and feast days, dinner is an hour later, and supper consists of a glass of wine and a crust of bread ne potus noceat (Carthusian Statutes).

Monday, September 13, 2010

For inappropriate humor and language, Lord have mercy.


Once again, I apologize for my recent bout of inappropriate humor and the use of bad language in one of my comments to an anonymous poster.  I am truly very sorry.  I will try to be a better man.

Newman Beatification To Reveal Papal Visit's Full Meaning.


Newman is “a source of inspiration for the Church and society in so many parts of the world." - Fr. Lombardi
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I knew L'Osservatore Romano was really into pop culture lately, but I was more than a little surprised when I read this:
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Newman's beatification will convey the full meaning of Pope Benedict XVI's message for the papal visit to the UK, the Holy See's spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has said. He added that Newman personified the "profound synthesis of the Christian faith and the British spirit."
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Fr. Lombardi dedicated his weekly "Octava Dies" editorial to the topic of Pope Benedict's imminent visit to the UK, examining the most important moments on the schedule. - CNA
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"But Father!  But Father!  Why wouldn't he beatify Newman in the U.S.?"
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"You'll find out at the beatification, son."
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I suppose Fr. Blake and Terry and Jackie Parkes and Shadow Lady and my other favorite British bloggers are fairly excited about this.

Best Political Ad EVER!



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H/T Drudge

Wanna-be monks and their cults.

Another lawsuit.
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A so-called Benedictine monastery accepted a gift from a postulant and refuses to give it back...  "When Eric E. Hoyle entered a monastery in Allegany County in 2005 expecting to become a Benedictine monk, he turned over just about everything he had to the monastery.  Operators of Most Holy Family Monastery in the rural Town of Fillmore accepted about $1.6 million from the former Maryland schoolteacher, who was 25 years old at the time.  But a disenchanted Hoyle ended up leaving the monastery after a couple of years, and soon after, he sued in federal court to get the money back. - The rest of the story here.

First of all, I'm fairly certain a postulant or novice is not expected to give up their wealth until final profession, and then it is not advisable or acceptable to 'donate' it to the congregation one is entering.  The 'donation' could become a source of pride and/or control on the part of the donor, having before his mind the knowledge that he contributed such wealth to the community.  I didn't check to see what canon law has to say on these matters, but common sense should suffice here. 
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That said, in this particular situation, the monastic community is not even in union with the Roman Catholic Church, much less any Benedictine Federation - they are sedevacantist nuts.  Hence the novice has no recourse to canon law or the jurisdiction of the Benedictine Order.  Stupid is as stupid does, but hopefully he can win his money back in civil court.
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People - you gotta watch your wallets with individuals or groups who profess to be religious - whether they are clerics, religious, or lay persons; trad, sede, or liberal.  There is great gain in religion and that is exactly why a few turn it into a career. 
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Photo:  One of the monks of Most Holy Family Monastery.  Story here

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kiss...


Mr. Peabody here:
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Not really - it's just me.  But yeah, the photo of JPII kissing the Koran always confused me and I never heard a good explanation for it - to my knowledge Ven. John Paul II never explained his actions either.  I came across some explanations by others online, one by a priest where he kind of bends over backwards to explain what the Pope did.  He doesn't know.  I think it is better if all of us just admit we don't know why he did it and leave it at that. 
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We also must accept the fact that his action was a personal response and not a witness to anything else.  Popes make mistakes - not when they speak ex-cathedra on faith and morals of course, but sometimes their personal thoughts and actions and statements may not always line up exactly how we expect they should.  St. Peter was corrected by St. Paul - so we see the first Pope made mistakes as well.  I know people very devoted to Ven. John Paul cannot tolerate the least criticism against him - but that is their problem, not mine.  Fact is, when a fellow Christian is at best confused, at worst scandalized, that is serious business and those affected should not be dismissed - Paul had much to say about that as well.
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It happened.
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Stuff happens - stuff gets taken out of context - nevertheless there is nothing wrong with delving into things to satisfy one's conscience.  One of the mistakes we laymen and pop scholars make is that we fail to understand the Holy Father's spirituality and mysticism which formed the foundation for all of his actions.  I may be wrong, but I think everything he taught emanated from a deeply Johannine (of the Cross) mysticism.  Like Edith Stein, who penetrated the teachings of the Teresian charism, I'm convinced John Paul II completely realized in himself, for modern times, the teaching of St. John of the Cross, to the extent that JPII's life and papacy had been informed by light and love alone.  It would be good if a genuinely spiritual scholar could undertake an examination or study on the subject, and write an exposition upon this dynamic in the life of John Paul II.  (Perhaps it has been attempted already.)  As it is, many today extract specific teachings or actions of his, failing to understand the mysticism which formed his teaching and world view.
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I see his mysticism especially in his Marian devotion, lovingly expressed through the Mysteries of Light...  the mysteries of light - shinning in the darkness of faith. 
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Never accuse me of suggesting John Paul II was an apostate or anything less than a saint.  Great?  I don't know - history alone determines that - not contemporary devotees and religious goods merchandisers.  Can I ask questions regarding what he personally said or did?  Definitely.

Fashion Week at the Abbey: The Clerical Sartorialist

This prelate, very probably a bishop since he is wearing violet silk stockings, wears the badge of his office (the double cross of the Holy Ghost surmounted by the Dove in a sunburst). Note, again, the enormous size of the hat: a Roman hat’s brim is much narrower, and would have looked small by comparison.

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19th Century Clerical Dress in Rome.


The Cardinal is wearing the red tabarro edged with gold braid and red silk stockings, and wears his coat unbuttoned, as usual in the 18th century. Note the elegant, worldly nonchalance of the Cardinal’s pose, and the coiffure à la Brutus, that had been fashionable in his youth.
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Legs.
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Obviously it was a boom-time for the Church, as hemlines went up...  Just kidding - really, I am.  I like the shorter look - They would have worn garters too.  I know!  Today they wear trousers beneath the soutane, that wouldn't look so great beneath these styles, or would it?  Maybe black spandex?  I digress - of course these fashions did change upon coming to Protestant and Puritanical America - after the Council of Baltimore or something like that - when back "in olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, but now, God knows, anything goes."
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Seriously, and with all due respect, the clerical wear seen here accorded with the fashion of the times, as the author of the post explains, "The cassock, sash, and biretta as well as the abito corto were respectively the common ceremonial dress of magistrates, priests and doctors of law, medicine, etc., and gentleman’s court dress. The abito corto adhered to the rules of the Council of Trent, which prescribed priest’s dress to be modest, austere, identifiable as priestly, yet dignified. These two forms of dress expressed the honourable public position held by the clergy in society." 
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Today the soutane, cassock is strictly ecclesial wear in the West. 
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H/T to New Liturgical Movement for the great post on the history of clerical dress.
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For real fashion news:  New York S/S 2011 Fashion Week Coverage