Priests and Collars


#1

I am a Catholic and a couple years ago, my neighbors (who are also Catholic) invited me over for a party one Sunday night. There were a lot of people present. Among the people present, my neighbors' parish priest was present. Although I really didn't care too much, I happen to notice that he was wearing layman/street clothing (polo shirt and khaki pants if I remember correctly) instead of a clerical collar. I told my mother about the party and brought up the fact that the priest had come over for the party. She then asked me, "How did you know that he was a priest, was he wearing a collar?" And then I said "No he wasn't." She then told me that the priest was committing a grave sin because the Church "supposedly" teaches that all clerics (deacons, priests, bishops) are forbidden to wear street clothing and are required to either wear a cassock or a collar at all times to show that they are ordained clerics in the Church.

I have never really understood this concept, is my mother right or is she worng? And what is the official position of the Church in terms of clerical dress?


#2

Your mother is very wrong. Every single priest, deacon, bishop I have ever known does occasionally wear "normal" clothing.

Would you expect him to wear his clericals when working out? Or swimming? Etc?


#3

This is pretty much the same as the biretta / cassock thread.

Can. 284 Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs.

What this actually means in practice is determined by local bishops and bishops' conferences and no doubt in turn influenced by "local custom" and other things such as climate, political / cultural factors and a whole bunch of other stuff.

with the priest you referred to, it's not really that surprising that he wasn't wearing a collar to a party given the more relaxed and social nature of the event (I'm guessing this wasn't a black tie event :-). Many, very good, faithful and committed priests do wear ordinary "street" clothes during their day to day work (as opposed to on their day off, for example). simply wearing, or not wearing a collar, doesn't determine the qualities of an individual priest.


#4

[quote="RedSparklyShoes, post:2, topic:315146"]
Your mother is very wrong. Every single priest, deacon, bishop I have ever known does occasionally wear "normal" clothing.

Would you expect him to wear his clericals when working out? Or swimming? Etc?

[/quote]

That's the exact same logic that made me question her opinion. Because do you see a police officer wearing his uniform when he's off duty, or a doctor wearing his jump suit when he's off duty?


#5

[quote="InThePew, post:3, topic:315146"]
This is pretty much the same as the biretta / cassock thread.

Can. 284 Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs.

What this actually means in practice is determined by local bishops and bishops' conferences and no doubt in turn influenced by "local custom" and other things such as climate, political / cultural factors and a whole bunch of other stuff.

with the priest you referred to, it's not really that surprising that he wasn't wearing a collar to a party given the more relaxed and social nature of the event (I'm guessing this wasn't a black tie event :-). Many, very good, faithful and committed priests do wear ordinary "street" clothes during their day to day work (as opposed to on their day off, for example). simply wearing, or not wearing a collar, doesn't determine the qualities of an individual priest.

[/quote]

Also, I am a former Traditionalist, my mother still being a strong Traditionalist and probably always will be. And the priest that I had growing up who was ordained right at the time of the Vatican II revolution was speaking about the "modernists" as he called them that he came into contact with during his final years at the seminary before he was ordained a priest. I remember him saying something about Pope Benedict XVI being a Modernist because he (who was still Fr. Ratzinger at the time) came to visit his seminary during his deacon year/4th year of theology and instead of wearing a clerical collar suit, he was wearing a suit and tie. His judgement by the way, goes directly against Scripture because the Scripture states that while man only looks at the outward appearance, God looks at what is within.


#6

I think we get caught up to much on the outer apearance of priests. Priests are human and you can’t expect them to wear them all the time. They need some down time too. So not wearing the collar doesn’t make him less holy as some people here seem to believe.


#7

[quote="CatholicGuy22, post:6, topic:315146"]
I think we get caught up to much on the outer apearance of priests. Priests are human and you can't expect them to wear them all the time. They need some down time too. So not wearing the collar doesn't make him less holy as some people here seem to believe.

[/quote]

Couldn't've said it better myself.


#8

There was a time when a priest lived and looked liked a priest no matter where he went or what he was doing. So much for the times today of modernity. Guess we can say the same thing too for so many hundreds of thousands of nuns who have shed their habits in favor of popular worldly dress codes. Ah! Vanities of vanities.

WHY A PRIEST SHOULD WEAR HIS ROMAN COLLAR

ewtn.com/library/PRIESTS/RMCOLLAR.TXT


#9

Take a look at this thread:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=681683&page=2

Brother JR provided excellent information on the tradition of wearing a clerical shirt. If you click forward to page 3, he also talks about Pope Benedict wearing a suit and tie when he worked as a theologian.


