17 June 2010

Birettas

In the new picture of me which graces this blog (a message, by the way, to the reader who said it made me look rather schoolmasterly: "I know where you live ..."), I am not wearing a biretta. Readers have wondered why. This is part of STEP (the S Thomas's Ecumenical Policy). In admiration of the FSSP usage, I wear a biretta in and out of church. But out of admiration for the great Archbishop Lefebvre and for the SSPX, I do not preach in one. Additionally, my biretta has no bobble. That is because I am reserving the bobble-spot for a blue bobble ... or, indeed, a bobble of any ecumenically significant colour.

19 comments:

Christian said...

Interestingly, at Econe no birettas are ever worn. Nor at the FSSP seminaries. This is, I am told by an old friend of the Archbishop's, because the venerable founder did not wish the Traditionalist Movement to become associated with mere fripperies (a problem that seems to be creeping in amongst some of the New Traditionalists) and an emphasis on the doctrinal issues to be maintained. This is one of the reasons the Archbishop also pointedly wore Gothic style vestments on occasion.

Shawn said...

I fear that Christian's explanation is not exactly true: Archbishop Lefebrve was a member of the Holy Ghost fathers before being becoming a bishop and so was accustomed to not wear a biretta when on the missions. This was copied by the seminarians and priests that eventually followed him into the SSPX.

You will find the SSPX clergy in England and the USA wear birettas. They are also worn in the FSSP seminary in Denton, Nebraska.

Shawn said...

Also the truly Roman biretta has no bobble, just like the ones used by the Oratorians.

Conchúr said...

Blue bobble? Are we to take it that once you are incardinated in the English ordinariate you shall be applying for membership of the ICKSP?

+ Edwin said...

I think the patrimony will entail your adopting a Canterbury Cap; but we might commission one in blue for the more distinguished members. +E

Christian said...

Shawn,

My informant tells has told me to tell you that he is very sure of what he is talking about and that "he archbishop forbade birettas, allowed only fringeless cinctures (these modelled on the French seminary in Rome, not on the Holy Ghost fathers) imposed the liturgical books of 1962 in order to avoid useless controversies in his seminaries. Once people were ordained they were allowed to wear birettas if they really wanted to, but this was never the norm anywhere in his time. No exceptions to 1962 were allowed, and this helped bring about the minischism in the USA led ny Frs Sanborn and Kelly."

Jonathan said...

Shawn - truly Roman biretta?

Is the bobble on a biretta a nasty protestant joke that Rome hasn't understood?

I bought mine in Florence and it has a bobble
OK so Florence isn't Rome but it's mighty close ;-)

The Sibyl said...

Bring back the use of the amice as the headcover I say! Really if a biretta is not part of your normal head dress when your getting about, why on earth would you use it liturgically, after all it's not a vestment (like the amice it seems to replace).

Dominic Mary said...

I'm afraid I'm concerned about 'admiration for the great Archbishop Lefebvre' . . . should one really admire a schismatic ?

And Shawn is entirely correct : the Roman biretta has no pompom - as exemplified not only by the Oratorians (who also - at least in the UK - wear the traditional 'Roman' style of cassock), but also - and perhaps more definitively - by the Cardinals.

Joshua said...

The Latin Mass chaplains in Melbourne (both ex-FSSP) don't wear birettas at all.

Quot homines, tot sententiæ.

GOR said...

"...a message, by the way, to the reader who said it made me look rather schoolmasterly: "I know where you live ..."

Er, if the biretta fits, Father...?

.....:)

Little Black Sambo said...

"Pompom" or "bobble"? That's another whole controversy.
(Fr Blagdon-Gamlen's was green.)

Little Black Sambo said...

Another thought: Fr H, you could wear a mortar board with a gold tassel. Very patrimonial.

Sui Juris said...

Or to extend your ecumenical reach, a crown, Armenian-style.

Shawn said...

... should one really admire a schismatic ?

Dominic - I don't think it is helpful at all to use libellous terms like the one above, when Rome does not use such words herself, out of caution and in this particularly delicate time.

As for the question of the Roman biretta: go to Gamerelli's and you will see what birettas they make (at extortionate prices).

Shawn said...

Christian: a priest in the SSPX informed me of why our European counterparts do not wear the biretta and that was the reason he gave. Like I said, the English and Americans wear the head-gear because that is part of the patrimony of the rite. In fact, the use of the biretta has not been abolished even for new rite.

Christian said...

That seems reasonable. Clearly, however, some English and American priests do follow the continental custom (my informant is very much of the old school, ordained in the 70's).

AndrewWS said...

LBS, IIRC, Fr Blaggers' biretta had a green pompom on the grounds that he was a chaplain of the Order of St Lazarus (http://www.st-lazarus.org.uk/). He certainly possessed a vast amount of tat, all or most of which was inherited by the present Canon Chancellor of the pro-cathedral in Valletta, Malta.

Dominic Mary said...

Shawn;
I'm well aware what Gammarelli - and Barbiconi, et hoc genus omne - make; but that doesn't alter the fact that the traditional Roman Biretta doesn't have a pompom on it; it's a modern accretion.

LBS;
I'm not sure that Fr H is entitled to that; the gold tassel for anyone but the Chancellor disappeared many years ago; prior to that it was the distinguishing mark of scions of the aristocracy, whose company was inevitably sought out by some - hence 'tuft-hunting'.