That's the pallium! The white thing with crosses around the neck and over the shoulders of Archbishop Blase Cupich, when the pallium was invested recently, after much media attention and breathless anticipation.
Archbishop Blase Cupich has the Pallium. NBC, ABC, WGN and every newspaper (including a very special edition of the Catholic New World ) in Chicago has talked about the pallium conferred upon Chicago's Archbishop by Pope Francis and sent through the Papal Nuncio to Archbishop Blase Cupich.
The Catholic pallium is, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, ". . . is a circular band about two inches wide, worn about the neck, breast, and shoulders, and having two pendants, one hanging down in front and one behind. The pendants are about two inches wide and twelve inches long, and are weighted with small pieces of lead covered with black silk. The remainder of the pallium is made of white wool, part of which is supplied by two lambs presented annually as a tax by the Lateran Canons Regular to the Chapter of St. John on the feast of St. Agnes, solemnly blessed on the high altar of that church after the pontifical Mass, and then offered to the pope. The ornamentation of the pallium consists of six small black crosses — one each on the breast and back, one on each shoulder, and one on each pendant. The crosses on the breast, back, and left shoulder are provided with a loop for the reception of a gold pin set with a precious stone. The pallium is worn over the chasuble."
Got that? It is piece of garment; it is a symbol of a shepherd being a shepherd.
I have been kind of amazed by the news coverage this summer about the pallium. Does an Irish American family in St. Barnabas Parish call the Beverly Review and Can-TV the first time young Eamon, or Mickey dons his first South Side Irish shirt , green Sox Side Irish hat and over-sized khaki cargo shorts? Does a De LaSalle Institute lad with bloodlines linking 24th & Oakley to Lucca in Old Tuscany get his folks to rent out Ignotz for a feast and shout to all and sundry that his Pop bought him his first Three-pack of Haines 'Wife Beaters' for summer street wear? I just don't know.
I have been a Catholic for three score and almost four years and have yet to see the level of news worthy importance placed upon an article of ecclesiastical clothing placed upon the shoulders of an ecclesiastic.
In fact, I do not remember The Eighth Ordianry of Chicago, nor his attendants making much of an issue about the pallium. Maybe , they did. Any way the pallium is on the shoulders of Ninth Ordinary and any and all news tangent to being Catholic in Chicago is pallium centered. Now, even ABC 7's I Team Honcho Chuck Goudie, probably knows what a pallium is all about. By the way, the late Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. had a pallium and a Red Hat . . .several red hats, but he only seemed to be impressed by the collar he always wore with his black clerical shirt and coat.
I don't know. I think there might be some things, you know, like all of the things that Francis Cardinal George thought was important, might be newsworthy. What do I know?
Perhaps, this is signal by the media that there is new age of really good feeling for Catholics, so long as matters of Faith get tucked away. Perhaps.
I know that Archbishop Blase Cupich is wearing the pallium. Cool.