QUAERITUR: Where to get a ferraiolo? Fr. Z asks help and make a business proposal.

From seminarian:

I am a seminarian in first year theology and in my fourth year of seminary formation. A classmate and I will be attending separate weddings and both were asked to wear our cassock. My question is this:
can or does a seminarian wear a ferriaolo for formal occasions?
Secondly can you or readers help us obtain a pattern for the making of said item or contact someone who makes them at a more reasonable cost?
Thank you and God Bless you for all you do.

The ferraiolo or ferraiuolo is used, with the proper cassock, fascia, etc., as part of a Roman clerics’s formal attire as in black or white tie. If you are going to wear a cassock, I think the ferraiolo would also be proper.

Some advice, sonny.

Yes, this is all great stuff and fun to boot.  As a first year theologian, don’t allow yourself to get overly enthusiastic about these things just yetCapisce?

Where can you get one?  I am not sure.  I got my stuff in Rome.

I’ll open the floor to informed clerics out there.  Perhaps they can help you out.

I imagine that a ferraiolo, unlike a cassock, would be rather easy to make.  If you could find an old one which someone could copy or find a pattern, you could save a lot of money.  Clerical dress suppliers/stores charge ABSURD prices for clerical dress.

However, I think we should do all we can to revive decorum in clerical dress.  Not ostentation: decorum.  The right dress in the right place and the right time.  Some formality, which shows respect for the event and the people who attend…  I’m now rambling.

HINT: Perhaps a skillful seamstress or tailor or two out there could start a cottage industry and make some good dough.  Get organized and I will push your business here, if I see that you can making a good product.

So… pattern?  Ideas?  Think, people! Think!  Get to work!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. thefeds says:

    I would think that unless you were somehow playing a role in the wedding, it would be more appropriate to wear a suit and collar (no plastic tabbies). While you are a major seminarian, you aren’t yet a cleric, and so should forego the cassock and cape, in my humble opinion. I will say, whatever you choose to wear, do so with care to do it right!

  2. Dan G. says:

    One place you can buy one is from House of Hansen. See http://thehouseofhansen.com/chzb.shtml

  3. You can find some addresses of Roman tailors here:
    Prices for a Ferraiolo are between 800 and 1,200 Euros

    and of Polish tailors here:
    Prices between 250 and 500 Euros

    In Poland, if you find the right tailor, they make very good quality and fair prices:
    Fides Sutanny is quite good.

  4. rcg says:

    Are rentals proper? My grandfather ran a tailor shop for years and my wife worked in a shop that made beautiful suits for special occasions, all for rental. They had some that were actually very nice, and while expensive for a rental, were far less expensive than comparable to buy. Seems like one could do that to kick off the USA market until people wanted permanent ones for their own.

  5. Centristian says:

    I have read that abito piano is actually not supposed for priests below the rank of honorary prelates but that should priests, regardless, craft abito piano for themselves, it would consist of the cassock and the fascia with the black wool ferraiolo. I can’t imagine that seminarians, particularly when they are not tonsured, ought to pretend to use the abito piano of the clergy, however. It would be like a civilian wearing dress uniform to a ball.

    I seem to recall that there may also be a distinction in the cut of the garment used by a simple priest or monsignor and those worn by true prelates. A bishop’s ferraiolone, for example, envelopes the shoulders, whereas a priest’s or a monsignor’s simply covers the back. In my understanding, that was the difference between a ferraiolo and a ferraiolone.

    While I have seen the ferraiolone available, I have never come across the ferraiolo. I suppose, however, that a mere seminarian, if he would wear such a thing, would not have many compunctions about usurping the fuller garment. That is available, domestically, perhaps from a few vendors, one of them being R. J. Toomey, Inc. There should be a religious goods store that is an R. J. Toomey dealer in or near your area.

    Toomey’s catalong will show the ferrailone as a bishop’s garment in purple:


    However, they will make it for you in black (or in any other color you desire) upon request. As these are custom garments, however, be prepared to wait about 12 weeks. Furthermore, as Father Z rightly points out, this stuff is not cheap.

    If you google “bishop’s attire”, “prelate attire”, “ferraiolo”, &c., I’m sure you’ll find other domestic vendors who deal in Toomey products or other vendors for splendid ecclesiastical flummery. Father Z gives some good advice, though. It isn’t a complicated garment; find some talented costume maker or seamstress who could make one for you. If you seek them out, you should be able to find a theatrical costume maker or two in your area who would accept a commission and be able to craft something for alot less than you would pay a clergywear company like Toomey.

    My advice: save your money, altogether and skip it. The cassock and fascia are considered quite formal enough in this day and age without any further embellishment.

  6. jbas says:

    “Clerical dress suppliers/stores charge ABSURD prices for clerical dress.” You got that right!

  7. tech_pilgrim says:

    As a former seminarian (who left on good terms and is now a happily married Catholic layman and soon to be father), I will tell you what my friends told me when I was in seminary: Be careful. You don’t want to cause trouble for yourself, many priests in U.S. diocese don’t like Cassocks, they consider them a sign of clericalism (which is nonsense), I can only imagine what a priest would say to your formators about a 1st year seminarian wearing “a medieval cape.” When you’re ordained, go for it, but as a seminarian be careful, make sure no photos leak out. It may cause trouble.

    On a side note, keep in mind that wearing a ferriaolo, as Fr. Z said, is like wearing a tux. Will other guests be wearing tuxes? If not, wear your cassock without ferriaolo, which in my view is equivalent to business attire (a real clerical suit, not a tab collar and an ill fitted jacket, would also do), which is how most Americans dress at weddings when they are not in the wedding party. If you are in the wedding party, then it would be appropriate.

    Also, make sure they aren’t expecting you to sit in choir, if so you would wear a surplice of course with the cassock and no ferriaolo. All my buddies from Seminary would could come to my wedding all had the honor of sitting in choir, of course that was a Christ the King Sovereign Priest parish ;)

  8. heway says:

    A former pastor and now a vocation director, had a complete set of Roman vestments.(fiddleback).
    His aunt, a religous , acquired them, put them away for safe keeping. His mother repaired what was necessary and he looks very different from the other priests (group pictures).
    Perhaps a religous order may have done the same thing or have the patterns. They always had patterns for their own attire.

  9. Unless the seminarian in question is a tradition-minded order where traditional attire is fostered, I wouldn’t do it. Not being affiliated with these groups, I don’t know what’s customary, but I would counsel holding off.

    If you merely have one in your closet, and anyone sees it, assume everyone will hear about it. That’s just how the seminary is. If you wear it in anyone’s presence, assume a picture of it will be circulated. And God help you if, alone in your seminary room, you put on your get-up. Someone will find out, I don’t know how. It’s just not the sort of thing that helps.

    Don’t misunderstand, I have no issue with this. I am wearing a cassock at the moment, and I would like to acquire one of these–and then have an occasion to wear it. But while in the seminary, you would be better off not having to answer the question, “why was it important to you to have this?”

  10. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    Thefeds: The Roman collar and cassock (or black suit) do not necessarily signify the clerical state; it is the normal attire for seminarians (or at least, for those in major seminary) as well as clergy. So, it would not be improper for these men, or for any seminarian, to attend a wedding (or any other event) in cassock and, if performing a liturgical function, surplice. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that one used to enter the clerical state and receive the cassock upon reception of tonsure, whereas today the clerical state begins with ordination to the diaconate.

  11. Dr Guinness says:

    As a seminarian, I’ll have to agree with Fr Fox here. Unless you’re in an ultra-orthodox seminary, or one of the Traddie seminaries, where the seminarians, at the very least, wear the cassock as their daily dress, DON’T DO IT.

    Sure, it looks fantastic, we may be “entitled” to it, and we’re aspiring to that state in life, but it’s best not to “rock the boat”, as those who will determine when/if you are ordained, may be watching very closely, and make life, and ordination aspirations, very ‘difficult’ for you.

