27 September 2008

Why no more papal slippers?

Paul VI and the spirit of the sixties from his personal secretary...

"This reform attained persons and ceremonies. The ancient choreography of the military corps: the Noble and the Palatine Guards disappeared. The Papal Court was drastically remodelled.

The canopy, feather fans and silver trumpets were no more.

When some Oriental bishops remarked that a golden cross decorating the papal slippers was a lack of respect for the Cross, he gave orders for it to be removed immediately.

He wanted to abolish the special chair [sedia gestatoria] which carried him on four men's shoulders, but no solution was found to allow the pilgrims to see the Pope easily.

The liturgical vestments lost their lace and everything else judged redundant, towards a religious sobriety and dignity.

To encourage such renewal he was the first to give example: he replaced the golden chain of the pectoral cross with a silk cord, and never wore a golden watch or gold-rimmed glasses, and never used a golden fountain pen."

-Paul VI The Man and His Message, by Archbishop Pasquale Macchi, 2007, pp. 65-66

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