Why We Won’t Get A Bearded Pope
The new Archbishop of Canterbury is clear-shaven, and the final one to be bearded, earlier than Rowan Williams, had been Gilbert Sheldon (reigned 1663-77). His beard was of the Van Dyck type, however what made it impossible for archbishops of Canterbury to proceed with beards was their adoption of wigs. The 2 don’t combine.
William Wake, enthroned in 1716, wore a high-quality 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 final issues to have a look at are practicalities. Rational canon lawyers of the nineteenth century noticed a motive for forbidding moustaches, because priests drank from the chalice at Mass and should keep away from any irreverence to the blood of Christ. But Canon Legislation did not apply to religious orders, a few of which made beards obligatory.
A lot earlier the nice debate had been whether or not St Peter himself was bearded and whether or not he shaved his head. The purpose of the argument was that popes had been the successor of Peter, so popes and their clergy ought to imitate what he did.
The late John Higgitt of Edinburgh College contributed a nice down hairstyles 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 lacking 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 artwork. However 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 transform his sort 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 an affinity, with supposed Roman observe. Beards have been an emblem in a wider battle between Greeks and Latins.
Today few cardinals with beards are eligible to affix the conclave voting for the pope. Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, Catholicos of the Syro-Malankarese is one. Solely 53, he has a flourishing beard and a hanging hat resembling an onion-dome in Purple Sq. with somewhat gold cross on top.
But the beard remains an emblem of the East, and nice down hairstyles an Jap rite bishop is unlikely to be elected Bishop of Rome. We may get a black pope but not a bearded one.