Pope Francis has received another title: “2013’s Best Dressed Man.”
Esquire magazine honored the Pontiff with this title for his preference to use simpler versions of Papal regalia or ‘abito piano.’
They claim that clothes are supposed to reflect the man and by Pope Francis choosing less of the Papal threads, he is showing his character as a genuine and humble man.
This seems to be an attack on previous Popes, especially Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI whose red Papal shoes and choice of traditional vestments made him the talk of the tinseltown, so to speak.
I personally would have chosen him as the best dressed Pope, no offense to Pope Francis, et al.
While I love Pope Francis’ presentation of the Papacy, I laugh at news reports like this. These people do not realize that there is nothing “simple” about Pope Francis’ white cassock or any cassock for that matter. These cassocks can cost over $900 each, not to mention the stoles, chasubles and other articles used by Popes/Bishops. Even religious habits meant to represent poverty cost over $600.
That being said, these vestments are not cheap and definitely do not represent ‘simplicity’ in my opinion. In fact, they aren’t supposed to reflect simplicity per se but the person for whom they represent and honor, Christ Jesus. This is why the Church uses the best materials to honor her Lord. These clothes are not meant for those who wear them, but to represent Christ and the mission of the Church which are priceless.
Pope Benedict XVI was not being vain by wearing traditional vestments. He was reminding us the importance of Christ and the role of the Vicar of Christ.
Would you wear a t-shirt and torn jeans to a dinner with President Obama or Queen Elizabeth? Most likely your answer will be no. That being said, if we dress nicely for these political charlatans, why not go all out in dress for the King of kings and Lord of Lords?
God even commands nice vestments, see:
“And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of chequerwork, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests.”