priest's ring

I noticed that my priest wears a ring on his wedding finger. Until recently, I just accepted this as something all priests do. However, last week there was 2 priest friends of my pastor visiting our parish and they both did not wear rings. I’m just wondering why my priest wears a ring? Is this typical? He is a diocesan priest, he does not belong to a religious order. Thanks.

I’ll have to say I haven’t seen most priests doing this, but some priests choose to wear a wedding band of sorts to symbolize their devotion to the Church. The ring may have been blessed or bear a suitable inscription as well.

Certain religious orders have their sisters wear rings as a part of their habits too. Some priestly religious orders as well–but you mentioned that this particular priest is diocesan.

You can also just ask your priest what his ring means. I’m sure he would be happy to tell you.

Yes I probably could just ask him, actually I’m quite curious now that you say you haven’t seen many priests do it. I just don’t want to pester him too much as I always have tons of questions. Anyhow though thanks very much for your answer, I appreciate it. I probably will ask him now.

That’s interesting because most of the priests I know DO wear rings. I suppose it’s a good thing to have if they want to ward off advances when they’re out and about in street clothes, rather than clerics.

My pastor was the first priest I’d ever seen who didn’t wear a ring. :shrug:

Something I’m curious about: does this priest wear a ring while offering Mass or celebrating other Sacraments or other public services?

Oh that is interesting… it obviously isn’t required of priests I guess then. I mean, unless they are religious of course, but that’s different.

[quote=kristie_m]I suppose it’s a good thing to have if they want to ward off advances when they’re out and about in street clothes, rather than clerics.

I never thought of that. It really doesn’t apply to my pastor though because he wears a collar all the time, and even a cassock quite often. I saw him at the grocers once in a cassock! :smiley:

[quote=malphono]Something I’m curious about: does this priest wear a ring while offering Mass or celebrating other Sacraments or other public services?

Yes, he does wear the ring during those times. But as far as I know he wears it all the time. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him wearing it outside of the church. Though now that you point that out, I may check. I still haven’t asked him about it, he and I are both quite busy. I’m hoping to ask him this weekend though.

The ring is a sort of tradition some priests and religious have taken up. I do not know when it started.

I do not wear a ring for the fact that it gives the mistaken impression that a priest or religious is “married” to the Church. Which is not true.

It has been my experience that wearing a ring attracts advances as much as not wearing one does.

That is sad. Although I had a deacon say to me recently something similar about the roman collar…that once upon a time it was the cue for women to back off…now they see it as nothing more than a challenge.

Some also see it as the sign of a man who has a deep faith and ability to commit.

Sometimes I think it is a sub-conscious attraction for the women rather than them making the conscious decision to pursue such men.

Interesting. Whether he wears a ring outside of Mass etc, is of little consequence to me. I assume this is a Latin Rite priest, but unless he’s a bishop or mitered abbot (or possibly a Protonotary Apostolic), he should not wear a ring for Mass or other public liturgical functions. Canon Lawyers are entitled to a ring ex officio, but even they are supposed to remove it for Mass etc. It’s not what I would call a capital offense, (or even the overused word “abuse”) but it is a matter of liturgical propriety.

Well… is he married? :wink:

Can you please provide a cite to the document that states that a priest may not wear a ring while celebrating Mass. This is the first I have heard of it.

Oh?? Well, that confuses me a bit if its true, because my priest is very orthodox. Yes he is Latin rite but he celebrates the Tridentine mass weekly as well as the OF, and he is really a stickler for having everything liturgically and canonically correct… in mass, confession, life in general, etc… so it surprises me if he is doing something “wrong”. He’s really quite “rigid” overall in how he practices as a priest so it doesn’t seem like something he would do. I’ll really have to ask him now!

Oh OK well thanks for saying it is a tradition of sorts, even if you don’t know the origin.

[quote=ByzCath]I do not wear a ring for the fact that it gives the mistaken impression that a priest or religious is “married” to the Church. Which is not true.

Yes actually I’ve heard more than one person say priests and religious are married to the Church. I just assumed it was true. Thank you for telling me otherwise.

No, I cannot give you chapter-and-verse right now. But I can say that it is (at least it was) the custom. Perhaps another poster with better resources can fill that in. The best I can do for the moment is from The Ecclesiastical Review which says:

Qu: May a member of a religious community in which the priests wear a ring to which they are entitled by their profession celebrate Mass wearing this ring
Resp: **From the canons of general legislation as well as the new Code it appears that the wearing of a ring at Mass is not permitted to simple priests without a special Apostolic induit Even where the ring is a legitimate token of office such as the doctorate a priest may not wear it during liturgical functions **That privilege is reserved as a mark of ecclesiastical authority to bishops and prelates Nor does custom establish a right of this kind as has been declared by the Sacred Congregation SRC in Piscien 9 March 1894 The constitutions of the community in question if approved by the Holy See in general terms should contain the expressed approval for the wearing of the ring at Mass At other times it is of course merely the mark of religious profession and implies no assumption of ecclesiastical authority

What that quote says is exactly what we were taught. And by “taught” I hope you get my drift that I do not mean in grade school, or high school, or “religious ed” or anything of the like.

I can’t provide any documentation either, (see Malphono’s post), but I can say that I was instructed when I was ordained not to wear a ring at Mass. I was told that it was inappropriate, but that there would not be any negative consequences if I “got caught.”

The reasons are twofold:

  1. A ring is reserved to prelates.

  2. A ring is secular adornment, and as such it should not “show” when a priest is vested (prelates rings being a different matter of course). It’s like covering the shirt-collar with an amice–nothing but the vestments should be visible.

I remember that older priests used to remove their watches before Mass as well, although that might just be coincidence with no liturgical meaning whatever.

I also can’t document this, but I once heard that the Dali Lama said to Pope John Paul II that he shouldn’t wear his wristwatch at prayers, because prayer-time is not secular-time, and so it’s inappropriate to wear a watch while at prayer. I’m not saying that it happened. But whether it’s true or not, the idea does make sense.

I wonder how this works with priests who are actually married as their rings are not “secular adornment”.

Interresting point. Most married priests are Eastern (tell you something you don’t know, right :slight_smile: ) The custom of a bishop’s ring is a Western custom, even though some Eastern bishops have adopted it over the centuries, so it really would not apply. Also, Eastern vestment practices are a little different (again, same comment), and are not so concerned about the idea of not having something “show through”–for example, Eastern Priests have no problem with the clerical collar showing at the neck while vested.

As far as a married Roman priest, well, I think the response would be “ya, technically, you shouldn’t be wearing it, but it would be pretty silly to ask you to remove it…” I can’t imagine anyone actually saying to the priest “would you mind removing your wedding ring?”

We had a parochial vicar in our parish who wear his wedding ring. He had been married but his wife died and afterward he entered the seminary. In fact in the last 10 years we have had two widowers as parochial vicars in our parish.

Not to take this to an extreme, but just curious: In theory, if not in actual practice, would this technically apply to the wedding rings of married deacons? Or, and perhaps a closer example, what about a deacon’s college class ring or similar ring that is “showier” than a weding ring?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit