15 April 2009

My biretta ...

... has had a busy life. It is not a 'show' biretta meant to go with a lace alb, but a working hat, out of shape and greying because of country churchyard burials during which, in the 42 years of my ministry, it has protected me from the elements.

It is a miraculous biretta. The pompom is gradually changing colour ... this is not a joke but sober fact ... from black to a reddish colour. I find this embarassing; I have never wanted to be a canon, and I don't think I would accept a canonry if offered. I wouldn't mind having a blue pompom like those Gricigliano chappies, but I don't know how to go about becoming their Anglican Annexe. But what am I to say when somebody asks me "Which Cathedral, Father, are you a canon of?"

I am minded to remove the pompom and go pompomless. But wouldn't that expose me to a charge of Aping the Oratory? Readers can help: am I right in thinking that the pompomless biretta is in fact the biretta of the clergy of the City of Rome itself? Is there any reason why the Anglican Clergy should be entitled to wear the garb of the Clerus Urbanus?

I think I've just thought of one. More tomorrow.

8 comments:

Jacob Hicks said...

I know of one clergyman who removed his pompom because he didn't like it. When he was made a canon, the pompom returned...

BillyD said...

Perhaps it would help if we could see exactly how much color change is involved.

Of course, you could opt for a Canterbury cap...

Pastor in Valle said...

Dear Father, I have never understood the Anglo-Catholic attachment to the shabby: why not simply buy yourself a new biretta, and keep the old one for sentiment's sake?

ex_fide said...

....or buy a new one from Poland (cheap, all weathers, can be boiled) and install the old one on a statue of the Saint Cure d'Ars, where it will ever remind you of the saint's holy poverty.

Rubricarius said...

Since when have birettas been mentioned in the Ornaments Rubric?

Much better to wear a proper clerical cap.

BillyD said...

Why would you need (or want) to boil a biretta? Do they need to be periodically sterilized or something?

Christian said...

I, personally, prefer pom-pom-less birettas. I would recommend, however, that you keep your pom-pom. This is because most Anglo-Catholics tend to ape the French style of vestment. The pom-pom is very French. Not to have one is very Italian. I assume that your vestments are mainly in the French style so for consistency a pom-pom would be better.

An interesting side note you might like is that pom-poms were banned for all none priestly clergy by Paul VI; that is to say, seminarians may not wear pom-pommed birettas. It has become customary, however, for the 1917 Code of Canon Law to be followed exclusively when one celebrates the Old Rite. Thus if you see a modern Roman seminarian with a pom-pommed biretta you can be sure that he is an Old Rite attender. :-)

Magister said...

Go one, Father, let's see a photograph of you wearing the venerable relic!