Why We Won’t Get A Bearded Pope
The new Archbishop of Canterbury is clean-shaven, and the last one to be bearded, before Rowan Williams, had been Gilbert Sheldon (reigned 1663-77). His beard was of the Van Dyck variety, however what made it inconceivable for archbishops of Canterbury to continue with beards was their adoption of wigs. The two don’t combine.
William Wake, enthroned in 1716, wore a advantageous curly wig, fairly unlike real hair. The subsequent eight Archbishops of Canterbury all wore formal wigs, ending with William Howley as late as 1848.
But if Roman Canon Legislation forbade clerical beards, why did it The last issues to have a look at are practicalities. Rational canon lawyers of the 19th century saw a motive for forbidding moustaches, because priests drank from the chalice at Mass and must keep away from any irreverence to the blood of Christ. But Canon Law did not apply to religious orders, a few of which made beards obligatory.
Much earlier the great debate had been whether St Peter himself was bearded and whether he shaved his head. The purpose of the argument was that popes were the successor of Peter, so popes and their clergy ought to imitate what he did.
The late John Higgitt of Edinburgh University contributed a most discovered chapter on beards and tonsures in Anglo-Saxon England to St Cuthbert: His Cult and Community (1989).
A key piece of evidence is tantalisingly absent, the missing face on the moulded silver depiction of St Peter on a portable altar discovered in the coffin of St Cuthbert (died 687). Was he bearded, or not
Usually, St Peter was depicted as beardless in Anglo-Saxon art. But the tonsure was much more heatedly debated. When Theodore of Tarsus, an Asian, grew to become Archbishop of Canterbury in 669, he had had to let his hair grow for months to convert his kind of tonsure right into a Roman crown tonsure – a tuffet of hair on prime, shaved at the sides.
So hair, on the top or chin, recognized natural looking wigs african american an affinity, with supposed Roman observe. Beards have been an emblem in a wider battle natural looking wigs african american between Greeks and Latins.
At this time few cardinals with beards are eligible to join the conclave voting for the pope. Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, Catholicos of the Syro-Malankarese is one. Only 53, he has a flourishing beard and a hanging hat resembling an onion-dome in Crimson Square, with a little gold cross on top.
But the beard remains an emblem of the East, and an Japanese rite bishop is unlikely to be elected Bishop of Rome. We could get a black pope but not a bearded one.