I have written in the last weeks (and before) rather often about strange liberal creatures with clear difficulties in reconciling themselves with Catholicism.
Their problem seems apparent – I would say, it is made by them very apparent – by the inability of these chaps to dress like ordained people. If they have an obligation to dress like clerics, they seem blissfully unaware of it. Let us see some example of this “liberal fashion”.
This is bishop Nourrichard, he of the Thiberville scandal
You can note from this photo that the man likes yellow, and green; that he doesn’t look particularly sober ( an impression of mine, for sure; pastis is not very strong after all…..) and that he has not been blessed with a familiar environment stressing the value of elegance or, at least, basic decency. Congratulations to bishop Nourrichard for the “country bumpkin” prize.
The next one is bishop William Morris, he of Toowoomba
This man was clearly raised up in a more tasteful environment. The shirt is well pressed, the tie well matched, the colours are elegant and dignified. Particularly so, because the sign of the Vatican boot on his backside is not visible on this picture.
The problem is that by looking at the photo you’d never say that he is, of all things, a Catholic bishop; which is, clearly, what he himself wants.
Don’t worry, though: having being kicked out by the Holy Father he is now a retired bishop anyway. If he is defrocked – as he should – he’ll have even more scope for his well-pressed, tasteful shirts. Or perhaps he will then decide to follow his vocation and will dress like a Morris dancer.
Next in line is our “priestesses subito” soi-disant Catholic theologian, Hans Kueng.
Herr Kueng prefers a sober, traditional style, with a white shirt complemented by a regimental-type tie and a sober London smoke jacket. This would be very fine, if said Herr Kueng were not a religious. The problem with the way he dresses is that he is clearly trying to let you forget that he is a Catholic priest. A circumstance which he has, very probably, long forgotten himself.
Dulcis in fundo, the hero of the hour; the idol of worldwide pedophiles; the staunch defender of sodomy with children; the -apparently – former Dutch Salesian Superior Herman Spronk.
Note the inquisitive, attentive, piercingly liquid eye. This is a typical expression that once would have been defined “tired and emotional” but we today, unaccustomed to the niceties of the past, simply call drunk. These expressive facial traits – you see in them a clear sympathy for the tragedy of good men, cruelly separated from the children they love by a ruthless Vatican hierarchy and oppressive superiors in Rome – are aptly matched to a factory-worker casual jacket and a dark blue, probably rather coarse, shirt. We all know how much children love blue, and the casual dress is also clearly meant to avoid being intimidating. Sinite pargulos venire ad me is the extremely creepy message here.
These are all examples of liberals of various kind previously dealt with on this blog, the last three in the past couple of weeks.
Once again, it is clear that symbols have power, and that the way one chooses to follow regarding his exterior appearance often accurately reflects his interior world.
The religious habit has a powerful symbolic force. It is not surprising that those who betray the Church start by betraying the habit.
Read here a beautiful entry of a Catholic blog called The Deacon’s Bench about the many reasons why a Catholic priest should wear a Roman collar.
In reading it, though, I could not avoid thinking that many priests nowadays do not wear a clerical collar; they actually do not wear clerical garments at all. Why is that? Because they want to “mix”, be “one of us”, be considered “friends” rather than “pastors”.
So far, so bad.
But then one thinks: if the Church wants to be recognisable, why has the Church tolerated the spread of clerical garments (the so-called “clergyman”, at least in Italy) making them look pretty much like Anglican clergy?
If you modify clerical garments and make them more similar to normal garments (with trousers, shirt and jacket), why should you as an institution be surprised that some priests understand the motives of the modification and happily go further along this line of thoughts? And why – as we are by the questions – is this neglect of regulations happily ignored by countless bishops?
If you want to go back to make the priest recognisable as a Catholic priest, the best thing to do is to make him…. recognisable as a Catholic priest instead of as a possible Anglican clergyman.
The proper clerical garment (whenever appropriate) is not the “clergyman”.
It’s the Cassock.