Sunday, 17 May 2009
The Winds Of Change...?
It is fascinating to see the preparations being made for the Installation of Vincent Nichols as 11th Archbishop of Westminster. The Diocese of Westminster "webteam" started up a blog to show all the work that's going into the liturgy and the whole "takeover process"... a very media-savvy move, I think.
(Yes, I also read the comment, somewhere or other, that central heating is installed, but bishops are enthroned, but the Westminster diocesan blog refers to the installation of the Archbishop, so I shall do the same...)
The Friends of Westminster Cathedral decided to present the new Archbishop with a set of new vestments. When I first read the announcement, it did occur to me that this could be ghastly - visions of "fuzzy-felt" bunches of grapes kept floating before my eyes, and mention of griffins just brought the old Barclays Bank logo to mind. The Installation Blog, however, put up some pictures of the vestments being made, along with a description, and there's not a grape, felt or otherwise, in sight! The griffin design mentioned is presumably woven into the fabric itself. The overall effect is one of elegant simplicity. This is not, by the way, the same as the "simplicity" claimed by the awful fuzzy-felt vestments of the 1970s - that was a stripping out of all that was beautiful, of all that was perceived as "not relevant" or "not modern."
There is an excellent article by Christina White in the Catholic Herald on the creation of the new vestments.
I was extremely interested to note that the ceremony of the Reception and Installation of the Archbishop of Westminster will be carried out according to the ancient Catholic rite used in similar circumstances for the Reception and Installation of the Archbishops of Canterbury prior to the Reformation... one in the eye for all those trendies who decry the usus antiquior as dragging the Church backwards, perhaps?
Taken together, this suggests that the winds of liturgical change (or a bit of a breeze, at least) might be blowing through the halls of Westminster Cathedral. Watch this space.