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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs