Sunday, June 29, 2008

Benedict XVI, Style Icon

The media buzz was probably so irritating to the Vatican that L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican blurb had to make a press statement that the Pope doesn't wear Prada.

That started when almost right after his election, the Pontiff was spotted by the fashion savvy wearing red loafers presumbably made by the Italian fashion house.

Here's what the Telegraph says about it all.

The Pontiff brought back red accessories, the medieval camauro, red copes, red vestments and of course the red Saturno cap. Papal watchers said that these fashion accessories were not worn since John XXIII was on the papal throne. In a visit to an orphanage at Christmastide John XXIII was mistaken for Santa by the poor kids. The Good Pope chuckled and never corrected the error! But for Benedict, only the extremely myopic can mistake the Professorial Pope for Father Christmas.

Succeeding Pontiffs Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II were not fashion icons. John Paul II needed only his face to be The Icon. After all this former actor knew that how the lines are delivered and emoted are more important than the costumes or set design.

Benedict isn't an actor. But one thing is sure, this Pope does make a fashion splash. The waves generated are the waves of tradition. This is consistent with his theology. He has successfully popularized the Latin Mass once more.

Benedict isn't the only cleric to have made an ecclesiatical fashion splash of sorts. Katherine Jefferts-Schori, first woman Primate of the US Episcopal Church wore rainbow cope for her enthronement.

Of course that was a politico-theological statement in itself. Jefferts-Schori supported the ordination of the Anglican Communion's first openly homosexual bishop. This is just one of the more recent controversies to rock Anglicanism in the past 10 years ever since the last Lambeth conference where Anglican bishops declared that homosexuality is incompatible with what the Bible teaches.

While Benedict's fashion statements seem to stabilize the Bark of Peter on choppy seas, Jefferts-Schori's statements have threatened to split and sink the Anglican coracle.

The fashion statements of leading clerics really do matter!

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