Wearing his heritage on his cross

Wearing his heritage on his cross

A reader sends the following:

I saw Archbishop Gregory’s official photo yesterday and I have some concern.

I don’t often write to anyone, and usually just read the blogs with amusement and sometimes despair.  Anyway, I recently moved to Memphis, TN and joined the Cathedral Parish.  As you probably know our bishop J. Terry Steib is Afican-American.  After my first Sunday mass, I noticed on the wall that the bishops coat of arms contained the background colors of black, red, and green.  If you are not aware,  these are the colors of the black nationalist’s movement and pan-africanism.  I won’t go into what they represent.

When I saw Archbishop Gregory’s photo yesterday, I noticed that these same colors were on his pectoral cross.  Now I think that it is commendable that he is proud of his heritage but I haven’t noticed Archbishop O’Malley or Cardinal Rigali sporting the tricolors of Ireland or Italy on their pectoral crosses.  My first reaction was that if the Archbishop wanted to sport colors on his cross maybe red, white and blue would be more appropriate, but even that would smack of a nationalism that our “universal” church should be above.  Perhaps due to my poor catechetical training or the overall loss of Catholic symbols in the last few years I fail to understand the meaning of this very visible symbol.  I would think that it would represent the Archbishop’s office and his leadership position.

As a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop Gregory is a successor of the apostles who were told to go and preach to “all nations”.  Perhaps a simple gold or silver pectoral cross or better yet a simple wooden crucifix would best represent the Catholic people of the Church of Atlanta.

You may not be interested in this at all and view it as petty on my part, but it strikes me as just another Catholic Christian symbol that has lost it’s meaning and is now used as a divisive political statement.

What do you think? Are Archbishop Gregory and Bishop Steib advancing an agenda beyond that of the Gospel?