“These Are Not Catholic Robes”: Backlash to Vestments for World Meeting of Families on Social Media

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@matthewschmitz, Twitter

People are not happy about this!

The World Meeting of Families is scheduled to take place next week in Dublin, Ireland. This is the 9th such meeting since 1994, and since it’s such an important occasion, the organizers decided to make special vestments.

And they are being pilloried on social media for their design.

Here’s what the vestments look like:

@matthewschmitz, Twitter

Made by a Polish embroidery company Haftina, the spiral symbol in the middle is apparently “a pre-Christian Celtic symbol found on Neolithic monuments across the island.”

Fr. Damian McNeice, master of ceremonies for the event, said of the symbols, “It’s the whole notion of the journey into the divine, and almost like eternal life too.”

Whatever the thinking behind their design, many Catholics on social media have expressed their disapproval.

“These vestments for the World Meeting of Families,” Catholic author Leila Marie Lawler wrote on Twitter, “besides their evidently low quality, radiate, with their (paltry) imagery, what our clergy refuse to acknowledge: the hostile takeover, inimical to The Good. The lack of holy beauty says it all. These are not Catholic robes.” [sic]

Another commenter on Twitter pointed out: “Not a Christian image to be seen on Francis’ Chasubles for the World Meeting of Families Looks like something Dumbledore would wear”.

@Protectthefaith, Twitter

“Love the retro look of these throwback jerseys for the World Meeting of Families,” Matthew Schmitz, Senior Editor of First Things, wrote mockingly on Twitter. He added in another tweet: “Historical reenactments of this kind are an important way to keep alive dying crafts like the production of polyester vestments.

Catholic scholar and author Samuel Gregg chimed in: “Why do clerics ‘of a certain age’ think that it’s forever 1974?”

What do you think of the vestments?

[See also: The American Church Is on Fire and Has Been for Decades: A Priest Writes What He Really Thinks]

[See also: This Powerful Meme Tells the Hard Truth About Mistreatment of the Eucharist in Our Parishes]