Check out this beautiful vestment created by his Mexican hosts for the Pope’s Vespers in Mexico.
You can say this kind of thing is way over the top. But I think the Mexican aesthetic is that they are fully committed and not afraid to go big.
Like a cope (a very solemn cloak used for carrying the monstrance with the Real Presence of Jesus), that’s made out of cloth of gold brocade with purple trim during Lent. I mean, heck, you know they say you can use cloth of gold or cloth of silver as a stand-in for any liturgical color. But in the modern church, you don’t usually see it happen. Now, it’s going to happen. It will be solemn, and Lentish, but also pretty darned formal and big-occasion. (And it doesn’t make it look like a cheap poncho splashed with paint is how we choose to serve God, which is the visual that a lot of rich host countries in Europe tend to stick the Popes with.)
The subtle reason for this is that Leon’s patron saint is Our Lady, under the title of Most Holy Mother of the Light. So the golden cope points to Christ (in the monstrance) as the Light of the World. It also shows the kinship between the Virgin Mary and the priest, because both have had the privilege of carrying God and serving as His throne. It does not glorify the Pope, but only Jesus Christ.
So it’s classy, it’s oriented toward the sacred, but it’s not what most Europeans today would do. And that’s just fine.
It’s a good article. Too bad we don’t see these details in the English-language news media.