#10

A priest is no police officer, or laboratory scientist, or doctor. He is a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. His ordination has left an indelible mark on his soul, binding him in a special way to Christ's Bride, the Church. I have always equated the Roman collar/clerical suit/cassock with a wedding band: an outward sign of an outpouring of God's grace through the sacraments.

While people say that priest needs time off...he's never not a priest. You don't see a married man taking a break from his marriage, slipping off his ring, and going out to a party; if you did, you would say he is looking for trouble. Why is there a different thought-process when it comes to priests?


#11

A priest is just as much a priest whether he is wearing a collar or not. Why can't priest relax with friends without having to wear his collar? So at a barbeque in the summer with people he regards as friends he's not allowed to wear an ordinary polo shirt?

If our concern is about what clothes he is wearing then we really are missing the point. How did Christ dress when he mixed with ordinary people? Did he walk up to the shores of Galilee dressed as a rabbi?


#12

[quote="Catholic4Jesus, post:1, topic:315146"]
She then told me that the priest was committing a grave sin because the Church "supposedly" teaches that all clerics (deacons, priests, bishops) are forbidden to wear street clothing and are required to either wear a cassock or a collar at all times to show that they are ordained clerics in the Church.

[/quote]

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LCis3cQMgzU/T1KPmmL6q1I/AAAAAAAAGJQ/h2daHy9Arfo/s1600/235_SkyingPope03.jpg

Tell that to this guy.


#13

A priest is not obligated to wear the black suit and roman collar 24/7, especially when socializing with Catholic friends, people who already know that he is a priest.

Those who would judge priests over such trivial things should be ashamed of themselves.


#14

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:12, topic:315146"]
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LCis3cQMgzU/T1KPmmL6q1I/AAAAAAAAGJQ/h2daHy9Arfo/s1600/235_SkyingPope03.jpg

Tell that to this guy.

[/quote]

HAHA good one ;)


#15

[quote="NickD, post:10, topic:315146"]
A priest is no police officer, or laboratory scientist, or doctor. He is a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. His ordination has left an indelible mark on his soul, binding him in a special way to Christ's Bride, the Church. I have always equated the Roman collar/clerical suit/cassock with a wedding band: an outward sign of an outpouring of God's grace through the sacraments.

While people say that priest needs time off...he's never not a priest. You don't see a married man taking a break from his marriage, slipping off his ring, and going out to a party; if you did, you would say he is looking for trouble. Why is there a different thought-process when it comes to priests?

[/quote]

I don't understand your logic here. Why if a married man goes to a party does that mean he is taking a break from his marriage? My husband doesn't wear his wedding ring when he is working around heavy machinery....good way to lose a finger. That doesn't mean he doesn't know he's not married. Same thing for a priest...not wearing his collar at times doesn't mean he's not still a priest...or that he doesn't realize that. Some of them just don't always want to live in a fishbowl. They are human and do need time off. Doesn't mean he wouldn't respond to an emergency immediately or do anything improper.


#16

Our priest does go casual when running off to the grocery store, or working around the church. He had to travel on Church business to Mexico City, and was worried about having problems with wearing his collar so he dressed down. Got mugged.
Had to return a few months later and wore his collar. No problems.
Interesting!


#17

[quote="Annabelle_Marie, post:15, topic:315146"]
I don't understand your logic here. Why if a married man goes to a party does that mean he is taking a break from his marriage? My husband doesn't wear his wedding ring when he is working around heavy machinery....good way to lose a finger. That doesn't mean he doesn't know he's not married. Same thing for a priest...not wearing his collar at times doesn't mean he's not still a priest...or that he doesn't realize that. Some of them just don't always want to live in a fishbowl. They are human and do need time off. Doesn't mean he wouldn't respond to an emergency immediately or do anything improper.

[/quote]

I agree with this 1000%!

My husband is a machinist, and I am a chef. Wearing our wedding rings while at work is not only dangerous, but it has be outright prohibited in some shops that my husband as worked at.

For me, I always wore my rings until one day, when taking off a pair of disposable gloves, they flew right off and unded up underneath my 800 lb. 2-door reach in cooler! :eek: It took me an 4 maintenance men to move the cooler enough so we could get to them!

