Thursday, May 28, 2015

Are galeros making a comeback?


Cardinal Medeiros' galero (and two other galeros)


In 2001 Avery Dulles was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, but did not receive a galero, the cardinal's distinctive red hat.  Pope Paul VI had abolished those in 1969 AD, on the grounds that a galero was at odds with "the spirit of humility and poverty, which must always and preeminently shine forth" from cardinals.  And yet Dulles' galero hangs in the university church at Fordham University, where Dulles had resided for many years.  So where did the galero come from?

Perhaps Cardinal Humberto Medeiros' galero provides a clue.  Medeiros was made cardinal in 1973 AD by Pope Paul VI, the abolisher of galeros, and naturally didn't receive a galero on that occasion.  However, in 2010, Medeiros' galero was raised to the ceiling of Holy Cross cathedral in Boston.  Since Medeiros didn't get a galero from Pope Paul VI, where had the galero come from?  According to the Boston Pilot, Cardinal O'Malley of Boston had bought the galero while on a visit to Rome on other business.   The galero which was recently raised to the ceiling of Holy Name cathedral in Chicago had likewise been purchased for the late Cardinal George as a gift.  Cardinal George's galero joined Cardinal Bernardin's galero up on the ceiling, and Bernardin's (made a cardinal in the post galero year of 1983) had been a gift, too.

So Pope Paul VI may have abolished galeros, but galeros are making a quiet comeback as a popular gift item for a cardinal, though it's generally a posthumous gift, as in the cases of Cardinal Medeiros and Cardinal Bernardin.  If the cardinal is alive when he receives his galero, as Cardinal George was, a well-behaved cardinal will be mindful of Pope Paul VI's strictures, and modestly set his galero aside until the time comes for raising it to the cathedral ceiling.  In the meantime, a certain amount of private gazing upon or even wearing of the galero is to be expected.

Not all cardinals are so modest and well behaved.  Cardinal Burke, created a cardinal in 2010, has been wearing his galero around since 2011 AD, though I suspect Cardinal Burke's galero was not a gift.



If you're interested in buying a galero for a cardinal of your acquaintance, where is the best place to shop?  Alas, that seems to be a well-guarded secret.  For instance, Barbiconi of Rome sells saturnos and various cords to be worn on saturnos, but no galeros.   Gammarelli has black felt hats, and a variety of cords, but no galeros.   Maybe the best thing to do is ask Cardinal O'Malley where he bought that galero for Cardinal Medeiros.



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