Priests not wearing their collars in public

Has anyone else noticed more of this? I’ve seen two different priests at local parishes who don’t where their collar in public. They’re just out in ordinary outfits. So basically you would never know they were priests unless you asked them. Am I being too picky/judgmental about this issue? Is there a rule about priests being required to wear their collar outside of Church?

In short: Yes, No, Yes

The long answer (taken from another 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. ( 284CIC,)
Here are the corresponding norms decreed by the USCCB in 1999. An excerpt:
In liturgical rites, clerics shall wear the vesture prescribed in the proper liturgicad books. Outside liturgical functions, a black suit and Roman collar are the usual attire for priests. The use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric.

How does a diocesan priest circumvent this in good conscience?

If I were a police officer, I would be expected to wear my uniform (unless I were working undercover, perhaps)…

[quote=Goldy]Has anyone else noticed more of this? I’ve seen two different priests at local parishes who don’t where their collar in public. They’re just out in ordinary outfits. So basically you would never know they were priests unless you asked them. Am I being too picky/judgmental about this issue? Is there a rule about priests being required to wear their collar outside of Church?
[/quote]

If they are off duty at a ball game, out fishing etc. it is fine and dandy unless they can get in free by wearing their clergy duds :slight_smile:

[quote=msproule]If I were a police officer, I would be expected to wear my uniform (unless I were working undercover, perhaps)…
[/quote]

Yes, but when not on the job and just out in public you would not be expected to wear your uniform. Actually I know of some police departments have rules against this.

When a priest is working in the Church, either liturgically or in the “office” he should be dressed as a priest, either wearing clerics, a cassock, or a habit (if he is a religious). When he is “on his own time” he should dress as he choses.

Not to worry, when they need to go buy a car or want to make a public statement about something where it would benefit them to wear their clerical garb, they will.

[quote=tom.wineman]If they are off duty at a ball game, out fishing etc. it is fine and dandy unless they can get in free by wearing their clergy duds :slight_smile:
[/quote]

[quote=chicago]Not to worry, when they need to go buy a car or want to make a public statement about something where it would benefit them to wear their clerical garb, they will.
[/quote]

Both of these comments are disgusting and very uncharitable.

WHY A PRIEST SHOULD WEAR HIS ROMAN COLLAR

…Apart from entirely exceptional circumstances, the non-use of
clerical clothing on the part of the cleric can manifest a weak sense
of his own identity as a pastor completely dedicated to the service
of the Church (# 66)…

It is our contention that the rather widespread practice of priests
neglecting to wear their collar when they should is both a sign and a
cause of malaise in the Church. Such casualness about being publicly
identified as a priest of the Catholic Church may signify a desire to
distance himself from his priestly vocation. The collar becomes “work
clothes,” which are put away when one is not “on duty.” The
functionalistic notion of the priesthood revealed by this attitude is
in contradiction to the ontological configuration to Christ the High
Priest conferred by priestly ordination…

[quote=ByzCath]Yes, but when not on the job and just out in public you would not be expected to wear your uniform. Actually I know of some police departments have rules against this .

When a priest is working in the Church, either liturgically or in the “office” he should be dressed as a priest, either wearing clerics, a cassock, or a habit (if he is a religious). When he is “on his own time” he should dress as he choses.
[/quote]

I anticipated this point, which is why I hesitated to use this example. However, a priest is rarely “off the clock” in the same sense as one in a secular vocation. Most priests that I know have very little time of “their own”. I understand there is going to be some leniency implicit to these regulations but to the OP’s point there are some who arguably take far too much liberty.

[quote=msproule]I anticipated this point, which is why I hesitated to use this example. However, a priest is rarely “off the clock” in the same sense as one in a secular vocation. Most priests that I know have very little time of “their own”. I understand there is going to be some leniency implicit to these regulations but to the OP’s point there are some who arguably take far too much liberty.
[/quote]

Yes, there are some to take too much liberty but then there are some parishoners who think that a priest has no time “off the clock” either.

As someone in formation with a religious order, I really take offense at that attitude.

[quote=ByzCath]Both of these comments are disgusting and very uncharitable.
[/quote]

But true, Byz .