Neither one of us think we are any "less married", so I don't understand why anyone who thinks a priest who wears regular clothes is any "less" of a priest? :shrug:


#18

I never said anything about being "less of a priest" for not wearing the collar; I simply meant that it looks odd to know that a priest does not wear it. As someone posted earlier, look at this : http://www.ewtn.com/library/PRIESTS/RMCOLLAR.TXT

It is rather thorough, and yes does discuss times of recreation. As someone posted earlier, His Holiness John Paul II didn't wear his clerical dress while skiing; but goodness knows he did at almost any other time!


#19

You might not have said it outright, but I think it was pretty much implied with your reference to a man and his wedding ring. :rolleyes:

A link was posed earlier in this thread, but no one seems to be paying attention to Br. Jay's words, so here they are~

Origianally posted by Br. JReducation here

First: the idea that the Roman Collar is a priestly garb is a mistaken idea of the Catholic laity. I'm not sure where or when the mistake started.

Second: the Roman Collar shirt is neither clerical nor Roman. It began with the Church of Scotland.

Third: in the USA, the Fourth Council of Baltimore ruled that all priests had to wear a Roman collar, because it was the norm for the Episcopal Church in the USA and it was unsafe for Catholic priests to standout in public.

Fourth: religious orders protested, because many priests are BOTH. That is, they are priests and religious. Wearing the Roman collar would set them apart from the other religious who are not priests.

Fifth: the religious orders won out. The Holy Father ruled that the bishops had no authority to demand that ALL priests wear Roman collars, but only those priests who are subject to the bishops. Other priests who are subject to a religious superior are to wear whatever their community requires them to wear, be it a habit or secular clothing.

Sixth: in 1983, Canon Law said that priests wear whatever is customary for clergy in the local region.

Seventh: Canon Law still protects the rights of priests who are both, religious and priest, to be free of the aforementioned canon. In other words, the constitution of the community takes precedence over the canon, when it comes to dress. They wear whatever the constitution says they wear.

Eighth: the Roman Collar in the West is worn by clergy, seminarians and religious brothers, NOT JUST PRIESTS. Therefore, it's does not identify a man as a priest.

Ninth: religious orders that had habits did not wear the Roman Collar until the 1930s. Everyone wore a habit, which made the priest anonymous.

Tenth: today, those religious orders that allow the Roman Collar, require that everyone: priests, brothers, seminarians, and novices wear it for the sake of fraternity. Again, the priests are deliberately anonymous, because everyone is wearing the same thing.

Eleventh: those religious orders that do not have a habit, have their own dress code.

Twelfth: the diocesan bishop has the authority to regular what HIS priests wear while on duty, but not off duty.

Thirteenth: the diocesan bishop may NEVER regulate what regular priests wear, nor what secular priests wear who belong to a society or to a secular institute. The constitutions regulate this.

Fourteenth: the Roman Collar is not a universal garb. In many countries it is unknown. The Roman Collar was originally the name of the collar on a Roman cassock. It as not a shirt with a specific collar. The shirt is of Scottish Protestant origin brought to the USA by the Anglicans. If one observes, not all cassocks have a Roman collar. The Oratorians, Redemptorists, Passionists and Vincentians wore cassocks with different kinds of collars. Some still do.

Fifteenth: many religious communities, societies of apostolic life and institutes are moving away from the Roman Collar, because it makes everyone look the same. Franciscans want to be Franciscans. Jesuits want to be Jesuits. Dominicans want to be Dominicans and so forth. If we want to look the same, we wear street clothes. Many secular priests object to the religious wearing Roman Collars, because it makes them all look the same. Secular priests do not want to be confused with religious. If they had a call to the consecrated life, they would have joined a religious community.

That's the deal on Roman Collars.

[quote="NickD, post:18, topic:315146"]
I never said anything about being "less of a priest" for not wearing the collar; I simply meant that it looks odd to know that a priest does not wear it. As someone posted earlier, look at this : http://www.ewtn.com/library/PRIESTS/RMCOLLAR.TXT

It is rather thorough, and yes does discuss times of recreation. As someone posted earlier, His Holiness John Paul II didn't wear his clerical dress while skiing; but goodness knows he did at almost any other time!

[/quote]


#20

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:12, topic:315146"]
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LCis3cQMgzU/T1KPmmL6q1I/AAAAAAAAGJQ/h2daHy9Arfo/s1600/235_SkyingPope03.jpg

Tell that to this guy.

[/quote]

Awesome.


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