Religious Garments

I just watched a video online and had some questions with regard to religious garments.

After Vatican II were nuns permitted to ditch the habit? Isn’t this a bit excessive- woman in habits are expressing the modesty of our Virgin Mother, no?

Also, is it true that priest only have to were their clerical garb sometimes? If so, shouldn’t they always have to wear it, considering that they are just that- Priests- and they should dress in that manner.

Why did the council have to take away these things? It’s things like this that make me look at the Orthodox and think, “Wow, they’ve preserved tradition so much better than us.”

Please reassure. Thanks!

Well in terms of women’s religious habits. It was left up to the individual religious orders. They could vote to retain a full head to toe habit, a uniform skirt and blouse with or without a veil, or go with laity type clothing. The reasons vary as why the orders chose what they wear. I personally like to see a full habit(Although, pity during hot weather) or a moderate habit. However, if I know that a woman that wears laity type clothing is a Nun. She still gets my full respect, obedience, courtesy, prompt response with either, Yes or No, Sister.

the way I heard it, and from nuns of several orders, ranging from those who have become rather liberal, to quite orthodox, is that Pope Pius XII urged nuns in the 1950s to consider modernizing their habits to make them more functional, easier to launder and care for, more resembling modest business attire of the day. rationale was that after all the original habits were modelled on the dress of their own day. He encountered resistance from heads of orders who resented Vatican “interference” in their affairs.

Orders that have modified habits or even adopted standard business dress are therefore acting in accord with papal wishes. In any case, within the bounds of their rules, orders may suggest any habit and as long as it is approved, adopt it for their members.

each national conference of bishops makes general rules for clergy dress–for instance in some countries shirts in colors other than black are recommended–and each bishop sets rules for his diocese.

don’t know why OP thinks this is an apologetics question, but as I recall we have some lengthy discussions on the liturgy or vocations forums if anybody has energy to rehash them

Hi again,
I just found the Vatican II document that speaks on this issue. “Decree on the Up-To-Date Renewal of Religious Life” or Latin Perfectae Caritatis.
" The religious habit, as a symbol of consecration, must be simple and modest, at once poor and becoming. In addition, it must be in keeping with the requirements of health and it must be suited to the times and place and to the needs of the apostolate. The habits, both men and of women, which are not in conformity with these norms ought to be changed."

My own parish priest wears his all the time while his in the parish doing priestly duties. However, Father has worn at times a light gray clerical shirt with his black pants.(Other colors I’m not sure). But on his lone day off away from the parish, I think I heard him imply that his wears laity type clothing. That also would apply to vacation time away from the parish as well. My parish priest is proud to be a priest. We also have in residence an older Francisian who will wear his order’s habit, and sometimes the full black clerical wear.

We had an associate priest who used to wear his clericals on the church property but when he left the church property he would slip the white tab into his collar. I often used to wonder if he was ashamed of being a priest.

Hi Yinekka,
That maybe possible. We don’t know the intention or motive of the priest. How about a more positive reason. Since our priests are called out of the community and they being fully human. Even they need down and alone time. They see so much and feel so much emotion in the performance of their priestly ministry. Here’s just a few: Happiness, joy, hope in baptism and marriage. Suffering, sickness, despair, maybe dying in the Sacrament of the sick. This is not an all inclusive list of what a priest does. We the laity sometimes forget that, so when Father does something WE think is out of the ordinary. What is first thing the people will do? More than likely complain to each other or directly to Father.
Since the priest is an alter-Christ and supposed to be like Christ. That even calls for him to get away from the people, just like Jesus. He took time for himself to reflect and rest. Maybe your priest was in a hurry to get away. I don’t know.

My last priest was a health nut… I can’t see him biking or going to the gym in his collar… but other than that he wore the collar. I take that back… when he was being deployed I saw him in his military uniform too…

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