ACTION ITEM! FATHER NEEDS A BIRETTA!

I received a note from a reader:

Dear Fr,

I just saw this on Fr McDonald’s blog:

“I don’t have a biretta. My parochial vicar does, my permanent deacon doesn’t. I have an antipathy toward them and can see why these were so easily discarded along with the maniple. But if someone were to give me one, I would wear it.”

I’m sure if you put an appeal on your blog, you could collect the funds to get him a biretta in no time. I’ll be the first to chip in $5.

Just a thought.

Okay…. how should we proceed?

Perhaps. Let’s get people to commit to a donation of $1 or maybe $5. Then, if Father will set up a PayPal account or something, you could then donate directly to him for a Biretta Fund. Sound okay?

Let’s see what interest there may be.

I will contribute money to buy Fr. M a biretta.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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56 Responses to ACTION ITEM! FATHER NEEDS A BIRETTA!

  1. wmeyer says:

    Father McDonald has not disclosed his hat size, however, else I think he would already have had a commitment from his regular readers.

  2. AnAmericanMother says:

    I will cheerfully contribute, I work with one of his flock.

  3. rcg says:

    His hat size, according to him, is ‘Punkin’. I was plannig to conspire with some of the other regulars to get him one for his birthday, I think it is in December. But any help is welcome.

  4. frjim4321 says:

    If he wants one he should pay for it himself . . . people tend to take for granted things that they don’t work for . . . it will probably gather dust . . . seems a little undignified for him to go begging like this . . . doesn’t he earn a salary? It’s kind of pathetic.

  5. wmeyer says:

    Jealous, frjim? His flock appreciates him. And he’s not begging.

  6. I’m not working right now but I’d give a buck.

  7. frjim4321 says:

    wm, jealous for a biretta, I don’t think so, thanks. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  8. Cathy says:

    Our associate pastor sewed one himself.

  9. Legisperitus says:

    Looks as if he could get a pretty nice one…

  10. The Sicilian Woman says:

    If he wants one he should pay for it himself

    I think the same about things such as abortion and contraception.

    people tend to take for granted things that they don’t work for

    Yes.

  11. carl b says:

    Good lord people, he didn’t ask for one. He made an innocuous comment on his blog and people want to be generous. Shall we quit giving our priests gifts because they make a salary?

  12. The Sicilian Woman says:

    I should have clarified:

    My responses above were in no way against Fr. McDonald. They were only to point out irony, given hot-topic elections issues between those of us who supported Obama, and those of us who didn’t (regardless of whether one voted for Romney or anyone else other than Obama.) That is all.

  13. frjim4321 says:

    Good lord people, he didn’t ask for one. He made an innocuous comment on his blog and people want to be generous. Shall we quit giving our priests gifts because they make a salary?

    Seems he was fishing for a gift which is tacky, but then again it could just be a matter of his personal style. I have a classmate who is always asking for a “clerical discount” and taking advantage of the kindness of others. Guess it’s a matter of pride, or a lack thereof . . . on the other hand younger guys are being ordained with a lot of debt, so maybe that’s the issue.

  14. carl b says:

    Fr Jim,

    I’d give him the benefit of the doubt; fishing for a gift is really not how it came off in his original post.

  15. wmeyer says:

    frjim4321, your lack of charity toward a priest you don’t know is truly stunning. Even for you.

  16. JKnott says:

    Actually frjim4321, if he wants one, he should ask Obama to get it for him for free. He deserves to have it redistributed from someone else.

    If Sandra Fluke and all her like minded chicks want contraception and abortions, shouldn’t they pay for that themselves? Their need is not exactly in the service of the Church as St. Paul speaks about.

  17. acricketchirps says:

    Ah, you see but the tax payer covering contraception and abortion is going to reduce the number of abortions. That’s why Fr. Jim was so pro-Obama; like the rest of us, he’s virulently pro-life. On the other hand he’s also very traditional so he doesn’t want to likewise reduce the number of birettas.

  18. Thomas S says:

    Jim4321, your Seinfeld reference insinuating the priest is somehow “gay” for looking for traditional garb is disgusting. You should be ashamed, but I’m sure that would never occur to you.

  19. Ralph says:

    I thought that the diocese that sponsored a seminarian picked up the tab. Why are young priests accumulating debt? Are they actually responsible for the tuition?

    Fwiw – I didn’t think father was “fishing for gifts” in his post at all.

  20. frjim4321 says:

    I admit I don’t know the situation, I was just going with my gut. Which is pretty good a lot of the time, but it can be wrong occasionally. A couple spectacular wrong first impressions over the years, but just a couple.

