Wearing the Cassock as a Seminarian?

Dear Forum,

In one year and a bits time, I hope to be attending Seminary at CHRIST THE KING, In BC. Now, i have a question according to dress. Can I wear the Cassock, minus the collar? I want to get rid of my secular clothes and wear a Cassock as a Seminarian, and if need be, without the collar (at least until that hopeful, magical day comes 6-8 years down the road…:heaven:)

Would this be sinful of me?

am i allowed? Even without the collar?

I dont want to wear my secular clothes, as i want to live for CHRIST, so i feel the Hollister, Aeropostale, Ralph Lauren etc has to go!! Instead, can i don a nice Cassock?

I appreciate your help dear readers!!

I would NOT want to wear the collar, as dont want to play someone im not, which is a Priest (Not yet anyway!! You wait! :smiley: :smiley: :D), but I would love and be honored to wear the Cassock.

For reasons being

I could empty my wardrobe, minus and plus a few shirts

I could “try” it on,

It would show that i am attempting to make a descision to serve MY LORD and HIS Church, for my life

It would be more economical than buying regular clothes all the time.

plus, I love the look of Cassocks.;):smiley:

Hello. I would trust the seminary to provide guidance to you and your classmates on what seminarians are to wear and how to present yourselves as seminarians. Instead, I would focus on continuing to grow spiritually, in prayer, humility, and charity. God’s grace, along with these things, will help you discern your vocation. God willing, you will become a good priest. God bless.

A seminarian wearing a cassock causes irritation of people on the street.

If people are not irritated by your presence, there would be something wrong with you! Seminarians are to turn the world 180 degrees and therefore should also live and perform in this manner.

The superiors of our seminarians in New Zealand are very slack regarding the appropriate dressing as well as most of the priests are slack. They seem to be afraid of their identity. Many “secular” priests often don’t even wear their collar so that they can not be recognized. How sad!

More and more seminarians express their wish to wear a cassock and every year they ask for permission of the superiors. Wish not granted so far, but tradition will come back.

As soon as the society of St Pius X is reconciled with Rome, there will be a storm of young followers into this society. 180 degrees turn. They have to wear a cassock.

You may not have a choice what you wear.

And if you do have a choice then try not to stand out.

At the local seminary (the Josephinum), on some (quite frequent) occasions the seminarians wear full clerical clothing - most visible to many when praying outside the local abortion clinic. All of the transitional deacons do, all of the time. It’s a matter of discipline that varies from diocese to diocese, much like the proper form of dress and address for a permanent deacon. Follow the custom at your seminary, or ask the permission of your superior - the dress becomes more traditional by the year, as seminarians (and their teachers) no longer want to be or train “presiders” who are just one of a group all confecting the Eucharist together, but want to be Priests of the Most High God.

If one looks at old books of students’ portraits, one will find that minor seminarians (high school students) often had their portrait taken with cassock and collar around the time of Vatican II. SSPX, as the above poster pointed out, still does, and never abandoned the custom.

I would almost certainly jump ship (or, more accurately, decks of a ship, as we’re all in the Barque of St Peter) to the SSPX if it was reconciled to Rome and I discerned a calling as a priest secular.

I talk on occasion with a jesuit seminarian and he said it is not uncommon for seminarians in the order of the society of jesus to wear the roman collar. I don’t think there’s anything against it, but I agree with you on not wanting to be taken for a Priest when I was just a seminarian. (Although to that point I ran into a lutheran “minister” at the hospital a couple months ago. Full black with roman collar and everything. Looked like a priest head to toe. When I said, “Excuse me Father” he stopped and started talking to me but explained that he wasn’t Catholic, he was lutheran. Though I did not say it, as it would have been uncharitable, but MAN! Talk about wolves in sheeps clothing. That can be applied LITERALLY here.

What an extraordinary statement.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Is that really how you see other Christians, and a minister to boot, who has given up his life to serving the Lord as he sees it?

It would only be sinful if it was forbidden and you still wore it.

That said, we have a seminarian in my diocese (yes, only one) who has already been instituted as Lector & Acolyte. He used to wear a cassock when he was at Mass, with a surplice if he was serving. The new Bishop told him not to wear it.

It did lead to mistakes in our parish, people would come in to church and call him Father. He had to keep correcting them.

It has been decades but I can still remember those who used to come home from the seminary wearing the cassock. It was part of them and felt quite natural. This guy, OTOH, seemed to be role playing when he put it on. I’m in theatre and can usually tell when someone is sincere. When this guy donned the cassock he was acting the part of a 1940s seminarian rather than being a seminarian, if that makes sense.

