Lay person in cassock and surplice


#1

Hi guys.
So I'm thinking about getting back into serving at the Mass. My Parish uses white albs. I prefer the cassock and surplice, and another parish near uses these for lay altar servers. Anyway, I read that only those in orders may wear the c&s. Could I still potentially serve Mass at the second parish, wearing the c&s, without violating a liturgical rule or canon?


#2

You use what is the norm in your parish, if they use albs then you use an alb. Altar servers are allowed to use cassock and surplice, usually the use of those vestments is limited by cost. Usually a server uses the vestments provided by the parish unless they do not have the proper size, if that happens then it is prudent for the server to discuss the purchase of vestments with the pastor.


#3

It is patently obvious that those who are not in orders may wear cassock and surplice. It is done all the time all over the place. Even women (omg!!!!) may wear cassock and surplice. I have seen it done in the cathedral in Oakland (and the Bish there is said to be a stickler for form).

But when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Wear what they have you wear.

[quote="John_of_Patmos, post:1, topic:288084"]
Hi guys.
So I'm thinking about getting back into serving at the Mass. My Parish uses white albs. I prefer the cassock and surplice, and another parish near uses these for lay altar servers. Anyway, I read that only those in orders may wear the c&s. Could I still potentially serve Mass at the second parish, wearing the c&s, without violating a liturgical rule or canon?

[/quote]


#4

I have had my own cassock and surplice for years, having had to serve at different locations. It costs a little bit, but if one is an adult and thinks it will be long term, it is worth it.
As to women in men’s attire, which is what cassocks/suplices are meant for(males), well, let’s just hope they realise one day how ridiculous they look, to put it nicely.

CB


#5

Thanks guys! My local Catholic store sells some decent cassocks and surplices (and albs for that reason!), which I may buy if I ever move to a parish that regularly uses them.


#6

I actually agree with you. There was a time in the Episcopal/Anglican world when women wore academic gowns with little square soft hats, the kind worn as an option by women at Oxford University. I remember seeing an old photo where a group of women appeared to be processing for graduation in front of an Episcopal church. They were really just the choir. This practice seems to have died out in most places, but once, at an early mass at an Anglican cathedral in Madagascar, I saw a female cantor wearing the gown and described.

I don't think they will grasp how silly they look if everyone else is doing it, and that is what they have grown up seeing. I, as an Episcopalian, have seen nothing but female choristers in cassock and surplice, and I am in the full bloom of middle age. The big change for both Anglicans and Roman Catholics is the presence of women as altar servers (acolytes) and for Anglicans, as priests (and crosses himself as Bishops). But now, two whole generations have grown up used to this.

I hope that when I get to the Pearly Gates, St. Peter won't have delegated his role to some women's libber. However, if I do make it to said Gates, I won't complain.

[quote="Cowboy2012, post:4, topic:288084"]
I have had my own cassock and surplice for years, having had to serve at different locations. It costs a little bit, but if one is an adult and thinks it will be long term, it is worth it.

As to women in men's attire, which is what cassocks/suplices are meant for(males), well, let's just hope they realise one day how ridiculous they look, to put it nicely.

CB

[/quote]


#7

Check out the organist cassocks at CM Almy. Better still, if they wear albs, then go totally retro and wear an cassock, amice, alb, and cincture. Your priest will wonder what you are doing. But it is the proper way to do things.

[quote="John_of_Patmos, post:5, topic:288084"]
Thanks guys! My local Catholic store sells some decent cassocks and surplices (and albs for that reason!), which I may buy if I ever move to a parish that regularly uses them.

[/quote]


#8

A floor-length robe that buttons top to bottom is hardly “men’s attire.” Your reaction is subjective and situation dependent. First time saw a male priest in a cassock I thought he looked quite silly. I repressed my reaction knowing it was just my own cultural experience.

OK, I still thinks he looks silly, but at least I know it’s not some sort of objective reality. Women look fine, you just aren’t used to it.


#9

[quote="John_of_Patmos, post:1, topic:288084"]
Hi guys.
So I'm thinking about getting back into serving at the Mass. My Parish uses white albs. I prefer the cassock and surplice, and another parish near uses these for lay altar servers. Anyway, I read that only those in orders may wear the c&s. Could I still potentially serve Mass at the second parish, wearing the c&s, without violating a liturgical rule or canon?

[/quote]

A layman may wear a "C&S" in the context of serving Mass unless your pastor says not of course. In fact a laywoman may also wear a "C&S" in the same context. Some object to the latter based on personal opinions but there is nothing from the Church that prohibits it.

I would add that I think a cassock, amice, cingulum and nice alb looks far more reverent, elegant and "finished" than a "C&S". For one thing, the "C&S" is worn sans Roman Collar in the USA. Without the Roman Collar the outfit looks more like a choir garb rather than liturgical garb. If one has permission to wear the Roman Collar (not prohibited, but certainly confusing to those watching in the USA) with the "C&S", it would look more finished but still not nearly as reverent and elegant as the other option If you have concerns that people will not see your cassock (not sure why you would?), wear an alb that has a little bit of lace to it.


