The Evil of Clericalism (Pope Francis)


It seems ironic that you speak of appearing good and appealing while at the same time speaking of being humble.

I know plenty of people who would love for the papal tiara to be brought back.


I’ve always liked seeing the Bishops and Cardinals in beautiful robes. It certainly doesn’t mean they are uppity or financially wealthy. To me it’s simply honoring the Lord, like most of us dress up in the presence of royalty, and most of us dress up for the Birth of Christ and for the Resurrection of Christ. We all USED to dress up every Sunday for Mass, now people are just so nonchalant about their appearance at Mass, People will wear shorts and flip flops to Mass, but dress elegantly going to a ballet or nightclub. Anyway, I like the beautiful robes. Plus the colors are significant.


Jesus didn’t dress in fancy robes


The next Pope could very well wear a Papal Tiara if he wants. I think he should. It seems their authority has practically gone out the window (John Paul II and Benedict both couldn’t clean up the degeneracy problem even though they wanted to) with the loss of it as well as their sitting above everyone else who actually are below them. We have clearly lost our Catholic identity and the effects of that speaks for itself. Furthermore, it looks rather stupid when among Eastern Bishops in their tiaras, the Pope wears either nothing or just a mitre.

What the Pope or any priest wears has nothing to do with Clericalism. The idea that a bunch of priests wearing cassocks has anything to do with clericalism is patently false.


Sure he can. Whether or not he will is up to him.


I agree simplicity is best.


So are you saying that the Popes and Bishops for the (almost) thousands of years were wrong to wear elaborate and fancy clothes and accessories?


Poverty and humility are good virtues to incorporate.


Yes. I mean pope Leo x even thanked god for the papacy so that he may enjoy it.


Please capitalize the ‘G’ in ‘God.’

It seems rather bold to claim that the Popes and Bishops were wrong to wear those clothes all that time.


I’m on a phone. It doesn’t capitalize everything. Also compared to st Francis many popes fall very short

It’s also very bold for servants to live like kings when they are those who should follow God who came down and had no place to lay His head

St Francis didn’t live like that. Neither did Benedict or John Bosco


When we know the meaning behind everything clergy wears and uses it makes better sense. Everything in the Catholic Church has meaning.


I know the meaning. I know it’s about the office and not the person. But many don’t and hence why it’s not the best look


True poverty doesn’t necessarily lie in renouncing material possessions. Rather it is an interior disposition. Sometimes, people such as St. Francis were called to a more radical material poverty, but not everyone.

St. Thomas More as a lawyer, wore fancy garments, becuase it was his place to do so. Humility is about knowing ones place. St. Thomas More recognized it was his place to do so, because of the dignity of his office. Was he mistaken? I would think not.


Thomas more wasn’t the pope. When you’re pope you should embody that kind of humility that st Francis and Christ embodied. That’s just my opinion


To each his own.


Thank you for posing this excellent query, for it sheds light upon a much larger issue which has been controversial throughout the history of the Church. Must the Church be poor, as her Spouse, Our Lord, was poor, or is it allowable for her—and her members—to have riches? This touches, fundamentally, upon the proper Catholic understanding of virtue, and here in particular, the virtue of poverty.

In the Middle Ages, there were groups of radical friars who, placing too much emphasis on the virtue of poverty, lacked a fundamental understanding of what exactly this virtue is. Thus they were rightly condemned by the Church as heretics. They argued that because Our Lord was poor, everyone should be poor. This idea was rightly condemned by the Church, because the inevitable result of such a false doctrine would be the collapse of the social order, which must be maintained by a hierarchical structure.

All men are equal insofar as this equality pertains to their essence as human beings, created in the image of God, and all directed to the same end—eternal happiness with his Creator in heaven. In their external attributes in this world, however, all men are not equal; on the contrary, the false liberal idea of social equality has been condemned repeatedly by the Magisterium. Men are not equal in things like power, education, and wealth, and this is the way God ordained it.

Some are born into this world more “privileged” than others in that they may grow up to be more educated and possess greater earthly wealth or power; others are called to material poverty, whether by circumstance or by choice. Neither state of life is to be exalted over another, for both are necessary in maintaining the social order as God established. All men are called to poverty of spirit, of which material poverty is only an external representation, and so, there is no more obstacle to attaining this virtue for he who is extremely rich compared to he who is extremely poor. Thus all men are called to humility regardless of their worldly attributes.

The material poverty Our Lord was born into and lived in during His earthly life is an external representation of His humility and meekness. In imitating Our Lord, we look at not primarily His material poverty, but His humility. Contrasting this, the Church must be rich, as a representation of her spiritual riches, given to her by her Spouse, Christ the King.


The Church is a perfect and autonomous society established by Our Lord, and thus the clerical hierarchy also has legislative, executive, and judicial authority. The Pope is certainly a “servant of the servants of God”, but because of his office, he possesses God-given authority. Why should his clothes reflect this? It is an external representation of supernatural realities.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that being rich he became poor, for your sakes; that through his poverty you might be rich” (II Cor. 8:9). Our Lord is both master and servant, rich and poor. As the heavenly King, He is rich, yet when He entered this depraved world and took on His human nature at the Incarnation, He became poor, and died on the Cross, a punishment reserved for slaves. Thus although all men are called to poverty of spirit, not all men are called to material poverty, which is a very specific vocation. Although the clergy are servants, they are also leaders with authority, just as Our Lord is a master, but came to serve.

In all, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with having material riches in the Church, which are not meant to be ends in themselves, but means to a higher end, namely, the representation of her spiritual riches. Of course, there can be abuses, corruption, and financial scandals, but these are not essential to the idea of a wealthy Church; these are, rather, the consequences of original sin and man’s concupiscence. Even St. Pius X, who was born poor and died poor, had no problem wearing the cappa magna, a symbol of a prelate’s authority—not only spiritual authority, but also secular authority.

How strange the Social Kingship of Christ must sound in our depraved modern world which rejects Catholic principles!


Christ was/is literally Lord and King and He did not wear regalia. The only time he wore anything of value was to prepare for his burial.


I’m sorry, but if this is all you got out of my two posts, you need to reread.

While on earth, Christ’s Divinity was veiled by His humanity. Thus the clothes He wore on earth—and his material poverty—reflect His humility. Now that His Divinity has been unveiled, since Divine Revelation has been completed, this must be emphasized and expressed externally. And yes, this includes fancy robes, “smells and bells”, as well as good sacred art. The faithful need these external signs, this Catholic “ostentation”, so to speak.

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