QUAERITUR: seminarians and earrings

VOTE FOR WDTPRSFrom a reader:

Do you think seminarians should be allowed to wear earrings? I know of two seminarians who are allowed to wear earrings or one earring in two different seminaries. Do these earrings mean something, as I have been led to believe.

NO.

I don’t think seminarians should be permitted any jewelry.  I don’t even think facial hair is a good idea.  I am rather old-fashioned in this regard.  I guess it’s what you are used to.  These things were once forbidden under the older Code for clerics of the Latin Church (except of course for some men in religious orders … and perhaps some members of the LCWR).

The 1983 Code of Canon no longer forbids them.  There is no legal proscription and seminarians (not clerics anyway unless they are deacons) are free to do as they please within the bounds laid down by the seminary and their bishops or superiors.

If I were their rector, however, I would probably frequently frown at those who wore them and would watch them with special attention.

I don’t know what earrings mean these day.  They may be more neutral.  I don’t know.  Still, they are a vanity and are meant to attract attention.

When I was in a US seminary in the late 80′s, the only guys who had or were interested in earrings were creepy effeminate heretics, now either out of the active priesthood or dead.

I remember one guy whose Archbishop told him explicitly to lose the earring.  He refused.  As a matter of fact, he didn’t even bother finishing his exams in his deacon year.  The Archbishop ordained him anyway.  He quit the priesthood within a couple years.  That seminary was hellish.  I am happy to report that it has been turned around like day from darkest night.

No.  No earrings. Nope.

Perhaps seminarians reading this can (after voting for WDTPRS) send me email or post here about the policies of their seminaries.  I am interested about the status quaestionis.

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58 Responses to QUAERITUR: seminarians and earrings

  1. PerIpsum says:

    Absolutely NO!!! Seminarians should not wear such things.

    Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit has a policy on facial hair – it should be in good order and trimmed frequently. “Stylized hair or beards are prohibited,” i.e. mohawks, extreme amounts of gel, etc. We have no policy on earrings, probably because no one would think of wearing them.
    I have noticed many guys wear a ring to symbolize their commitment, but no policy has been set on this.

  2. From a seminarian:

    Here we are not permitted to wear jewelry above the neck. Obviously many wear chains around their necks with crosses, medals, etc. and some wear rings. No earrings or other piercings are allowed. Since you mentioned your views on facial hair I will comment on that as well. Here, as long as it is well-kept and “presentable” you are allowed to have facial hair. There is, however, one Diocese that sends here that does not allow its seminarians to have facial hair at all.

  3. I certainly understand about the earrings, but what would be the issue with facial hair? In what time period would this have been forbidden for Latin rite clerics, and would there have been dispensations for clerics working in areas where they were persecuted and lack of facial hair would make it easier to identify them? I’ve seen portraits of Latin rite clerics with facial hair from the Elizabethan/early Stuart period in England for instance, though I’ve obviously no idea whether the prohibition was in place generally at that time either.

  4. JamesA says:

    Father, here at St. Mary’s in Houston we are, like most things, about middle-of-the-road. Some seminarians with varying degrees of facial hair (I agree, I don’t like it– especially on young guys who have just enough to look scruffy), but none that I can recall that have earrings. It probably wouldn’t be completely forbidden, but they would likely hear about it often. There are a number of rings (myself included), either of the commitment variety or college class rings. Also a sprinkling of neck chains with and without crosses.
    Thank you again for your blog, Father. For hundreds of seminarians, you are the voice crying in the wilderness.

  5. Leonius says:

    It doesn’t necessarily mean they are homosexual like it used to suggest but it is still effeminate in my opinion and definitely vanity. If our seminaries do not instill virtue in their seminarians we are going to continue to get vice ridden priests who harm the flock.

    You can teach a seminarian all the theology etc that you want but if that seminarian is not taught to advance in virtue then the seminary has failed in its most important task, and it is a task many seminaries do not even undertake mistaking themselves for a secular, liberal university rather than been the school for holiness they are supposed to be.

    There are many well educated, intelligent, bad priests who do a great deal of evil

    There are no virtuous bad priests, even a poorly educated priest can be a great priest if he excels at the practice of virtue.

