On clerical garb—an anonymous cleric writes

An anonymous cleric writes:

Interesting comments on clerical clothes – but does anyone speak from experience?
I wore a double breasted cassock when I was in seminary. It was bulky and required a leather belt. It is very warm: in unheated churches it is fine, but where are the unheated churches?  How does one drive a smallish car in such garments?  As a seminarian I usually wore shorts and a tee shirt under it, but add to it a clerical shirt, collar, and trousers and you have on a lot of clothes.
I still have my first priestly single-breasted Whipple’s cassock –it is now to me unbelievably heavy, and I had to wear it all the time indoors and out because I didn’t have a car and had to walk or take the bus. There were a lot of drying cleaning costs, including the mending of tears when attacked by dogs who hated cassocks! Since they were usually German Shepherds which I assumed were protestant dogs.

How does one pack a double breasted cassock, linen surplice, and alb for travelling –with everything else one needs?  Who washes and irons them so that they always look and smell fresh? Not me!
A black cassock of light material, an alb, and a surplice that are all washable, black tab shirts (for me). and a light weight black suit is the only way to go, in my experience.


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3 Responses to On clerical garb—an anonymous cleric writes

  1. Don Henri says:

    “where are the unheated churches? ”
    Most churches in Europe are not heated! That technology was slightly lacking in the middle ages… 😉

    + pax et bonum

  2. Pingback: On clerical garb—an anonymous cleric writes | Catholic Canada

  3. Ioannes says:

    These are First World Problems, problems which clergy then and some now never had.

    I don’t care if Fr.My-cross-is-too-heavy says otherwise.

    It is still illegal to wear cassocks in some places. What those people were killed for, many now freely throw away.

    Some faithful Coptic monks in the scorching desert wear black, long-sleeved robes. No matter how many Christians are slain by murderous Muslims, they will never abandon their faith. In the West, however, “Catholic” priests and religious have thrown out their habits, and arranging the chairs on the Titanic as their children commit slow suicide.

    But let’s get real.

    1. If the double-breasted cassock is soooooo heavy and sooooo hot, design a modified version for Ordinariate use. Make the heavier one for winter use. It’s as if no one ever heard of cotton- yes, I am a traditionalist, but I’m not going to burn at the stake anyone who makes a double-breasted cassock out of lighter material so long as it’s not transparent. I didn’t know of any clothes that could make driving difficult unless it intentionally was to get into people’s faces- This is Fr. Anonymous making things up, I suspect. “Oh, my clothes are so long and heavy, I’ll end up in an accident because they’re so long and heavy.” Can anyone see what’s so suspicious about that?

    2. Whipple’s Cassock- is now “so heavy”– just… how old is this priest? Is he so dessicated and infirm that he cannot walk wearing clothes? I mean, okay, I’m going to be charitable and say let’s make a lighter version. One that elderly priests can wear. Yet no matter how old you are, wear the cassock and wear it knowing you may die in it for it will be a glorious death. Not “But…. It’s sooooo heavy!”. Time to wear big-boy pants, “father”.

    3. What sort of priest wears things based on what dogs don’t like? I live in Los Angeles, and the 100-lbs gangster dogs here don’t like me whether I wear shorts or jeans or khaki- I’m going to get bit unless I run or know how to avoid them. But I’m not about to go without proper clothes for my lower body just because Spike doesn’t like it when I wear ______ . So what is a cassock? Believe me, priests have more than dogs to worry about when they wear cassocks. People mock you, throw things at you… Just go to Jerusalem and try to count how many times Jews spit on you.

    See, I start to wonder if this “Anonymous Cleric” is really serious- “German Shepherds, which I assumed were Protestant dogs” is a suspicious statement.

    I know of only one relevant German Shepherd, and he lives in the Vatican.

    4. How does one pack a double breasted cassock, linen surplice, and alb for travelling –with everything else one needs? Who washes and irons them so that they always look and smell fresh? Not me!

    Pack, wash and iron your own sacred vestments and cassock. Ask for redesigned vestments that are easier to wash. As for the fresh smell? Who exactly goes to a priest and say “You’re smelling quite holy today, father!”? You can do without fresh smells. Not saying you should smell like armpits and feet, but if smelling fresh is such an important thing, and your clothes are otherwise clean, use the abundance of incense available to you or some sort of other perfume like Eau de Cologne.

    I don’t know. Get in touch with fellow priests. Did anyone think St. Peter spoke Latin and knew everything once he got to Rome? Someone had helped him, probably St. Paul, probably a whole community of people.

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