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.