  6. merrydelval says:

    At the Roman Seminary 2000-5 we were forbidden facial hair. In fact, one of our superiors carried a phone card in his wallet and would scrape it against a guy’s face if he had not shaved in the morning. Of course, as soon as the school year was out, many of us went through the ritual of growing out the beard because we could and shaving the night before going back to the seminary. It was one of those weird seminarian bonding rituals we went through! I still remember when, in Rome during the early part of the summer, I was drafted at the last moment, after the end of the formation year, to serve the Pope’s Corpus Domini Mass. When one of the Vatican MCs, who is an alum, saw my few days old growth, he ordered me back to the seminary to shave before I could serve Mass. I did, and in the parish, I never failed to shave every day!

  7. Interesting comments. WRT facial hair I wonder if exception was made for those in formation for religious orders where beards seem the norm. (An image of Padre Pio comes to mind.)

    Confession of sorts: Not long ago the diocesan priest who often offers the daily Mass in which I most frequently participate (a priest who likes to ad lib a bit at the altar which already makes me think of him in a certain light) dyed his hair. It was striking.

    To be honest, this didn’t sit well with me. It reinforced my perception that he seeks attention and is struggling with vanity. I immediately felt urged to offer prayers asking forgiveness for being judgmental, (as well as for the priest) but I think Fr. Z’s take is on the money.

    “Fair” or not as the world sees things, even small acts of vanity loom large in a priest and the image he puts forth. Ultimately it risks distracting attention from Christ.

  8. pcstokell says:

    I know a guy at a seminary in southern Indiana that made the mistake of having his ears pierced in three spots on either side. He’s since seen the error of his ways and let them heal naturally. Appearances are important. (BTW, he’s the rector now…)

  9. Fr Matthew says:

    I was trained for the priesthood in the Legionaries of Christ, and earrings and facial hair are totally out of the question.

    Personally, I have no problem with clean, “well-kept and ‘presentable’ facial hair” (as anyone can see from my profile photo). Why should it be a problem, in a time when keeping it clean and neat is easy? Most normal men do not shave any other part of their body, except for practical professional reasons of hygiene, safety or physical advantage (such athletes or soldiers). Men who shave their legs or arms clean for any other reason are the exception, not the rule. What’s so different about our cheeks and chin?

  10. FrCharles says:

    Earrings are becoming only on women and pirates. The secular clergy of the Latin rite should be clean shaven, like good Romans.

  11. Dan says:

    At Mundelein, “no facial jewelry of any kind is allowed.”

    Facial hair is allowed, and several of the men take the option to grow a beard.

  12. becket1 says:

    Quote from Fr Z, ” I don’t even think facial hair is a good idea”.
    The Orthodox Churches don’t seem to have a problem with facial hair. You look more Christ like in my opinion. I’m sure the Apostles had beards. As for facial jewelry, I agree. NO FACIAL JEWELRY. That’s a female decor. Just my opinion. I’m also old fashion in that regard.

  13. becket1 says:

    Here are some of the seminarians at Holy Trinity.
    http://hts.edu/seminary/news/en/2009/20090329.html

  14. Sam Urfer says:

    The Capuchin friars grow out their facial hair as part of their habit, a venerable tradition, http://friarminor.blogspot.com/2011/01/beards-and-perseverance.html , as do probably some other orders. There is, incidentally, a Scriptural basis for priestly beard growth (“Don’t round your hair at the temples or mar the edges of your beard.” – Leviticus 19:27), which is the model the Eastern Churches have followed traditionally, much more consistently than any Western notion of clean-shaveness.

    “How womanly it is for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, and to arrange his hair at the mirror, shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them! … For God wished women to be smooth and to rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane. But He has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him as an attribute of manhood, with a hairy chest, a sign of strength and rule.” – Clement of Alexandria

    “This, then, is the mark of the man, the beard. By this, he is seen to be a man. It is older than Eve. It is the token of the superior nature… It is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness.” – Clement of Alexandria

    “The nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to distinguish the sex, or to contribute to the beauty of manliness and strength.” – Lactantius

  15. Fr. Basil says:

    \\I don’t even think facial hair is a good idea.\\

    God does. He knows what a grown man’s face is supposed to look like.

    **The secular clergy of the Latin rite should be clean shaven, like good Romans.**

    There are portraits of many popes, including St. Pius V, who are clearly bearded.