#10

Well I can’t say I disagree, but we must practice custody of the eyes…


#11

[quote="Usbek_de_Perse, post:7, topic:288084"]
Check out the organist cassocks at CM Almy. Better still, if they wear albs, then go totally retro and wear an cassock, amice, alb, and cincture. Your priest will wonder what you are doing. But it is the proper way to do things.

[/quote]

There is nothing more or less proper about wearing an amice. Wearing a cincture by the laity is a little problematic (although widely done) because of what is associated (chastity) with wearing it.


#12

Actually, historically it is men's attire. It is related closely to the *jallabiyya *worn by men all over the Middle East. It certainly is not an adoption of a women's garment.

Similarly, the academic gown was decreed by Archbishop of Canterbury Stephan Langton (when he wasn't embroiled with King John and the Barons concerning the Magna Carta) around 1215 as a sort of over garment for all clergy. It fell into disuse in the century that followed, except in Oxford, where they resist change like a stone castle resisting wind. It grew into the academic gown of medieval and modern form.

Now, here I am arguing that one kind of men's gown is proper for women in church and another is not. So much for consistency. Better that nutty Anglican fudge.

[quote="Julia_Mae, post:8, topic:288084"]
A floor-length robe that buttons top to bottom is hardly "men's attire." Your reaction is subjective and situation dependent. First time saw a male priest in a cassock I thought he looked quite silly. I repressed my reaction knowing it was just my own cultural experience.

OK, I still thinks he looks silly, but at least I know it's not some sort of objective reality. Women look fine, you just aren't used to it.

[/quote]


#13

Oh my…
Then again, it comes from CM Almy, home of the blue chasuble (according to Dr. Taylor Marshal), so I’m not that surprised.


#14

[quote="Julia_Mae, post:8, topic:288084"]
A floor-length robe that buttons top to bottom is hardly "men's attire." Your reaction is subjective and situation dependent. First time saw a male priest in a cassock I thought he looked quite silly. I repressed my reaction knowing it was just my own cultural experience.

OK, I still thinks he looks silly, but at least I know it's not some sort of objective reality. Women look fine, you just aren't used to it.

http://www.almy.com/UI/CMAlmyImages/Keyword/k_49312_d.jpg

[/quote]

Priests wearing the cassock is the historical norm and is practiced all over the world. I, personally, like that the younger priests are returning to them.

I think that woman in cassock looks quite odd, but not as odd as the woman in mitre, and earrings. :D


#15

[quote="Usbek_de_Perse, post:12, topic:288084"]
Actually, historically it is men's attire. .

[/quote]

No, it's not. It's not related specifically to either gender, except possibly in brief times in limited circumstances. Floor-length gowns were worn by both sexes at different times, sometimes with buttons and only more recently with inset sleeves.


#16

[quote="Exorcist, post:9, topic:288084"]

I would add that I think a cassock, amice, cingulum and nice alb looks far more reverent, elegant and "finished" than a "C&S". For one thing, the "C&S" is worn sans Roman Collar in the USA. Without the Roman Collar the outfit looks more like a choir garb rather than liturgical garb. If one has permission to wear the Roman Collar (not prohibited, but certainly confusing to those watching in the USA) with the "C&S", it would look more finished but still not nearly as reverent and elegant as the other option If you have concerns that people will not see your cassock (not sure why you would?), wear an alb that has a little bit of lace to it.

[/quote]

How I wish this is what my parish has for servers...all we get are albs and cinctures.


#17

I go to a Maronite Church and it appears that the servers wear alb and cincture there as well.

They also make use of female servers. I prefer male only, but, for me it’s not a huge deal, only a preference.


#18

This comes from the Almy catalogue, right?

I remember some group of catholic women who were militating for women's ordination. They had a bumper sticker that read, "ORDAIN WOMEN OR STOP DRESSING LIKE THEM". I take no sides in the Roman Catholic women's ordination dispute but I thought it pretty funny.

[quote="ringil, post:14, topic:288084"]
Priests wearing the cassock's is the historical norm and is practiced all over the world. I, personally, like that the younger priests are returning to them.

I think that woman in cassock looks quite odd, but not as odd as the woman in mitre, and earrings. :D

[/quote]


#19

The point of the matter is that in the Catholic Church it has traditionally only the clergy and the boys or men who assist there or in the choir that could wear such clothing. The fact that Anglicans and others have permitted it for a long time is not of consequence in this instance. Whatever ones reaction when they first saw a priest, when they learn who he was and the dedication of his life to serving God’s Church, it can be understood that his attire can legitimately be specialised.
CB


#20

[quote="Cowboy2012, post:19, topic:288084"]
The point of the matter is that in the Catholic Church it has traditionally only the clergy and the boys or men who assist there or in the choir that could wear such clothing. The fact that Anglicans and others have permitted it for a long time is not of consequence in this instance. Whatever ones reaction when they first saw a priest, when they learn who he was and the dedication of his life to serving God's Church, it can be understood that his attire can legitimately be specialised.

CB

[/quote]

But there is no prohibition from doing so. Laypersons didn't wear albs 50 years ago either (and no, I'm not counting a baptismal gown as an "alb.")


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