  21. frjim4321 says:

    . . . also probably a bit over-sensitized to this due to a classmate who always has his hand out.

  22. acardnal says:

    Ralph, it often happens that those seeking to enter seminary have debt from their college years. I have known seminarians and those seeking entry personally. Some bishops require the debt to be paid off before they enter seminary or a substantial percentage thereof. Whatever debt is remaining at ordination is usually assumed by the diocese but they prefer it be non-existent prior to admission to seminary. I have participated in fund raising activities at the parish level to help those men seeking admission to seminaries pay off their debts.

  23. Katheryn says:

    Okay, holy cow, I agree with frjim AGAIN in one 24 hr period… With some qualification… That being a vow of poverty.
    If the priest hasn’t taken a vow of poverty, soliciting donations, directly or indirectly, seems a little on the classless side. If, as the priest, he wants a biretta, then obtain one! He is the priest, after all.

  24. Elizabeth D says:

    okay, who’s in to buy poor FrJim4321 a biretta, and maniples in each liturgical color? What kind of condition is your cassock in, FrJim? We love you and want you suitably clothed for your Rite.

  25. frjim4321 says:

    Dear Elizabeth D I indeed have a cassock and it fit well when i was 25. My days of running 7 miles a day are over. It would fit my dear Nephew who is considering a vocation. But I won’t fit into it. Thanks tho.

  26. jflare says:

    For pity’s sake, how much do these things cost, anyway?
    As I recall, when I contemplated seminary a few years ago, I was surprised to learn that the cassock would be $300. Of course, the custom fitting might be part of the cost.

    Even so, a biretta is primarily a form of a liturgical hat, and judging by the votes, we already have enough people willing that we could easily come up with..a fair amount.

  27. Angie Mcs says:

    How nice that people here would help with this. After this past week maybe a gesture like this, even a small one, would do us all good. We can all wonder about this priest’s need and his motivations etc. But its our motivations that count, too.

    Many of the priests in my parish have birettas. I love to see them wear them when mass begins, remove them at the proper times during the mass, and generally treat them with respect and dignity. Another gesture of reverence for our Lord.

  28. StWinefride says:

    Fr McDonald, on his blog, had this to say:

    I don’t have a biretta. My parochial vicar does, my permanent deacon doesn’t. I have an antipathy toward them and can see why these were so easily discarded along with the maniple. But if someone were to give me one, I would wear it.

    As I understand it, a kind parishioner would like to raise money to buy Fr McDonald a biretta as he says that he would wear one if it were gifted to him.

    That is TRUE Christian charity – both on the part of the parishioner and on the part of the Parish Priest who plans to graciously accept the gift of the biretta and actually use it.

    Father Jim – God Bless.

  29. beez says:

    As a priest, I can understand what Fr. Jim is saying. I too have seen men who don’t hesistate to get free or discounted stuff, going so far as to wear their clerics on their day off if they’re stopping by a Catholic bookstore. I don’t ascribe those thoughts to Fr. MacDonald, but I can see from where FrJim is coming.

    On a personal note, I wear my cassock all weekend long, have nice vestments in almost every color (no black yet, although I borrowed a friend’s on All Souls’ Day), and I hope to NEVER have to wear a biretta. I think they’re goofy looking.

  30. wmeyer says:

    As a priest, I can understand what Fr. Jim is saying. I too have seen men who don’t hesistate to get free or discounted stuff, going so far as to wear their clerics on their day off if they’re stopping by a Catholic bookstore.

    Having been a follower of Fr. McDonald’s blog for a couple of years, I can say with confidence that he is not in the habit of soliciting for gifts. However, I made my earlier comment because it is very disturbing to see that frjim’s response to so many things is uncharitable.

  31. pmullane says:

    I think all priests should wear clearical attire on their ‘day off’. Might help them to remember that they are having a ‘day off’ from their parish or other duties, not a ‘day off’ from being a priest.

  32. acardnal says:

    pmullane, unfortunately I have seen and known priests who don’t even where their clerical garb and collar at all! This has always bothered me.

  33. vetusta ecclesia says:

    Why not a fund to provide birettas and maniples to parishes that don’t have them, and a pontifical dalmatic to each new bishop on the occasion of his consecration?

  34. pmullane says:

    acardinal, ditto. Very depressing. Especially when you hear tales of people on trains or in airports going up to priests and asking for confession. How many oppertunities do you think have been lost because Fr was on his ‘day off’ or was too trendy to wear his Clerical Attire.
    Shame.

