After a few straight posts about how some priests dress up for work and how they behave in public, I have here an interesting article from the Vatican Insider about the Holy See's move to, ehem, "force" priests to wear their cassocks.
Of course, this came from Andrea Tornielli.
Hey, Teletubbie! Sit down!
You're not a priest so stop wearing that cassock and collar!
It’s the dress that makes the monk. A least in the Vatican. Last 15 October, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, signed a circular letter sent to all offices in the Roman Curia, to stress the need for priests and clerics to turn up at work wearing traditional clerical garb, that is the dog collar and black cassock. On formal occasions, for example when the Pope is present, monsignors will no longer be able to let their robe with the red buttons and purple fascia gather dust. [Before Paul VI's reforms on the clerical garb stated in his Motu propio 'Pontificalis Domus' , everyone was very strict about what to wear. Everyone knows what to follow. After Vatican II, it's all up to you. It's all about "Pastoral reasons", it's all about "Nah. The people don't need that." So you see priests not wearing the cassock and clerical collar, spending more time in malls and other places that they should not be found in the first place. They use "Pastoral Reasons" so they can do their you know, THING.............Not you Teletubbie!]
This was to refresh clerics’ minds about the canonical laws which give out a clear signal and the importance of respecting these extends beyond the walls of the Holy See: [the order is not just for Rome!] it is very rare for priests in the Apostolic Palace not to dress like priests. The call for priests to be more law-abiding and look impeccable is meant to be a subtle example for those who come to the Vatican from outside and are just passing through Rome. [I hope this is emulated throughout the Catholic world!]
The Code of Canon Law states that “clerics must wear decorous ecclesiastical vestments” in line with the laws that bind the various bishops’ conferences. [Episcopal Conferences, ehem.] The Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) established that “the clergy has to wear a cassock or dog collar,” meaning black or grey vestments and a white dog collar. The dog collar was originally a Protestant garment; Catholic clergymen initially adopted it to make life easier for clerics when they had to travel. [here in the Philippines, the CBCP legislated that priests wear either their religious habit, the clerical collar or a barong of only one color with a cross hanging on the priest's neck. Well, most priests don't do either of these.]
In 1994, the Vatican Congregation for the clergy explained the reasons - sociological ones as well - behind Catholic priests’ vestments: “In a secularised and essentially materialistic society” there is a strong need for the community to be able to recognise the presbyter, who is a man of God and deliverer of his mysteries, the circular stated. [Well, obviously some priests don't think their job is of the supernatural and that they would rather mix with the people and feel they need to belong. They say that Jesus dressed like ordinary people back in the days and he hated the long robes of the Pharisees. So they are following the example of Jesus. Really? Jesus hated the long robes? Or Jesus hated the Pharisees for using the robes to draw attention to themselves rather than what the truth and beauty of Judaism? Does Liberation Theology ring a bell with you folks? These priests use this excuse so they can become incognito and do whatever they want in whatever place. It goes beyond being simple. Trust me. I met a lot of them. I am not saying all priests who wear secular clothes do these, but a LOT do!]
Bertone’s letter asks monsignors to wear the cassock with the red buttons at “events where the Holy Father is present” and on other official occasions. In one of his audiences, the Pope also urged bishops to start paying extra close attention to etiquette.
In the past, the clergy wore civilian clothes only in certain contexts, for example in Turkey in the 40’s and recently in Mexico, with bishops used to dressing as managers. Soon, the habit took root in Europe: how can one forget the image of Joseph Ratzinger in a suit and dark tie during the Council years. But after the Second Vatican Council, the cassock ended up in a box in the loft and priests started to make less of an effort to stand out. But for some years now, there has been a significant countertrend, among young priests in particular. A “clerical” turning point which the Secretary of State has now put down in black and white in its circular.
In a highly secularized world, we need more people to witness to the supernatural. That we are made up of body and soul.
The evil of secularism, the offspring of Modernism is eating up the world. And it has infected the Church.
To our dear priests, wear the cassock, or your clerical tab!
To religious, wear your habit!
To laymen, wear the crucifix, scapular or medal!
Keep Catholic on!