  16. Fr Matthew says:

    And let’s remember: it’s not like we are making an extra effort to “grow a beard”. We are simply not fighting the way God naturally designed men’s appearance.

  17. digdigby says:

    The world’s on fire and we’re quoting Clement of Alexandria on beards???? As a convert from Judaism I can’t help but remember my Grandmother’s old Yiddish proverb: “Better a Jew without a beard than a beard without a Jew.”

  18. Rob Cartusciello says:

    In the Jesuits, there was a province-wide directive to men in formation regarding a prohibition on getting tattoos. This was prompted by one man getting a Notre Dame Fighting Irish tattoo on his calf.

    I left in 1999, so I do not know if such a policy regarding tattoos is still in place, or whether there are policies regarding visible tattoos when men apply for admission.

    There is such a policy in certain branches of the military.

    Facial hair was not an issue. I wore a beard or goatee at various points. It is difficult to argue one should not wear facial hair when the founder of your order had it….

    As for earnings – ugh! Yes, men in formation had them. Yes, some of them used them to make statements about their sexual orientation (left ear:straight/right ear:gay). And yes, some of those men would harass the more pious among us by asking 1) why we didn’t have an earring and 2) which ear we would wear it in.

    Ah, the bad old days.

  19. PostCatholic says:

    “When I was in a US seminary in the late 80?s, the only guys who had or were interested in earrings were creepy effeminate heretics and are now either out of the active priesthood or dead.”

    I don’t know about the heretics part. But when I was in a US seminary in the early 90′s, creepy and effeminate sums up the only two who wore jewellery like that. One became a drag queen who wrote a column for the Washington Blade until its demise. I guess he’s happy and doing something more appropriate to his inclinations. He was our house “prefect.”

    The other went on to forge Cardinal Hickey’s stationery and invite prelates from around the world to a “eucharistic summit” or something. He was dismissed, and went on to work for Georgetown University, where he forged in the more ordinary way and made off with a couple hundred grand before being charged in Federal court. He’s now a fugitive from justice presumed to be living in Brazil.

    If you survived a US seminary at that time and didn’t come away needing treatment for PTSD (as I did) I’m impressed. My Irish seminary was a lot easier to tolerate.

  20. pelerin says:

    Presumably seminarians who are now allowed to wear earrings will become earring- wearing Priests. I am surprised that this practise is allowed and I am not sure how I would react to this. And what about tattoos? I don’t mind seeing Priests with beards at all but I do dislike seeing Priests wearing pony tails (unless they are Orthodox.) It just looks odd in the Western Church.

  21. DelRayVA says:

    When I was a Norbertine novice, I was not permitted even to wear my college class ring. No jewelry of any kind was permitted, unless you were the abbot; he had his ring.

  22. Eoin Suibhne says:

    To quote a good friend of mine upon learning I once considered wearing an earring: “Chicks wear earrings.”

  23. holzi says:

    Earrings seem to be not always forbidden. In the Pastor’s house of my parish ([re-]built in 1756) there’s a painting of the first parson after the reconstruction, Fr. Reinpoth. He clearly wears an earring. I definitely know about clerics’ portraits from the 18th and early 19th century wearing earrings. That custom was quite common in Southern Germany, even my grandfather’s father had one.

  24. ajurban says:

    At the St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, MN facial hair must be well-groomed. Earrings are strictly prohibited.

  25. Jack Hughes says:

    If (a big IF) I ever enter semminary then facial hair might be a bit of a problem; you see if I shave (properly) at quarter to eight in the morning then by 11:00 it has grown back JUST enough to look scruffy.

    Normally I just allow it to grow for a few days before I shave it all off but IF I enter semminary then I may have to shave thrice daily :)

  26. Photini says:

    I would agree with you that priests/seminarians in our culture should not wear piercings and earrings as a general rule. I’m fond of them on men, actually, but the priesthood calls for a lack of vanity-and such things could appear to be an exercise in vanity. I would humbly disagree on the facial hair thing-since I’m an Orthodox Christian, I’m sure you won’t be surprised. I have always found the emphasis in the Latin Church on clean-shaven men odd-and frankly, profoundly ugly. Shaving makes grown men look like little boys-or it looks as if they are attempting to be young. Facial hair comes with the onset of manhood, and it is a good “symbol” if you will that you are dealing with a man-not a boy or a woman. It needs to be clean and well kept, but other than that, I think it is a positive thing for men to have beards (if they can grow them).

