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James Ritson wrote:

Hi guys,

  • Why did Pope Paul VI wear the ephod of Caiaphas?

Cordially,

James

  { Why did Pope Paul VI wear the ephod of Caiaphas? }

Richard replied:

Hi, James —

This is an old canard. On some particular occasion, he wore some vestment that supposedly represented a Hebrew High Priest vestment. Some people call it the ephod of Caiaphas, pretending that it was associated particularly with that notorious high priest.

Personally, I think it's a smear.

The basic facts about the ephod are well established. It's not something unique to Caiaphas. It should be called the ephod of Aaron, since God defined the priestly garments in Exodus, chapter 28. The 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia described it:

Paul VI wore it numerous times but it was an innovation with him, which subsequent popes have not kept. I have no material on Paul VI's reason for wearing it but I've seen many speculations.

  • Is it possible that he intended to remind people that Jesus Christ is our high priest, and the Church is the new Israel? <Possibly, but that's just a speculation.>

There is a classic multi-colored papal garment, the fanon, which is a symbolic replacement for the ephod. Most recently, Pope Benedict XVI wore it for some canonizations but in the end, the ephod is not a big deal.

It was just a garment, not some official act bearing authority like an encyclical or a decree.

An excellent good book on the papacy of Pope Paul VI by James Likoudis is:

The Pope, the Council, and the Mass.

— Richard Chonak
for AskACatholic

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