From a reader:
Should altar servers (who wear cassocks) have “street clothes”
sticking up over the collar of their cassock?
I would argue that according to GIRM 336 that if clothes must be covered when wearing an alb, then it would follow that the same concept is in effect when wearing “other lawfully approved vesture”, such as a cassock & surplice.
The GIRM says:
336. The sacred garment common to ordained and instituted ministers of any rank is the alb, to be tied at the waist with a cincture unless it is made so as to fit even without such. Before the alb is put on, should this not completely cover the ordinary clothing at the neck, an amice should be put on. The alb may not be replaced by a surplice, not even over a cassock, on occasions when a chasuble or dalmatic is to be worn or when, according to the norms, only a stole is worn without a chasuble or dalmatic.
337. The vestment proper to the priest celebrant at Mass and other sacred actions directly connected with Mass is, unless otherwise indicated, the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole.
338. The vestment proper to the deacon is the dalmatic, worn over the alb and stole. The dalmatic may, however, be omitted out of necessity or on account of a lesser degree of solemnity.
339. In the dioceses of the United States of America, acolytes, altar servers, lectors, and other lay ministers may wear the alb or other suitable vesture or other appropriate and dignified clothing.
It seems other conferences of bishops could have other guidelines. dd
First and foremost, we have to get priests to cover their street clothes when they vest for Mass. I think everyone has seen priests with their black and white collar sowing over their chasuble. That is not only against GIRM 336, it is just… I don’t know… vain? Showy? Any way you put it, it is wrong.
The priests Roman collar is his street dress, his ordinary, daily wear. What happens at Mass is sacred and requires sacred garb. We cover over the secular for the sake of the sacred.
As I was writing it occurred to me that, perhaps, the person involved may have been exposed in youth to priests who, when wearing their cassock or a habit, have part of the linen collar over the top of the cassock collar, as do, for example, the Oratorians.
In any event, it seems to me that if the sacred ministers are required to have their street clothes covered, then the same should apply to other servers.
This might not be immediately practical. It could take time to let the concept seep in. It may be that the priest himself doesn’t observe this properly. It could be that proper garments have to be obtained.
But I think it is proper that, when wearing the cassock to serve, that street clothes, including the collar of the shirt, be covered.
That said, this is not one of the things that gets much of my attention. When I see someone with his shirt collar sticking out of a cassock collar my first thought is “Tacky.”, while my second thought is, “One of these days he’ll figure it out.”
Let servers wear cassocks properly. Let sacred ministers cover their street clothes.