  27. Digdiby: from your lips to God’s ears!

  28. Childermass says:

    As for earnings – ugh! Yes, men in formation had them. Yes, some of them used them to make statements about their sexual orientation (left ear:straight/right ear:gay). And yes, some of those men would harass the more pious among us by asking 1) why we didn’t have an earring and 2) which ear we would wear it in.

    These seminary stories are frightening! How on Earth were they allowed to get so bad? Aren’t bishops supposed to be supervising them?

  29. Not only NO, but h**l NO! And for all the reasons our host mentioned. (Whenever I see a man with an earing, I have to fight the urge to reach out and yank a la Eastwood in “Heartbreak Ridge”.) [OORAH!]

  30. Supertradmum says:

    For the record, I do not like beards on Latin Rite priests, and have even known some Byzantine priests to be clean-shaven. But, then, except on the very few men who have nice beards, I dislike beards and mustaches. As to earrings on men, yucky, yucky and outstanding bad taste. I even think pirates look bad in earrings. The Church, I think, still discourages tattoos as disgracing the body, which belongs to Christ. But, earrings are the worst possible advertisement that a man is either a pirate inside, or a girl inside.

  31. xgenerationcatholic says:

    Earrings on priests …. AWFUL! I’ve wondered about that, I’ve also wondered about tattoos on men discerning priesthood, because they are getting unfortunately getting more and more popular, and you can’t just take them off.

    I have read, however, that Eastern Orthodox men are REQUIRED to have facial hair. Or was it Orthodox Jews? Or both?

  32. Supertradmum says:

    We have a priest in our diocese who wears an earring, even when saying Mass. I wish I were kidding. Maybe he is an ex-pirate.

    And, a friend of mine just was accepted into a seminary and he has a tattoo of Mary, Mother of God. (Why, I do not know.) I wonder if the order will ask him to have it removed?

  33. YoungCatholic says:

    What is the problem with beards?

  34. From a priest reader:

    I am faithful Latin mass saying 33 year old priest. I wore earrings as a teenager in high school only to be super cool and impress the ladies!! I took them out at the very beginning of my discernment process when I was 18. Any guy in seminary wanting to wear them would clearly spell bad news for me, whether he was effeminate or not, being that we’re supposed to be renouncing all types of overly fashionable and worldly types of dress! Earrings are definitely not conducive to celibacy in any way, shape, or form!

  35. julie f says:

    Only in this crowd would I be qualified as an expert on “the kids nowadays” ;)

    Earrings are piercings. Are there gay guys with earrings? Sure. There are also thugs who use one ear to display an additional piece of bling. Earrings would also go along with goth or “rock” type looks. You couldn’t pay me to find out, but I’d be surprised if none of MTV’s “guidos” had piercings and I seem to run into more and more people dressed like those scumbags on the buses at night. Except for the gays, none of these guys’ big problem is being too girly — and of course not all gay guys are uniformly feminine.

    My point is, I think it would be unfair and naive to focus on effeminacy as the reason for banning piercings. It’s more an issue of subculture. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect men to give up the signs of a subculture when they give up their lives to Christ, just as it would be reasonable to expect them to wear long sleeves to cover a tattoo, for instance. Not to mention the virtues of poverty and simplicity.

  36. JARay says:

    I was horrified to see that my youngest son had a large tattoo across his back. I told him that only primitives and the inmates of prisons defaced their bodies with such an ugly accretion. I then discovered that his wife has a sort of rose tattooed on her right shoulder. Now, more and more I see young men and women with these disfigurements on their bodies. I see it as their descent into paganism.
    As for facial piercings, I always wondered what would happen if they got into a fight. Those pegs would be the first things which I would grab hold of and tear at, if such a one came attacking me. I remember one woman (I won’t call her a lady…she wasn’t!), that I had to instruct in duties concerning a public office, which we both hold. She had hardly any position on her face which did not have some kind of metal object sticking out of, or attached to it. I thought at the time that I had never seen an uglier woman. She was a militant feminist attached to a women’s Refuge. For me, that just summed up, and confirmed, my distaste for such creatures. For Seminarians to wear that kind of disfigurement would make me sick.

