What would you do if your new pastor imposed a uniform for lay liturgical ministers?


Please don’t offend me. If a pair of shorts and a t-shirt are really the only clothes owned by someone who wants to read at Mass, then the parish needs to take measures to assist the individual in procuring suitable clothing to wear at Mass.

It’s amazing that you could write what you did above and then go on to mention “invest(ing) in a range of cassocks to fit a range of sizes if it is that big a deal.”


How do you do GIFs on here?


ahh… thank you :slight_smile:


Ok, got $50+ for me to buy a new shirt that meets those guidelines? Because that’s what those sorts of shirts would cost me.


I’ve got similar problem with wide shoulders and a large front.

I’m going with a t-shirt and a sew-on collar. And personally, I prefer a cream color to white – do you think this imaginary pastor at this imaginary parish will kick my off the imaginary organ bench if I wear an imaginary t-shirt of an imaginary off-white instead of an imaginary white?

And if it is wrong, would it be an imaginary venial sin, or an imaginary mortal sin? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


I voted quiet but unhappy compliance, because I feel that the dress code is too strict. A more reasonable one would be a button down or polo shirt with khaki or dress pants for men, and for women a blouse or shirt with sleeves that cover the shoulders and no cleavage, khakis, dress pants, or a skirt that is at least knee length or a dress that covers the shoulders and is at least knee length. I feel like it is a little petty to dictate the footwear, although maybe not so to just state no flip flops. People should be able to choose from things that they already own and not appear to be wearing a uniform, in my opinion.


There is one missing option I am most happy to supply:

Appeal to the diocese to overrule the parish priest for implementing a draconian and inappropriate “uniform”.

I can state unequivocally that if such a thing had been done by a priest in my diocese, and the chancery received appeals along the lines of what I am reading in this thread, the priest’s action would have been abrogated by diocesan order and he would have been called in to be counseled by one of the senior priests – presuming the bishop did not himself dress down the man.

If the priest were barring people from their ministerial functions based on the colour of their stockings or of their shoes or for their choice of footwear, he would likely be sent for a mental health check-up.

As a priest who is Presider at the liturgical assembly, I am not there to impose my personal tastes on other people. Those who are between childhood and dotage quite rightly exercise their prerogative of self-determination and dress themselves…without directive from me.

I will add that the whole purpose in choosing to have laity not wear the alb is to emphasise that they are, in fact, laity…laity drawn from all aspects of the parish family. The type of specificity being put forward for how they should present themselves is simply abhorrent


Not at all. Dress shirts aren’t more expensive than athletic gear or casual attire. They have dress shirts for sale for $19.99 at Macy’s this week. The red Geoffrey Beene shirt I am wearing now , I bought at Macy’s for $9.99 6 months ago. Bought the blue Countess Mara tie for $12 in the same store.

The expensive clothes are Nike and Under Armour. Not dress clothes.


This is one area of life where buying men’s shirts and buying women’s shirts really, really, really is not equivalent.

For women, especially women who aren’t the same body shape as your average dress shirt, dress shirts most certainly are more expensive than casual attire. I doubt most women in the U.S. would be shocked at the prices I’ve quoted.


So your problem is with the colors? Otherwise what you wrote would be fine.

So again, it’s about colors?


Naw. In this day and age with parish politics being what they are, a capable pastor would run this past his ordinary before implementation. While my pastor would never say anything about how anyone dressed, I’m fairly sure my bishop would approve this non-draconian and most appropriate dress code – particularly given some of the things he has witnessed in my parish.


I am astonished you have to even explain this.

It is remarkable that it even need be said. …And I am a European priest.


Yes, it’s mostly about requiring specific colors. I also wouldn’t require women to have a collar and I wouldn’t dictate socks/hose or footwear. Even saying no flip flops is iffy to me. I’ve seen women wear nice flip flop style sandals with skirts and dresses and it looks fine. Luckily I’ve never seen a lay liturgical person wearing obviously inappropriate clothing at any mass I’ve been to. Maybe a little too casual for my taste at times such as khaki shorts on a man but otherwise people seem to make an effort to look respectable.


If the lay ministers really were dressed inappropriately, rather than just to your expectations, I would be surprised, and if they were dressed appropriately, except to your expectations and the pastor set a uniform code I would not quite be sure if I would be just be mildly shocked or wildly amused!


True enough, but its not the only combination that looks put together


A lot of men don’t buy many woman’s clothes, even as gifts. At least here in America. Maybe its different among European men.


Nothing “ridiculous” about what I outlined in posting #1 of this thread. Your use of “ridiculous”, “draconian” and “inappropriate” in this thread are terribly misplaced.

I thank God I don’t live in an (arch)diocese where ideas are “instantly tossed into the rubbish bin” without careful review and discussion.


I have found that many men, especially young men, don’t understand that western women’s clothing is quite a different beast than men’s.

There’s a lot more dimensions to get right - so for example, when it comes to tops, I need something not only in the right size but has the right ratios between my shoulders, bust, and waist, and has all of them in roughly the same place as those parts of my body. I can’t just walk into a clothing store, pick up a top in my size, and expect it to fit.

Quality is also a lot more variable. There’s been a trend lately in women’s clothing towards making tops extremely thin. Cheap tops tend especially to be thin, and thin tops aren’t modest because you can see everything through them. This is worse with light colors, especially white.

Also on quality, many of those cheap tops won’t last. You might be able to find a $20 blouse, but the odds are good that it will fall apart very quickly. Many women have stories of that top that’s been washed three times and looks like it’s years old.

All this to say, as a woman, if I want a top in a specific color that fits, isn’t so sheer as to be indecent, and will last more than a couple of months, I’d better be prepared to either spend a long time looking for it to pop up on sale or second-hand, or to shell out some cash.

I think the point of it is it’s probably a bad idea for men to set women’s dress codes without talking to a few women. “Solid color non-tee top that does not show cleavage and meets one’s pants or skirt” would be much easier. I think most of us have a top in our wardrobes that fits that.


Don’t worry. There is little difference in the price of men’s and women’s clothing when it comes to basic staple pieces such as those under discussion.


I was just thinking – the dress code I outlined is precisely that of my parish’s choir and that of the diocese’s choir. The only difference is that their dress code is even a bit tighter and includes neckties for the men.

Now I’m certain my bishop would approve what’s described in posting #1 – if it was coming from the pastor. He might be a little curious why the pastor was seeking his approval in the first place, but I’m sure he would give it.

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