Monday, February 25, 2013

Fr. Brian Van Hove, S.J. On The Camauro

Was it not Sigmund Freud who said that “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”? Ms. Randy Engel is naively American in her political faith and just too untraditional in her statement that the camauro is merely “camp.”
For all we knew, the pope’s personal physician may have ordered the elderly Benedict to wear a hat outdoors, and for a pope, there is no real choice except the historic camauro which is simply the pontifical biretta. John Allen (online National Catholic Reporter, 21 November 2010) wrote that in December 2005, Benedict XVI once sported the camauro, a thick woolen cap last worn by Pope John XXIII. Several commentators touted it as an example of Benedict’s traditionalism. But in the Peter Seewald interview, the pope says the reality was far more prosaic: It was a cold day, Benedict has a cold-sensitive head, the camauro was lying around, and he simply put it on. Benedict said he’s never done so since, “in order to forestall over-interpretation.” It remains to be seen whether the new pope elected in 2013 will do as Pope Benedict did in reviving the limited use of the camauro.
Camauro Etymology
Latin: camelaucum, from the Greek kamelauchion = camel skin hat. A cap traditionally worn by the pope. Camauros are red with white ermine trim, and are worn in place of the biretta of lower orders of clergy. The camauro is thought to represent the headgear of the “armor of God.” It has been part of the papal wardrobe since the 12th century. For a while, it was worn by cardinals, though without the ermine trim, but in 1464 it was restricted to the pope with cardinals wearing the scarlet zucchetto instead. The papal camauro fell into disuse after the death of Pope John XXIII in 1963, but Pope Benedict XVI wore one in December 2005.
Link (here) to Homiletic And Pastoral Review to the piece by Fr. Brian Van Hove, S.J.

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