Saturday, June 11, 2005

Saturday Morning Miscellany

No surpise here - the Telegraph reports the arrest of 17 Milanese postal staff for theft:
Cameras installed by police in the office's washrooms showed employees nonchalantly going into cubicles not only with envelopes concealed in their clothes, but in some cases carrying bags of letters. Workers could be seen removing money and flushing away the letters.

Fr Tucker has an interesting contribtion from one of his readers about Italian funeral customs:
Of course, having been born and raised in Italy, I can only speak from personal experience. My parents never 'sheltered' me from death, funerals, and such. I remember not only attending all-night wakes at people's homes, but actually witnessing the agony of close relatives at a very young age. It was just part of life, and it felt very normal to me. The dead was placed on his/her own bed, four candles at each corner, a black drape over each mirror in the room ( a custom that I later discovered is shared by the Irish and the Jewish as well), a little metal bucket with holy water and an olive tree branch by the edge of the bed. People walking in blessed the dead with the holy water, expressed their condolences and then took a seat among the other visitors
I'd better restrain myself here because the subject of funerals and the modern approach to death is one of my hobby-horses. I'll just comment that there's something unhealthy about a society that keeps children away from funerals and where adults are unwilling to pay their respect to a corpse by giving a farewell sqeeze to a hand or by touching the deceased's forehead.
My readers seem very well informed - regarding the El Greco pictured below David Kubiak comments:
A good illustration of the vestural fact that before 1969 prelates had to put on the mantelletta under the mozzetta when in the presence of a greater prelate, which accounts for the many pictures of cardinals in Rome dressed this way.
The mantelletta is the sleeveless 'coat' the Cardinal is wearing, whilst the mozzetta is the garment worn about the shoulders.

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