News / Europe

No Sign of Francis Frugality in Clerical Cloth Trade

FILE - TV crews film Gammarelli tailoring shop window where three sets of papal outfits - small, medium and large sizes - which will be sent to the Vatican for the new pope, are displayed, in Rome.
FILE - TV crews film Gammarelli tailoring shop window where three sets of papal outfits - small, medium and large sizes - which will be sent to the Vatican for the new pope, are displayed, in Rome.
Reuters
As the Vatican prepares to welcome 19 prelates to the high rank of cardinal, Pope Francis' call for frugality has had little effect on business for the Gammarelli family, suppliers of sumptuous clerical robes for more than two centuries.
 
In January, when he announced plans to create new cardinals and set the ceremony's date for this Saturday, Francis also sent them a letter asking that they not see their appointment as a promotion and not to waste money holding celebratory parties.
 
He also said they should be “clothed in the virtues and sentiments of the Lord Jesus” as they help him run the Church.   Since a cardinal's ceremonial outfit is regulated by tradition, the pope was speaking figuratively.
 
Still, after such a papal statement one might expect to see a boost in clerical hand-me-downs or a rush to discount shops.
 
But there has been no slump in business for Rome's high-end ecclesiastical tailors, favored by clergy for the quality and stylish finish famous in Italian craftsmanship.
 
Lorenzo Gammarelli, the sixth generation of the family which has been outfitting popes and prelates since 1798, said frugality has yet to trickle down, and that demand for fine red woolen socks, lace vestments and cassocks is unchanged.
 
The elbow-length cape the mozzetta, lace rochet and square hat the biretta worn by cardinals differ in price depending on the quality of materials used, but Gammarelli said there was no sign prelates were switching to less luxurious fabrics.
 
“In our experience, changes of this kind happen very slowly, so if they happen we expect they will occur in a few years,” Gammarelli said at the counter of his snug premises in central Rome, beside a stack of packages labeled with the names of cardinals awaiting collection.
 
Simplicity
 
Francis has made many gestures to signal a preference for simplicity and humility since he became the first non-European pope in 1,300 years almost a year ago.
 
He has called for a “poor Church, and for the poor”, opted to live in a simple boarding house rather than the Apostolic Palace, and travels in a blue Ford Focus rather than in a luxury car escorted by guards.
 
The approach extends to his clothes. While Benedict wore a gold cross, red papal shoes and an ermine-trimmed crimson cape, Francis prefers simple white robes, a silver-plated metal cross and ordinary black shoes.
 
Esquire magazine named Francis 2013's best dressed man, saying his plain dress “signaled a new era”.
 
But Andrea Koray, a Franciscan monk who wears sandals and the brown robe of his order, said actions by Francis such as washing and kissing the feet of non-Christians at a traditional Lent ceremony were far more important indicators of change.
 
“I don't want trivialize things by pointing to such gestures, like the cross is not made of gold or he doesn't wear the same shoes as previous popes,” Koray said.
 
“These are trivialities, we shouldn't pay too much attention to them. They are a sign, but his humanitarian gestures are more important,” he said.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs