Thursday, May 28, 2015

Are galeros making a comeback?

Cardinal Medeiros' galero (and two other galeros)

In 2001 Avery Dulles was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, but did not receive a galero, the cardinal's distinctive red hat.  Pope Paul VI had abolished those in 1969 AD, on the grounds that a galero was at odds with "the spirit of humility and poverty, which must always and preeminently shine forth" from cardinals.  And yet Dulles' galero hangs in the university church at Fordham University, where Dulles had resided for many years.  So where did the galero come from?

Perhaps Cardinal Humberto Medeiros' galero provides a clue.  Medeiros was made cardinal in 1973 AD by Pope Paul VI, the abolisher of galeros, and naturally didn't receive a galero on that occasion.  However, in 2010, Medeiros' galero was raised to the ceiling of Holy Cross cathedral in Boston.  Since Medeiros didn't get a galero from Pope Paul VI, where had the galero come from?  According to the Boston Pilot, Cardinal O'Malley of Boston had bought the galero while on a visit to Rome on other business.   The galero which was recently raised to the ceiling of Holy Name cathedral in Chicago had likewise been purchased for the late Cardinal George as a gift.  Cardinal George's galero joined Cardinal Bernardin's galero up on the ceiling, and Bernardin's (made a cardinal in the post galero year of 1983) had been a gift, too.

So Pope Paul VI may have abolished galeros, but galeros are making a quiet comeback as a popular gift item for a cardinal, though it's generally a posthumous gift, as in the cases of Cardinal Medeiros and Cardinal Bernardin.  If the cardinal is alive when he receives his galero, as Cardinal George was, a well-behaved cardinal will be mindful of Pope Paul VI's strictures, and modestly set his galero aside until the time comes for raising it to the cathedral ceiling.  In the meantime, a certain amount of private gazing upon or even wearing of the galero is to be expected.

Not all cardinals are so modest and well behaved.  Cardinal Burke, created a cardinal in 2010, has been wearing his galero around since 2011 AD, though I suspect Cardinal Burke's galero was not a gift.

If you're interested in buying a galero for a cardinal of your acquaintance, where is the best place to shop?  Alas, that seems to be a well-guarded secret.  For instance, Barbiconi of Rome sells saturnos and various cords to be worn on saturnos, but no galeros.   Gammarelli has black felt hats, and a variety of cords, but no galeros.   Maybe the best thing to do is ask Cardinal O'Malley where he bought that galero for Cardinal Medeiros.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Galeros in the news

Whose galero is this?
Hint: this galero hangs in NYC, though not in a cathedral

I'm happy to report the extremely long drought of galero-related news has at last ended: last Sunday in Chicago, Cardinal George's galero was raised above the sanctuary in Holy Name Cathedral.  Cardinal George, who died on April 17, had received the galero as a gift but, sadly, never wore it, perhaps fearing to fall afoul of Pope Paul VI's "Instruction on the Dress, Titles and Coat-of-Arm of Cardinals, Bishops and Lesser Prelates," which among other things, banned the galero.   Pope Paul VI, though an estimable pope in many respects, was not much given to mirth or whimsy, a quality which shines with particular clarity in this Instruction.

The present pope is cut from very different cloth, though one suspects he may be even less galero-friendly than Paul VI was.  In naming Pope Francis its "Best Dressed Man" of 2013, Esquire magazine noted approvingly his ''black shoes and unadorned, simplistic regalia.''   A black shoed, "unadorned" pope seems unlikely to top off his "simplistic regalia" with a galero, or look approvingly upon those who do. 

However, Esquire's reference to Francis's regalia as "simplistic" may be unintentionally telling. Webster's dictionary defines simplistic as "not complete or thorough enough: not treating or considering all possibilities or parts."  That strikes us as perfectly apt.  The red shoes, capes and hats Pope Benedict was mocked for wearing were not only traditional, which, for the leader of a 2000 year old Church, has value in itself, but also red to recall the martyrs' blood which helped the Church grow.  We would thus urge Francis to consider more "possibilities and parts" in his regalia. We would further urge Francis to permit more "possibilities and parts" in the regalia of cardinals, too.   Indeed, we'd recommend Francis instruct cardinals as follows: "If you've got a galero, flaunt it."   And if you don't got a galero, get thee to a galerory.