    However if you want one, and you’re prepared to pay through the nose and sell your left arm, try J Wippell and Co., of London, but they have an outlet in the USA.

  12. Something else to think about when deciding what is best for an occasion. If you are the center of attention and guest of honor, fine, wear what you want. But if you are merely an attendee, do not over-dress so as to overshadow the principals. Calling attention to one’s self in that way is bad manners. By all means don’t out-dress the bride and groom. If everyone is in blue or white tie, then fine, I would wear the habit. But if only the groom is in formal wear, scale back.

    I follow this rule: if the bishop or a prelate is there in pian dress, then I wear the habit. If he is in choir dress and it is proper season, then the habit with cappa. If the principal, especially the bishop or provincial, is going to be in clerical suit, then I don’t wear the habit, but clerics. A simple cleric should not draw attention to himself at the expense of the prelate. And “particularity” is traditionally considered bad form in clerics.

    I would think this would be common sense, but that sometimes seems in short supply.

  13. Opps, that was “black” not “blue tie.”

  14. sekman says:

    Wonderful comments, I especially enjoyed the comments on the Roman clerical shops.

    Does anywhere know of any bookstores in Rome which sell Liturgical Books? Such as the Liturgia Horarum or Missale Romanum. I know there is the Vatican Bookstore, however, I am curious if there is anything else out there.


  15. I would so love to see the Saturno make a comeback. So dignified.

  16. Flambeaux says:

    Barbiconi’s online price (around 330 euro) isn’t bad, given what good silk costs ($30-$50 a yard) and the worker being worth his wage. An experienced tailor or seamstress would likely spend 8-10 hours constructing such a garment.

    House of Hansen seems fairly priced, too, if you don’t want to order from Rome.

    I can say nothing about the wisdom of wearing such attire.

    But from my shopping of clerical garments I have not found the pricing to be absurd when compared to men’s clothing of comparable quality. For example, I can order a custom, made-to-measure cassock from Hansen’s or Barbiconi for between $500 and $1000, depending on trim options, etc.

    For a comparable two-piece suit made-to-measure, it would run $700 – $2000. Actual bespoke would cost somewhat more.

    It only seems outrageous if the comparison is made to low-end, off-the-rack American menswear. But that is not a fair comparison, in my opinion.

    I will, however, concede that vestment prices are outrageous; but I can’t think of a comparable equivalent to consider for purposes of comparison.


  17. Dear Flambeaux,

    Not to be argumentative, but I don’t think your comparisons really catch the reality.

    I will not address the issue of cassocks, but habits, which I know better. First, the habit (cassock) is normally, in religious houses, worn as ordinary dress. They are on 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. They get dirty at meals and when doing chores. They are run through the washer and dryer over and over. A habit is not a suit, it is ordinary wear — like a shirt, pants, and (perhaps) a sweater. The idea of spending 700 and more dollars for knock-around clothing is not just absurd, it is a violation of the vow of poverty.

    Currently, my three habits are pieced together from discarded habits in the “habit discard room” of the House of Studies (where the habits of friars who die and of novices who are voted out or leave are stored). The alternative is to have a new habit made and even the cheapest would be in the price range you quote. There are no nun or sister tailors to produce habits for virtually the cost of material any more.

    To spend the amount of money that a lay person pays for a suit (bespoke or unbespoke) would be to purchase something used only for formal occasions, on the account of the cost of dry cleaning alone! So long as cassock is something just for dress-up, a $1000 or more might be okay. But if a priest is going to wear it as house dress, then someone has to make stuff as durable and easy to clean as jeans and oxford shirts.

    In short, people, if you want your priests to wear a cassock, you might want to offer to buy one and give it as a Christmas gift. The best thing, however, would be for some dedicated people to produce decent “off-the-rack” cassocks for under $200 so that they are competitive in price with a shirt and jeans for house wear.

