The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I Nearly Wet My Pants....

from excitement when I saw this video on Fr. Chadwick's links page. It is footage from the coronation of Pius XII. Inspiring stuff, especially for superficial people like me who get very bored following all of the complicated theological arguments that go on in blogdom.

My one thought, being the true child of the barrio that I am, was, "Damn, how gangsta!" I mean, back then, people with power knew what power meant. "That's right, kiss my feet. I am the Vicar of Christ." I mean, if you demand respect, you get respect. If you get carried around in a chair, that means you are too important to walk, and everyone from the professor to the butcher could see that. All of this wanting to stream-line ceremonies and priests saying "Don't call me 'Father'. Call me Bill", is a bunch of effeminate rubbish and that wouldn't last five minutes in the barrio or ghetto. You would get punked and jacked in a minute, and people would just clown your a!#. Maybe that's why people feared the Catholic Church back then and step on it now: we used to be thugs, but thugs for Christ. And we made no apologies about how we believed and how we showed that belief.

Watch the video and see if you see what I am talking about.


At 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had that up a last week. I also have a few other on my blog too , just scroll down from main page. When he comes out on the sedia with the Palatine Gaurds with swords! Old- fashioned Italian Patriarchy still kicks ass indeed!

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Han Ng said...

"'That's right, kiss my feet. I am the Vicar of Christ.' I mean, if you demand respect, you get respect. If you get carried around in a chair, that means you are too important to walk, and everyone from the professor to the butcher could see that."

Sed contra, Mark 10:42-44 -
"But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all."

Isn't this the Orthodox critique of the Roman Papacy?

At 3:47 PM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

A valid critique, Han, but one that we shouldn't take too literally. After all, the Orthodox also call their priests "Father" and their bishops, "Lord". The power and dignity comes from God, and is God's, but it is real and inhabits that person.

Of course, I am all for a smaller Papacy, but I don't think that necessarily has to affect Papal ceremonial.

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Seraph said...

I have to agree with Han. When the original Peter met Cornelius, he forbade the centurion to bow down before him. I also worried, when I saw the face of Pius XII after he was enthroned, that he was trying to be the Oracle of Delphi redivivus. The simpler, modern ceremony I found much more edifying.

BTW, that Aggionamento "Rigour" site is both fascinating and really sick...made me really glad I'm not RC.

Just to make clear, though, I have a love and admiration both for Pius XII and for your awesome site.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Han Ng said...

I am for hand kissing and eagle rugs as much as the next guy, but don't you think that foot kissing and a sedan chair crosses the line?

Seriously though, much of this Papal ceremonial dates from the Renaissance in imitation of the court ceremonial of Italian princes. I suppose the idea was to affirm the notion of the Pope's temporal authority, not merely over the Papal States, but over the nations. In contrast, the more outlandish Byzantine ceremonial post-dates the Muslim conquest and is a self-consciously nostaligic holdover from a Christian empire. Even then, it seems to be limited to paraphernalia--mitres, eagle rugs, Episcopal staffs with snakes (as opposed to croziers)--stuff like that--not Imperial ceremonial.

It seems to me that a smaller Papacy could keep the paraphernalia like the tiara, the fisherman's ring, cappa magnas and the like, and abandon the more secular ceremonial without imperiling the dignity of the office.

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

Okay fine, be a bunch of party-poopers. I concede all the criticisms to this post, but the stuff still looks really cool. Lighten up, people!

As for the Rigour site: yeah, creepy ain't it. You should know that I have encountered the author, Thomas Sparks, on another on-line forum, and it turns out that he said he wasn't even a Christian, and didn't really believe in God. (He praised Nietzsche to the high heavens.) It is a site to see, though.

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