Saturday 24 November 2012

The cassock is to be worn

A post at Chiesa publishes a letter reminding those who work at the Vatican and those visiting - bishops, priests and Religious - that they are to wear the cassock or habit of their Order.  The letter, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, reads, "at venerable behest," meaning at the personal direction of Pope Benedict.  Another example of the Holy Father leading and teaching by example.  Let us hope that all those who declare public loyalty to him will take the hint in this area as in others - such as kneeling and receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, celebrating ad orientem Mass occasionally, using Latin in the liturgy and going out of our way to welcome back into full communion those Christian groups closest to us, such as our brothers and sisters in the SSPX.

From the Vatican, October 15, 2012

Most Reverend Eminence/Excellency,

By these presents I wish to recall to Your attention the importance of the discipline concerning the daily use of ecclesiastical (cassock or clerical) and religious dress, as determined by the norms on this matter and according to the reasons illustrated and explicated in his day by Blessed John Paul II in the Letter to the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, dated September 8, 1982.

 At a time in which everyone is specially called to renew his awareness of and consistency with his own identity, at venerable behest I come to ask Your Eminence/Excellency kindly to guarantee the observance of the above on the part of all ecclesiastics and religious in service with this Dicastery/Tribunal/Office/Vicariate, recalling the duty of wearing regularly and with dignity the proper habit, in every season, partly in obedience to the duty of exemplarity (editor's note: this phrase is in italics in the original) that is incumbent above all upon those who render service to the successor of Peter.

The very example of those who, sealed with the episcopal dignity, are faithful to the daily use of the cassock proper to them, during office hours, becomes an explicit encouragement for all, including for the Episcopates and for those who visit the Roman Curia and Vatican City.

On this occasion, moreover, partly in order to avoid uncertainty and to guarantee due uniformity, it should be recalled that the use of the abito piano is required for participation at any event at which the Holy Father is present, as also for the Plenary and Ordinary Assemblies, the Interdicasterial Meetings, the reception of "ad limina" Visits and the various official engagements of the Holy See.

Grateful for the cooperation, I gladly take this opportunity to confirm my distinct and heartfelt respects

for Your Most Reverend Eminence/Excellency

most devoted in the Lord

+ Tarcisio Card. Bertone

Secretary of State


Unknown said...

Our Catholic brethren in the SPX must be welcome back with open arms Deo Gratias

GOR said...

It was about 1966 that the Pontifical Universities (led by the Jesuit Gregorian U. - of course!) first permitted seminarians to attend lectures in ‘clergyman’ (as the Italians call the clerical street dress of black suit and Roman collar). Prior to that it was habits for religious students and cassocks for students from the National and International Colleges. It was also about that time that lay and female students were admitted en masse.

Both initiatives were considered ‘signs of the times’ back then. And they were - signs of increased secularization, however. Only professed religious students were entitled to wear Roman collars with their suits. Seminarians from the secular colleges - other than those already ordained to the Diaconate - wore black suits and ties. Pretty soon, black suits were less in evidence and even ties began to disappear.

I suspect that today in Rome one would be hard put to identify a seminarian at the Greg or the Angelicum. The Roman example was quickly adopted throughout the Church – Maynooth in Ireland, among others, being a prime example. I have not heard that the rules for the Vatican are to be applied to the Pontifical universities as well. I suspect not.