  18. Gail F says:

    The letter says the seminarians were asked to wear cassocks. Now in my diocese, the seminarians do not wear cassocks. A lot of them are these days are getting them for after they are ordained or for special wear before hand (if they are going to the March for Life, etc.). In the next diocese over, seminarians wear cassocks all the time! Well, not all the time — for kickaround wear — but frequently at public or formal appearances. Most of them seem to own one. Maybe it’s big at their seminary, or maybe their bishop likes it. Anyway, I think it depends on where you live. That said, if the bride and groom didn’t ask, I wouldn’t wear one. And under no circumstances would I wear the other thing. You do not everyone at the wedding wondering “what that thing that guy is wearing” is — you want them paying attention to the wedding and, at the reception, the bride and groom.

  19. edm says:

    Dear Seminarian,

    You are entitled to wear it. However, as I see it in the Roman Catholic dioceses around my neck of the woods, I think wearing a ferriaolo as a seminarian would be about the same as putting on a bullseye for shot practice. Don’t do it.

    For any other clergy who wish to buy one…we gave one to our Rector (yes, in an Episcopal parish) as a Christmas present about three years ago. I think it cost approxiamtely $300. We bought it at our regular church goods store. Most of the larger stores, the one that print the thicker catalogue, can provide them.

  20. BP247 says:

    I recall there being two distinct garments. One known popularly as the Ferraiolo, the garment that wraps around the shoulders somewhat, is technically called the Ferraiolone, according to the Church Visible authored by John Noonan. But there is another garment similar to the Ferraiolone that is different and was required to be used by students in Rome at least when the late great Msgr. Richard Schuler was a Fulbright Scholar. This he called the Ferraiolini, so called because it was “a little ferraiolo” that did not encompass at all the shoulder, but rather hung straight down the back of the cleric wearing it. He wore it as a priest student in Rome for all formal occassions. The wider garment, the Ferraiolone, was not worn by him at this time even though he was a priest. Later on when he was named a Prelate of Honor he wore the scarlet Ferraiolone that belonged to his predecessor at the parish Church he was assigned to in Saint Paul along with a black biretta and scarlet pompom. Strictly speaking I am not sure if Prelates of Honor were allowed this after the the simplification of Church Vesture caused by Pope Paul VI. Domestic Prelates were certainly afforded these garments to wear. As to why he wore some of the older garments I believe is due to the fact that the Papal Household actually approved the title Monsignor and Domestic prelate prior to the reform of Pope Paul VI, after the Internationale Consociato Musica Sacris convention held between Milwaukee and Chicago in 1964. The only thing which held up the granting of the title”Domestic Prelate” at the local level according to him was a certain President of the College of Saint Thomas at the time who did not approve of priests at the College being so honored without his approval. Thus the title supposed to have been given him sometime after the convention in 1964 did not arrive until he was a Pastor in his own right at the great St. Agnes Parish in St. Paul, Minnesota, which is the Twin Cities alma mater of Fr. Z, Bp. Sample, Bp. Levoir, Bp. Sirba, and a whole host of priests including myself.

    In regard to the Ferraiolone in black wool, black watered silk, scarlet, the bishop’s purple, or the cardinal’s red in it’s various differences, is the wider wrap around garment popularly known as the Ferraiolo used by those having jursidiction? Thus a pastor, even a simple priest, would wear the wraparound garment in black wool or some other material not watered silk, etc, but other clerics not holding jursidiction would have recourse to the “Ferraiolini”?

    Perhaps an expert in Church Vesture and the older protocol that exister prior to Paul VI and “Ut Sive Sollicite”, would be able to provide the answer. On a secondary note does the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” and its accompanying instruction “Universae Ecclesiae” also mean that for the use of the Usus Antiquior the older prootcols still apply at least when it comes to the intersection of that protocol with the ancient liturgical rites?

  21. BP247 says:

    When my three siblings were married I did, as a priest wear the Ferraiolone, along with the black paleolaus/zuchetto to the wedding receptions.

  22. BP247 says:

    I have also worn the Ferraiolone along with Casock, biretta, fascia etc, for the conferral of Eighth Grade Graduation Diploma’s.

