I'm happy to report the extremely long drought of galero-related news has at last ended: last Sunday in Chicago, Cardinal George's galero was raised above the sanctuary in Holy Name Cathedral. Cardinal George, who died on April 17, had received the galero as a gift but, sadly, never wore it, perhaps fearing to fall afoul of Pope Paul VI's "Instruction on the Dress, Titles and Coat-of-Arm of Cardinals, Bishops and Lesser Prelates," which among other things, banned the galero. Pope Paul VI, though an estimable pope in many respects, was not much given to mirth or whimsy, a quality which shines with particular clarity in this Instruction.
The present pope is cut from very different cloth, though one suspects he may be even less galero-friendly than Paul VI was. In naming Pope Francis its "Best Dressed Man" of 2013, Esquire magazine noted approvingly his ''black shoes and unadorned, simplistic regalia.'' A black shoed, "unadorned" pope seems unlikely to top off his "simplistic regalia" with a galero, or look approvingly upon those who do.
However, Esquire's reference to Francis's regalia as "simplistic" may be unintentionally telling. Webster's dictionary defines simplistic as "not complete or thorough enough: not treating or considering all possibilities or parts." That strikes us as perfectly apt. The red shoes, capes and hats Pope Benedict was mocked for wearing were not only traditional, which, for the leader of a 2000 year old Church, has value in itself, but also red to recall the martyrs' blood which helped the Church grow. We would thus urge Francis to consider more "possibilities and parts" in his regalia. We would further urge Francis to permit more "possibilities and parts" in the regalia of cardinals, too. Indeed, we'd recommend Francis instruct cardinals as follows: "If you've got a galero, flaunt it." And if you don't got a galero, get thee to a galerory.