Tuesday, October 24, 2006
So I'm wrong...
I can admit that.
I blog about my impressions, my understanding of things - my take on things. I was wrong about Medjugorje, and Our Lady set me straight. I was wrong about the cassock - and readers, as well as the inquisitors, set me straight. (Nevertheless, I will still never tell a priest what to wear! Unless to tell him: Do not wear those awful too-short sleeved summer shirts - and wear more linen for heaven's sake on your long-sleeved shirts - at least an inch sticking out of your suit coat! And have your clothes cleaned regularly and pressed. While I'm on it, don't forget the dandruff, maybe use 'Head and Shoulders' - works for me.)
Anyway. The earlier post on the cassock educated me about priestly garb.
First of all, no Council of Baltimore ever banned the cassock on the street or anywhere else. The Bishops granted an 'indult' for the priest to wear a suit with a clerical shirt because of the anti-Catholic sentiment in the mainly protestant American culture.
Canon Law - I forgot my documentation at work - says a priest should wear clerical attire. John Paul II reiterated that many times, encouraging priests to be a perennial sign of Christ in public, by identifying themselves as priests by their attire. The reasons seem to me too obvious to state.
There was an entire 'movement' or 'influence', as it were, that the Vatican once condemned, called "Americanism" in the Catholic Church in the United States, that seems to have permeated the Church not only in the U.S. but extended to Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand. A fear of Roman-ism extant to this day. However, nowadays, it is more aptly identified as 'secularism'. People and priests my age are deeply influenced by it, hence, the repulsion for clerical clothing on some level. In addition, if a priest is vain like I am, they just want to look like a regular guy. Bad news - it's not a 9-5 job. They are a priest. If they died and went to hell they would surely be identified as such - just as when they go to heaven. The sacrament of Holy Orders leaves an indelible mark, a special character. It's a charism we are barely able to comprehend - only in heaven will we understand what a magnificent gift the holy priesthood is. (That, by the way, is a key reason we ought to be very careful when, if ever, we criticize any priest.)
Commentator's on this blog stated very good reasons why a priest should dress as a priest - cassock-ed or suited. It gave me pause to reflect. They are correct. I apologize for this lame post, but I just want to state that I agree with those priests who are humbly proud to declare to the world that they are priests, men who by ordination exist 'persona Christi' - not just in the rectory or confessional or at the altar - but in every aspect of their lives - it is the very definition of their existence - it is their identity.
So, the next time you see a priest in clericals, or the cassock, ask for his blessing, and tell him how grateful you are for his priesthood and witness. It's a good thing.
(A tip of the biretta to Mr. Hastrieter who sets me straight on a lot of things - as well as his spy in the back hall. :)
(Oh. By the way, my dislike of habits and clericals - FOR MYSELF - obviously proves I never had a vocation! I never liked wearing that stuff. Of course I hate wearing a suit and tie as well.)