[quote=tom.wineman]But true, Byz .
[/quote]

Not so. It may be true for some small number but to make such a statement as if every priest out there will do so just to get a break on costs is disgusting and uncharitable.

It makes me sick and it is no wonder that many men avoid the calling when people out there make comments such as this.

That and those who say they are never “off the clock”.

Its a wonder that anyone answers the call today.

I believe this is a very big part of the “vocation crisis” our Church is facing today.

Many people make disparaging remarks towards the clergy and/or treat the clergy very badly. If you think that young men do not notice this you are saddly mistaken.

I intend no offense. I am trying to take an honest, objective viewpoint based upon the known regulations. As far as I know, the rules I posted apply to Diocesean priests only. Each order may have its own specific guidelines.

Furthermore, it is not necessarily my opinion that priests must always be “on the clock” or nearly so. As I stated, that observation is based upon the accounts of priests that I know.

Here is another example (maybe more appropriate): As a husband, I wear a ring. I am always on duty as a husband, therefore I always wear my ring as a symbol of my vocation.

Either way, can you explain why such an attitude is offensive?

[quote=ByzCath]Both of these comments are disgusting and very uncharitable.
[/quote]

Both of these comments are very true to the reality of things, like it or not.

[quote=chicago]Both of these comments are very true to the reality of things, like it or not.
[/quote]

Again, anecdotally they might be.

But to make such a blanket statement as if all priests are like this is wrong, period.

I think we would do well to remember that in the US and some other countries we are lucky that clerical dress is permitted at all. In many other countries anti-clerical laws made it illegal many years ago and in some cases these laws have never been changed. Thus it is not only in Saudi Arabia where a priest would not be allowed to dress clerically, but even in an allegedly Catholic country like Mexico. Here in Germany the priests never wear clerical dress in public (they wear business suits if anything special), but I have not been able to ascertain if that’s because Germany still has anti-clerical laws in place, or if the use of clerical dress fell out of custom going back to the time of the secularizations. I tend to think the latter; Germany actually has state support of its churches and anti-clericalism here is a thing of the distant past.

It fosters the false idea that priests have no life of their own.

That they must drop everything at the demand of a parishoner.

It also hurts prospective vocations as it looks like the “job” is more than it really is.

A priest is not on duty all the time no matter what some priests seem to think. If they truely think that then they will burn out sometime in the near future and will be no good to anyone, even themselves.

[quote=ByzCath]Again, anecdotally they might be.

But to make such a blanket statement as if all priests are like this is wrong, period.
[/quote]

Neither I, nor the other poster, said that every priest is like that; you inferred that which we did not imply. Yet it is common knowledge, really, that what we noted is all too widespread in priesly practice. Even priests, themselves, talk and joke about it.

They are supposed to be Jesus’s visible representative. For that reason alone they should have to wear clerics when not in church.

[quote=chicago]Neither I, nor the other poster, said that every priest is like that; you inferred that which we did not imply. Yet it is common knowledge, really, that what we noted is all too widespread in priesly practice. Even priests, themselves, talk and joke about it.
[/quote]

Actually, I inferred nothing more than wat was said.

Again,

(bold emphasis added)

they: used to refer to two or more people or things previously mentioned or easily identified

their: belonging to or associated with the people or things previously mentioned or easily identified

them: used as the object of a verb or preposition to refer to two or more people or things previously mentioned or easily identified

The people previously mentioned/identified are priests. So the inference is priests, not just a handful of priests.

Just another attack on the clergy.

People joke about many things all the time, that doesn’t make it right to do so.

[quote=ByzCath]It makes me sick and it is no wonder that many men avoid the calling when people out there make comments such as this.
[/quote]

The reality of it is what makes me sick, and something which I found discouraging when I was a seminarian. But don’t shoot the messenger for communicating the reality.

That and those who say they are never “off the clock”.

I’d agree with that statement and suggest that priests ought never ultimately think themselves, “off the clock” even if not on official duty.

Many people make disparaging remarks towards the clergy and/or treat the clergy very badly. If you think that young men do not notice this you are saddly mistaken.

Honestly, the clergy often do it to themselves and unncessarily open the priesthood to the critique by their own careless failings. THAT is where the real shame and scandal lies. Not in noting the problems such that they might be cleansed.

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