[quote="melchesidechpio, post:3, topic:226774"]
as a novitiate in the Secular Franciscan Order, we were the Tau. To me that is my habit and no it isn't like the friars where in the 1st Order. I haven't read the rule of 1883 to know if at the time Secular Franciscans wore full habit or not or even today if some by chance still observe that rule instead of the 1978 rule updated by Pope Paul VI. But I will look into it.
[quote="barb_finnegan, post:4, topic:226774"]
When I was in the Third Order Franciscans (from 1979 to 1988) I wore a habit over my secular clothes. It looked like a friar's habit, with the hood and a beanie on the head. But the wearing of the habit was discouraged by the higher ups in the Provincial food chain.
[quote="Diaconia, post:6, topic:226774"]
That's unfortunate, our world needs the witness value of habits (and for that matter, clerical attire, too) more than ever.
Tertiaries should wear the habits of their orders.
I think there are some misunderstandings here. The original habit of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance was a tunic without a hood, a scapular and chord. It was usually worn under the street clothing.
The comparison with the Lay Dominicans is not a good one, because the Lay Dominicans are not a canonical order of Pontifical Right. They are an association that is attached to the Dominican Friars. Dominic never intended for them to be an autonomous order. That's why they wore the same habit as the friars and the nuns. Actually, the black scapular was worn by the Dominican Lay Brothers and Extern Sisters. The Lay Dominicans wore the same habit.
The Order of Friars Minor, the Order of Poor Clares, the Order of the Brothers of Penance, and the Order of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance are all Franciscan, because we are all sons and daughters of Francis of Assisi and he founded all four orders. But they are autonomous. That's why we never wore the same habit. Even the friars wear different habits according to region, ministries, and the different obediences.
In 1978 Pope Paul VI promulgated the new rule for the Third Order Secular Franciscans. He made several changes to the previous rule.
He changed the name of the order from the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, to the Secular Franciscan Order. He wanted to make sure that the Secular Order was not confused with the Regular Franciscan Order, which is known as the Brothers and Sisters of Penance.
He abolished the habit, because he wanted the Secular Franciscans to project secularity without embracing secularism. He wanted you guys to persevere in the traditions and customs of the Franciscan order, without being confused with the friars, sisters and nuns. It was decided that the Tau would replace the habit. However, those fraternities that had worn the habit for more than 100 years were allowed to keep it.
It was also Pope Paul's desire to see the Secular Franciscans more involved in the apostolic work of the local diocese as a group that would set the example for other secular men and women. It was his opinion that the use of a habit would not be effective, because you would look like religious. Therefore, other secular men and women would not be inclined to follow.
Since the rules of the four Franciscan obediences are issued with Papal Bulls, the current rule for the Secular Franciscan Order is canonically binding on all Secular Franciscans and on the rest of the Church. This means that those of us who are not Secular Franciscans, must accept the Secular Franciscans as they are described in the rule and neither laity nor bishops can interfere with them or dictate to them. Nor may we friars or the sisters and nuns dictate to them in any way, unlike the Dominicans and Carmelites who do have authority over their third orders, because they are not canonical pontifical orders as are the Secular Franciscans.
Until such time as another Pontiff raises the Papal Bull and authorizes a rewrite of the current rule, the SFO rule must be observed as is. The problem is not the rule nor the absence of a habit. The problem are the constitutions of the SFO. Those were not dictated by the pope. Those were written by the delegates to the General Chatper of 2000 and voted on by the membership of the order. In my opinion, those constitutions fail to apply the rule correctly. They confuse secularity with secularism and include an excessive enphasis on secular life of the brothers and sisters and fail to say enough about fidelity to Franciscan tradition and spirituality.
If you read the consitutions of any of the branches of friars, they are very spiritual and very theological. They have very few references to what to do when to do it and why do it. They speak about the spirit of St. Francis and provide an explanation for each point. For example, it speaks about fraternity and then explains what constitutes fraternity and why it was important to our Holy Father. Things like this are missing from the constitutions of the SFO.
Even if they wore a habit, without the spirituality, the habit is just a costume.
Br. JR, OSF :)