  35. rcg says:

    Folks, this is all being done in good fun and charity for a priest who is working hard to lead his parish back to reverent worship in continuity with our Liturgy. His blog is both a serious exploration and discussion of this goal in the context of our times as well as often light-hearted comments. The biretta comment in his blog was one of these.

    I was delighted to see Fr Z. picked up on this, and I had simultaneously contacted some folks in his parish to ante up the money as a gift. FWIW, frjim, if you want one, I’ll see what I can do. I think vetusta ecclesia has a good idea and our local KofC does exactly that for seminarians graduates from seminary. This is one of those circumstances where if you don’t want to give, you don’t have to and no one will know; so you can’t feel pressured. I do think it is a little strange to try and interdict the gift, however, based on a strawman argument.

  36. LisaP. says:

    It’s a sad situation when begging has a bad name with any in the church of St. Francis.

    Begging, particularly for another, is directly in our heritage.

  37. Sissy says:

    LisaP said: “It’s a sad situation when begging has a bad name with any in the church of St. Francis.”

    Thank you, LisaP; I was thinking the same thing. Are the mendicant orders now to be scorned? What a world we find ourselves living in: wealthy 30 year old women begging for contraception – good; a holy priest casually mentioning he would wear a biretta if one were offered to him – bad.

  38. chantgirl says:

    For the record, most diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty. This is a common misconception. Also, begging for something which is to be used for Mass is not the same as begging for oneself.

  39. wmeyer says:

    Also, begging for something which is to be used for Mass is not the same as begging for oneself.

    Fr. McDonald was not begging.

  40. chantgirl says:

    Fr. Jim, it’s pretty low to assume that a priest who wears clerical attire out in public is doing so for a handout. Priests aren’t like police officers, being on or off-duty.

  41. chantgirl says:

    wmeyer- Granted, but I have seen Catholics get up in arms because a priest asks for money for appropriate vestments, or to put money toward a fitting tabernacle etc., as if these were unnecessary expenses or somehow the priest’s “bling”.

  42. Sissy says:

    wmeyer, you’re right; he was not begging. Others were arranging a gift for him.

    However, even if he had specifically requested something that would be used for Mass, it would not have been wrong. I’m just amazed at the irony of someone who applauds and celebrates actual begging
    (for something immoral) who then turns around and criticizes a holy priest, falsely accusing him of begging.

  43. LisaP. says:

    No, he was not begging. Not at all.

  44. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Moving along….

    In my experience, a lot of guys who aren’t comfortable shopping for clothes, or with their own taste in clothes, will merely allow as how they wouldn’t fight being taken shopping for X, or being given Y. Probably this is something guys only say privately to women or dapper older men of their acquaintance, rather than to other guys and loudly in public; so probably Fr. Jim isn’t experienced with this particular figure of speech.

    This seems reasonable, as most priests today would not be experienced in shopping for birettas; would probably not know where to go in real life, or how to measure their head for online shopping; and wouldn’t have mothers or sisters who are experienced in such shopping. There was a greater knowledge pool for such things in seminaries and times gone by.

  45. Suburbanbanshee says:

    And yes, the same figure of speech doubles as acceptance of a gift idea that’s been floated by a guy — for example, if somebody’s mom says that she’s thinking about getting her son some ties or socks, and the son thinks about it and says he wouldn’t fight getting some ties, if they were given to him. (This also may signal “I don’t have the cash for ties right now, but I admit that I should have some.”)

  46. John F. says:

    Why don’t we set up a funding mechanism to make sure that each permanent Deacon has upon his ordination a full set of vestments for celebration the liturgies of his Rite and traditionally associated administering Sacraments of which he is an ordinary minister. This would include a biretta.

  47. wmeyer says:

    Why don’t we set up a funding mechanism…

    To my mind, this is something easily managed in each parish, probably best done with the Knights.

  48. VexillaRegis says:

    Oh, Suburban, this reminds me of when our former pastor went shopping for new kitchen curtains. This guy was a BIG guy, in his late thirties, who had never been to a fabric and home decoration shop before. “It was a nightmare! Just women everywhere, staring at me when I was looking at different fabrics. The only other guys there were a couple of giggling gays, who also looked at me. I felt like I had walked into the ladies rest room.”

    I lauged, and asked him what colour his new curtains had. “No, I didn’t get any, I just left the store!”