  37. Stvsmith2009 says:

    Well, I have never been to seminary and at the ripe old age of 55, I don’t think I’ll be going anytime soon. I work in retail and every day I see many young men (and young women too) with earrings, multiple facial piercings and an assortment of extravagant tattoos. Everytime I see these all these adornments I can’t help but think of my reaction when I watched a movie produced and directed by Mel Gibson called “Apocalypto”. The movie was about the native American populations during and just before their “discovery” by the Spanish. When I saw the extravagant tattoos and piercings of the “Mayans”, I couldn’t help thinking how much the adornments they sported were being worn today. It gives me the impression that society (at least among the younger crowd) is regressing.

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    It is effeminate for men to wear earrings. How much money and sheer destruction are we willing to suffer before we admit, at long last, the obvious??

  39. K_Suzanne says:

    Speaking of appearances of clerics, how about this guy:

    http://www.thepunkpriest.com/

  40. Fr Deacon Daniel says:

    Fr. Basil,

    I read this quote once from an Orthodox priest: “The issue isn’t beards (and by extension long hair) but simply that we accept what God gives us – whether bearded or beardless, whether our hair grows long or short or not at all.”

    It would seem that generally a beard on a man has iconographical value, representing spiritual wisdom and eldership. This is especially relevant to priests. As I understand it the term for elder “presbyter” literally means “bearded one.” Beardlessness in an icon usually signifies youth.

    The Apostolic Constitutions have this to say:

    “Men may not destroy the hair of their beards and unnaturally change the form of a man. For the Law says, “You will not deface your beards.” For God the Creator has made this decent for women, but has determined that it is unsuitable for men.” Apostolic Constitutions (compiled c.390, E) 7.392.

    But I would ultimately see the question of a man’s beard to be of a similar weight and nature to the question of a woman’s head covering in Church, neither more nor less.

    The adornment of a man’s body through piercing, however, is another matter altogether. The general purpose of piercing, it would seem, is to draw attention to oneself by putting sparkling, shiny objects into one’s flesh, most often in the the earlobe, which leads naturally to look upon the face. For women to adorn themselves in this manner seems more in keeping with their feminine nature. For men, young or old, it seems to me to be a very popular but unmanly practice.

  41. Ellen says:

    In my parish, we’ve had beards on priests – nice neat beards and I like them. One priest had a tattoo, but he had joined the priesthood late after a long stint in the Navy and his tattoo was sadly faded and blotchy. One priest wore a wedding ring – it was his father’s ring and he wore it in his memory. No earrings, thank God.

    Have any of you all seen people with their earlobes all stretched out with gauges? Hideous!!!

  42. This is all very interesting but what about ME ME ME ME!!!! (insert hissy fit emoticon here). I wasn’t being rhetorical. I really am genuinely interested in knowing the answer to my questions, and especially the last two ones as I guess the first have been discussed to some degree. Hence I shall repeat the last two questions in the hope that somebody somewhere will be able to enlighten me:

    “In what time period would this have been forbidden for Latin rite clerics, and would there have been dispensations for clerics working in areas where they were persecuted and lack of facial hair would make it easier to identify them? “

  43. Gaz says:

    OK, this isn’t quite within the stream of this post but my view on tattoos and piercings is that these have become the normalization of self-harm. From a mental health point of view, excessive examples of either can’t a good thing. In moderation (i.e. an earing or two, preferably in symmetry for women and not at all for men. Let me say, though, there is still a reasonable chance of infection) is OK.

    I’ve been told by a priest that I should be cleanly shaven if I’m to serve Mass. I’ve tended to ignore this (and there aren’t many other EF servers available here). Anyway, I’ve only seen my father clean-shaven once. Beards are a part of the human condition.

  44. I should add to the above that even though it has been discussed somewhat, I still don’t understand the issue with beards, unless they are unkempt and grubby, of course.

  45. benedetta says:

    Since Catholicism is counter-cultural, the image presented by a priest towards children especially is important. Have seen in the last year fairly regularly, small boys with mohawk haircuts, which is one thing, and then also saw a boy of about age 8 or so with an earring and one aged about 12 on another occasion. If it weren’t illegal to sell a tattoo to a minor then I am sure some parents would whole-heartedly offer their little one’s skin for this latest trend on the altar of what the mainstream culture dictates as “cool”.