  23. gadolli says:

    Another address to make the confeccção Feraiolo in Brazil.
    This company practices good service and their prices are fair.


    [I see that, after conversion, a ferraiolo would cost about US$330. Still fairly spendy.]

  24. Father K says:

    I agree with those who caution against wearing cassock, ferraiolo etc. However, I find it somewhat alarming that a seminarian would even consider it at this stage. The wearing of a cassock etc is not per se a sign of clericalism of course, but it can be – it’s a question of attitude.

  25. Springkeeper says:

    I would love to obtain patterns for clerical wear. I have been sewing for many years and I think it would be a great ministry area in which to participate. It would be such a blessing to me to be able to help out the priests the who serve the Lord in so many beautiful and amazing ways.

  26. Melchisedech says:

    I think this place is pretty fair in their pricing compared to most other companies. Also, a good place to look of you’re located in the Midwest (as I am!).

  27. danivdp says:

    For sewers looking for patterns, I have read internet recommendations for this off the rack pattern being best for cassocks:

    That said, I’ve never actually made one, but I have it bookmarked for when my 6 kids grow a bit and I have spare time that does not involve nursing at the keyboard :)

  28. RosaMystica says:

    He’s a fourth year seminarian, not first year. He’s in first year theology. So I think he can be just a little bit enthusiastic, no?

  29. xsosdid says:

    Hi Father,
    I have just forwarded this post to a good friend who happens to be both a Permanent Deacon and a master tailor.
    Who knows?

  30. PostCatholic says:

    I’m both formerly Catholic and a former seminarian. I still own a soutane, cloth fringed fascia, some clergy collars, and a roman surplice; they are much borrowed by friends come each October. At one point, in addition to the above I had another cassock with fascia, some clergy shirts, some albs (I’m tall and couldn’t count on a sacristy to supply one that would fit), and an ugly circle-necked surplice required by one assignment–these things I’d bought myself for my own needs. I’ve been spotted wearing a vimpa and/or white cotton gloves, too, but I never had to supply my own.

    When he left seminary, a classmate of similar height and build gave me a greca, a black watered silk fascia, and a cappa nigra (we were the same height and build). He gave his saturno to someone with his hat size. I have no idea how or why he’d acquired those things. I never found the occasion to wear any of them, thought them oddities and in the end I gave them to a permanent deacon who did a lot of fundraising events with our Cardinal. Importantly, even he told me that he had never found the occasion to wear those things, either. And I was pretty sure none of us ever ranked a black watered silk fascia.

    I viewed the “right” to wear clerical attire a privilege to be avoided as a seminarian. Invariably when I wore them people mistook me for a priest. I had people call me father, kiss my hands, ask for blessings, want confessions heard–and then who felt awkward no matter how gently I explained why I was wearing a roman collar. On one memory Christmas banquet occasion while wearing my soutane I was given a lengthy, detailed and angry sexual history from a someone who would not be interrupted for the length of time necessary to inform her I was merely a student. That didn’t end well. My take-away was, again, Just because one can wear a collar doesn’t mean one ought. Consider the needs and the misunderstandings of the people you attend to.

    You may think the generation of priests who view soutanes as divisive and clericalist are wrong on that point. I can tell you from my experience, though, many of those men are wise, experienced and powerful and it isn’t a good career move to alienate them. And yes–I did become very familiar with the metaphoric consumption of the robust tang of feculence when brother seminarians discovered the cappa nigra and greca in my closet–mostly they’d conjecture that I belonged in there, too.

    When I was a DRE, a first-year priest dressed himself up in pleated alb and violet cope to lead the first grade CCD from the parish school to the church for first confessions. I am not kidding: one poor little girl, already over-wrought by having to tell a priest in number and kind of her naughtiness, burst into tears. When we were consoling her we discovered she thought Father Watkins was dressed like Dracula. It may be entirely correct to wear a cope in a liturgical procession, but because you can doesn’t mean you ought–a life lesson I regret to say this particular priest has never really learned.

