Today I’d like to talk about something that might seem a bit trivial. Tacky religious vestments. But if you’ll bear with me, I think you’ll see that in something this “secondary,” and “external,” a dark world of meaning lies hid. That’s how symbols work, isn’t it? There’s a universe of difference between presenting a woman with a bouquet of long-stem roses, and draping her in a horseshoe wreath as if she’d won the Kentucky Derby. (Try it some time!)
Or replacing Old Glory at a U.S. soldier’s funeral with the flag of Disney World. (Don’t.)
Destroy the Symbols, Obscure the Truth
Now, each is a bunch of flowers, or a piece of cloth, a fool could argue. Isn’t it “arbitrary,” even worldly, to insist upon such distinctions? Every sophist since the Enlightenment has used this kind of logic. Why? To gradually dismantle the symbols of what he hated: the Church and the truth She teaches.
And it’s the sophists among the clergy who today wear the vestments I’m talking about. These same men distort the moral law in pink fogs of emotive self-expression. Stern dogmas for which thousands of martyrs died, they wave off as distant “mysteries,” which is their word for a “muddle.”
And they camp around wearing chasubles and stoles with crude designs, in toothpaste primary colors. The emblems on them are sometimes vaguely Christian. A lamb, a fish, an olive branch. At other times the images are abstract, pretentious, and cosmic. Sometimes, as in those pictured, they look like nothing but Tide Pods.
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