  46. pcstokell says:

    Dr. Ed Peters, please pick up the white courtesy phone…

  47. catholicmidwest says:

    “Maybe he is an ex-pirate.”

    10 points for supertradmom. I love this comment.

    Indeed, maybe he is a pirate now!

  48. robtbrown says:

    A seminarian from Conception Abbey College . . .

    Some years ago one of the monks there wore a toupee. It was hard not to see him without thinking of St Benedict in his cave at Subiaco. A UPS truck pulls up overhead, and a package is lowered to St B, who exclaims, “My new toupee has arrived!”

    The best monk I met at Conception was Fr Philip Schuster, who was one of the two monks murdered in the 2002 tragedy

  49. Gulielmus says:

    I would oppose earrings on seminarians (and priests) but only as expressions of vanity. I teach at George Washington University and I think the number of young men wearing an earring is near the majority. In one of my classes this semester I have four varsity athletes, all of them almost stereotypically macho, and all have at least one pierced ear. It just doesn’t mean what it once did.

  50. From a seminarian:

    I am a seminarian at the Major seminary in Montreal Canada, run by the Sulpicians. As to earrings, our seminary has never been a “pink palace” unlike some other Sulpician seminaries, and anything remotely effeminate is frowned upon by both the directors (the Rector is merely a voting member of a council of priests in a Sulpician Seminary), and the other seminarians. Since I have been here, I have not seen anyone with long hair either, and I took it to be an unwritten rule that my hair ought to be in order. A few of the guys have beards, but they are well kept. One good thing about the French influence of the Sulpicians is that they try to make us all into gentlemen, and looking the part is important.

  51. Fr. Basil says:

    \\I’ve wondered about that, I’ve also wondered about tattoos on men discerning priesthood, because they are getting unfortunately getting more and more popular, and you can’t just take them off.\\

    In Ethiopia, it’s considered a great act of piety and faith to have beautiful cross tattooed on one’s forehead or right hand to make it impossible to receive the Mark of the Beast.

    But I agree. The main problem with a tattoo is once you have it, you have it and can’t get rid of it.

  52. Rob Cartusciello says:

    As for earnings – ugh! Yes, men in formation had them. Yes, some of them used them to make statements about their sexual orientation (left ear:straight/right ear:gay). And yes, some of those men would harass the more pious among us by asking 1) why we didn’t have an earring and 2) which ear we would wear it in.

    These seminary stories are frightening! How on Earth were they allowed to get so bad? Aren’t bishops supposed to be supervising them?

    In my case, I was a member of a religious order, so the provincial was the one responsible for internal discipline.

    One of the men who made the earing joke to me is now the Director of Formation for the province. Suffice to say, I do not recommend candidates to that order.

  53. From a seminarian:

    I am a seminarian in Florida. There is no rule regarding facial hair at my seminary other than informing the Dean of Men you wish to grow it out and promise to keep it in good order. I am not aware of any particular rule regarding jewelry and have not seen anyone wearing an earring. Some do wear necklaces and rings, both of the commitment and class-ring variety. There are some seminarians who wear their hair spiked, and some wear beards. A lot of this seems to be up to the whim of the administration without much reason beyond the same administration’s personal taste.

  54. How do I say this nicely, no, no, no, no and no. Absolutely no earrings whatsoever! It’s quite tacky and does not look good for seminarians. I don’t know of anyone in my seminary that wears an earring.

  55. Ed the Roman says:

    I haven’t seen my father clean shaven since 1971 (he’s still alive).

  56. Jayna says:

    I know of one priest in Atlanta who has an earring (possibly two). It’s a diamond stud roughly along the lines of what just about every guy in the hip hop/rap scene wears. Then again, he is known as Father Crunk.

  57. In a spirit of near unquenchable optimism powered mainly by the unfounded theory that if I just keep at it, someone will answer my question eventually, I shall once again pose my questions:

    In what time period would facial hair have been forbidden for Latin rite clerics, and would there have been dispensations for clerics working in areas where they were persecuted and lack of facial hair would make it easier to identify them?

  58. Baron Korf says:

    Much Ado About Nothing II.i.15-16

    Leon. You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
    Beat. What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him

    I’m not saying anything, I’m just saying.