The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is none too happy about what fashion has done to the image of the cross. “Today it is more commonly seen as a symbol of beauty to hang around your neck,” he explained.
Welby wrote this in the foreword for Looking Through the Cross, written by Dr Graham Tomlin, the Dean of St Mellitus College in London. The book will be published in February before Lent (which starts on March 5).
“For those early Christians it was a badge of shame,” he said. “As a friend of mine used to say, you might as well hang a tiny golden gallows or an electric chair around your neck.”
As of late, Dolce & Gabbana is certainly the fashion house most synonymous with the cross motif after featuring a surplus of Byzatine crucifix earrings and necklaces on their Fall 2013 runway. While it seems to be an ode to Italy’s deeply-religious culture, we’re not surprised that major religious figures aren’t amused by the fashion statement.
The D&G boys aren’t the first, and won’t be the last, to use crosses as a reference to different eras of style such as Gothic or Baroque. Designers who flaunt the sacred symbol know that they’re courting controversy — and let’s face it, the fashion industry will never see eye to eye. This despite, high-rolling bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst spending $475,000 on wardrobes.
“Are we now living with a symbol emptied of power by time and fashion?” Welby continued. “A Cross that has no weight is not worth carrying. To look through the cross is to seek its weight.” Unfortunately for Welby, it doesn’t look like the industry’s empty crucifixes will be going anywhere anytime soon.
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