  49. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: funding mechanism —

    Traditionally, the “funding mechanism” for the first full set of vestments was the needles of the guy’s mom and sisters. (Our pope talks in his autobiography about how his mom and sister made vestments for him and his brother, IIRC.) Guys without sufficiently close female relatives were usually taken care of by the Altar Guild seamstresses.

    So yes, there clearly is a need to fill up the hole created by the fading of traditional crafts. Probably the hole was mostly created by people forgetting that most folks couldn’t do the homemade thing anymore.

    That said… your friendly local reenactors and historical recreation groups, particularly the Society for Creative Anachronism, do teach the needed skills for handling vestment fabrics, have good sources for getting the fabrics cheap, and often have the more gifted sewing people available for hire, if need be. Civil War reenactor folks also have plenty of the skills needed.

  50. southern orders says:

    As the villain here and all around nice guy too, my comment on maniples and birettas had to do with personal taste and comfort. I wear the maniple for the EF Mass although I do find it to be in the way sometimes. I don’t like how the biretta looks, nor do I recall my pastors in the late 1950′s and early 60′s ever wearing one. But with that said, while I wouldn’t buy one for myself but since so many do like it for the EF Mass, I would wear one for that Mass if I were given one, but since I have an antipathy for it, I wouldn’t buy one for myself, although I certainly could afford it from my salary and stipends. By the same token I wouldn’t buy a Beretta but seeing as I live in an inner city rectory, I would use it if someone gave one to me. So, let’s see what happens! :)

  51. chantgirl says:

    Well, Fr., if you get a big gun (Beretta), you’re going to need a big hat (biretta) to go with it. I’d be happy to contribute to the Berettas-and-Birettas Fund.

  52. frjim4321 says:

    However, I made my earlier comment because it is very disturbing to see that frjim’s response to so many things is uncharitable.

    I don’t think my comment was that out of step with many comments here about “nuns on the bus,” NCR authors, members of the LCWR, etc., but I’ll keep your opinion in mind and attempt to self edit my contributions a bit more.

    If you put my comment here alongside many other comments it’s not really all that out of place.

  53. There seems to be some uncertainty about whether the biretta is actually required for the 1962 Mass. The Ritus servandus (“Rite to be Observed”) in the 1962 Missale Romanum–which is sometimes alleged to have the same legal force as the Rubricae generales (though I’m not sure whether this is actually so)–specifies numerous times when the celebrant is to cover and to uncover his head. For instance (in the English translation provided in the current FSSP Ordo):

    II.2. When he comes to the altar, standing before its lowest step, he uncovers his head, hands the biretta to the minister, [caput detegi, biretum ministro porrigit in the original Latin] and bows profoundly to the altar . . .

    XIII.6. . . . After the reverence, he takes the biretta from the minister, covers his head, [accipit biretum a ministro, caput cooperit in Latin] and with the minister leading, returns to the sacristry . . .

  54. Sissy says:

    frjim4321 said: “I don’t think my comment was that out of step with many comments here about “nuns on the bus,” NCR authors, members of the LCWR, etc.”

    A tu quoque argument, Father? Somehow I expected more from a priest….like a good example, perhaps.

  55. StWinefride says:

    Sissy, you say to Father Jim:

    A tu quoque argument, Father? Somehow I expected more from a priest….like a good example, perhaps.

    I think the fact that Father Jim has said “but I’ll keep your opinion in mind and attempt to self edit my contributions a bit more” laudable.

    Thank you Father Jim, and we’ll all do the same. God Bless.

  56. Ciao says:

    The $1/- contribution = $74/-

    St. John Cantius, Chicago
    has online purchases for $75/-
    I’ll even put in the final dollar.
    http://birettabooks.com/go/webstore/product/biretta/
    Ironically the site is called Biretta books.

    Looks like father gets a new Biretta.

    I strongly believe the vestments and other liturgical items should be provided by the faithful, for it serves as a reminder of their indebtedness to the faithful they serve.

    I strongly believe they should fund their own personal ventures:
    Trips, vacations, lodging, museums, gourmet food, wine, spirits, smokes, lottery tickets etc.
    In fact they should not even accept them as gifts let alone ask to donate towards them.
    Mother Teresa’s sisters are not allowed to accept even a cup of tea outside the community.
    But Sir…But Sir… these are not Religious priests- therefore Food and Water under necessity could be Accepted, not Expected.

    It’s a Biretta….not a RT-ticket to Rome!

    Let’s put things in perspective here. And achieved with $1/- donations.
    I tip my hat to all of you who have made this possible. Let us know how to follow up.
    Ciao a tutti !