Do you mean you want to wear the cassock now, before you are admitted to a seminary, or are you asking if you can wear it when and if you are? At the moment, you are not a priest or a seminarian, so there is no reason for you to wear the cassock (unless of course you are serving Mass or some other liturgical function) or other clerical attire. And please note that in some dioceses and seminaries the practice is for seminarians to wear the collar even before receiving Holy Orders.

I might also add that wearing “secular clothing” is not wrong in and of itself, it’s not inherently sinful, and even in the seminary you will have times where you might wear “civilian attire.” So long as you’re not being immodest or wearing a t-shirt that promotes something contrary to the Church, secular labels are not necessarily evil. Around my seminary there is no shortage of men who, when lounging around or going off-campus, put on some of the brand names that you spoke disparagingly about; this doesn’t mean that they are not living for Christ, but simply that holiness is not determined by the label one is wearing (or forsaking). The practice in my seminary is that men who are in Theology may wear the collar on campus, but not when they leave–i.e. to go to apostolic works or out to eat or whatever. Only deacons are allowed to wear clerical attire off campus within the diocese where the seminary is located. Please be careful about labeling certain things “sacred” and certain others “profane” when there isn’t necessarily anything inherently sacred or profane about them. Even St. Benedict says to regard all things in the monastery as sacred as though they were for use at the altar–because all that we have is a gift from God.


This is true. I know the FSSP seminarians receive their cassock and collar in their second year when they receive tonsure. The same was the case for my friend who is a diocesan priest. Be patient with these things.

Where I go to seminary you can only wear a cassock (w/ the collar) on the grounds of the seminary, or at our local cathedral. We can also wear the clerical shirt, again only on the seminary grounds. Outside of the seminary - for apostolate and stuff - we wear a black suit and tie. When we are not in the seminary (like on weekends or vacations), it’s whatever you wanna wear.

So, if your seminary allows you to wear a cassock, go nuts. If not, don’t argue it. Your seminary formators know what they’re doing with the dress code.

I know at the college I went to (University of St. Thomas in St. Paul), those in the lower seminary (or St. John Vianney) would occasionally wear black cassocks without the Roman collar. However, that was only for special events. Otherwise, during the week for class, all seminarians would wear dress clothes (black or tan dress pants usually with a button-down collared dress shirt). After class and on the weekends, they were free to dress as they pleased. In the upper seminary at St. Thomas (or St. Paul Seminary), many of the seminarians wear the Roman collar. I’m not sure if the dress code at either seminary is verbatim the dress code, but it did set the seminarians apart from the rest of the student body.

You do exactly what your diocese tells you to do, because there are no official Vatican-level guidelines for what seminarians are supposed to wear.

I know you feel a great desire to proclaim Christ to the world in this way. Although there is historical justification for seminarians wearing the cassock (with the collar), it technically depends on what your diocese wants.

I don’t want you to get kicked out of seminary for stupid, petty stuff by making a mistake with this(yes, it still happens), so you’d better look and see what most other seminarians in your diocese do with this. If you can’t find out, err on the side of dressing like normal people do, otherwise it won’t end well.

I know what you mean - as a Lutheran pastor, I’d HATE to be mistaken for one of those Catholic Pedophiles! Sheesh, talk about your LITERAL WOLVES!

:confused: I just don’t get how you RCs can continue to front this moral superiority. I have a meeting later this afternoon to talk to a FORMERLY RC couple and explain to them that they don’t have to pay me to baptize their baby. To me that’s incredibly sad.

I’m no expert on this, but you do not need to give up “secular clothes”. I’ve seen Priests out on the golf course, picnics, ball games, etc. in “secular clothes”. At least two Priests in the Diocese particiapate in an annual bicycle ride across Iowa in 100 degree weather. Would you expect them to wear their collar or Cassock?

Over the summer, my Parish had a transational Deacon doing “on the job training” for preparation to be ordained next Summer. While he wore the collar on Sunday’s, I treated him to a meal out right before he left to return to the Seminary (after all he’s still a college kid with not much money) and showed up in shorts and a golf shirt.

You should talk with the Vocations Director of your Dioecese on what’s appropirate for a Seminarin to wear and what’s not appropriate.

I know three seminarians personally and our diocese has more than twenty. The three I know well I see when they come back to our parish for the weekend to serve, or come with us on youth retreats. They wear polos and slacks. The others that I have seen around the diocese wear button ups and ties.

One goes to a seminary where it is neccesary to wear the collar and clerics during class on while on campus.

I would wait until enrolled in seminary to start wearing a cassock though.

It’s better that you *discern if you even have a vocation *looooooong before worrying what you’re going to wear.

Someone who is too worried about how they look might not have their heart in the right place. Just saying.

Living for Christ has nothing to do with what you wear. Your priorities are way out of line with regards to the priesthood.

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