    Ministry is the act of service to the needs of others. “Mini” is right in the word (compare the meanings of minister and magister). Not all privileges or rights need be exercised. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to get more sartorial attention than a bride on her wedding day. Save getting the ferraiolone for another occasion when you want attention drawn to yourself. Most of the time you’ll see a prelate wearing one, he’s presenting awards to people who gave him money and asking them for more. That occasion will come up for you in a ministry career.

  31. dominic1955 says:

    When I was in the seminary (left on good terms, discerned out), I always thought this whole issue of traditional clerical dress being “clericalist” that some people made such a huff about was ridiculous. It was so much more relaxed hanging out with Trad orders that didn’t make a big deal about his stuff, it seemed so much more healthy and less weirdly self-conscious. They often don’t encourage their seminarians to get and wear all the extra accoutrement either, but it wasn’t because they were against it rather you had time to get that kind of thing when you were actually a priest. I always got the feeling that these people who looked down on traditional garb were just ashamed of how unCatholic they really were and didn’t want all these young whippersnappers showing them up. The people responded favorably (Catholics and non-Catholics) by and large to the cassock or at most didn’t know what to think about it because they never saw it before. About the only ones who got their britches in a bunch were ossified liberals who had worked so hard to destroy all that they saw as being represented by the cassock et al.

    That said, there is no point in committing vocational suicide by provoking the wrong crackpots. Its too bad we have to put up with stupid things like this, but in the present climate you really have to choose which hills you want to die on. Eventually when the right people take over, this stuff will hopefully not be an issue any more. However, I don’t see that happening anytime soon, Americans are too sloppy in generally anyway. The neo-cons that have been taking over from the liberals are not much more friendly to actual traditional expressions of Catholicism.

    As to things like little girls crying because they think the priest looks like dracula or people giving off their little sneering coughs when the priest brings out the incense, etc. I say tough. Teach the girl what’s going on and that Fr’s cope has nothing to do with dracula and then wear it. If we kowtow to the various silly or straight up stupid issues people have with what is traditionally Catholic, is it any wonder that we are in the horrid state we are today with matters liturgical?

  32. TSC says:

    Hello, a friend emailed this post to me. I just want to let you know about our sewing shop in Kansas. We are a local shop in a small town where we sew many things for many people. We do sew for the Church as well. Here is our website… http://www.teresitasewcreative.com If you can’t fine what you are looking for contact us and let us do it for you. We give the Church huge discounts… The prices are VERY fair. ;)

    Teresita’s Sew Creative

  33. I hear these stories about the awful experiences for people who mistake a seminarian or a deacon for a priest, but I have a hard time seeing the reasoning that follows: namely, that the wearing of the clerical attire is to blame. What it seems PostCatholic describes is folks who have their own issues, and while it’s right to be concerned for them, I can’t agree with the notion one must walk on eggshells around them.

    The ‘Count Dracula’ story makes the point. I mean, seriously? I think the real story is that the girl was “overwrought”–and Father’s choice of clothing had little to do with it.

    By the way, just to be clear: my advice earlier was about the ferraiolo specifically; although, depending on circumstances the seminarian in question would know better, it may apply to wearing a cassock as well. It just depends on the climate in which he operates. Thankfully, cassoccophobia (soutaniphobia?) is ebbing; they are returning to seminaries and parishes, so it may be that seminarians wearing them to a wedding might be just fine. I think it will be a good thing when we can again have occasions for clergy (and seminarians) to dress to the nines. The mindset has–around here at least–improved considerably regarding vestments. Many of us can remember–and many find this incredible, yet it is true!–when vestments and articles used at Mass were supposed to be plain and grubby. Supposedly more “authentic.” If I learned that some priest somewhere offered Mass using a paper plate and a Dixie cup (without need), I would not be surprised in the least.

    Who thinks it awful when cadets in military academies wear uniforms, and spiffy ones at that?

  34. PostCatholic says:

    Yep, I did describe folks who have their own issues and brought their own prejudices to my clothing. And when I was a first-year seminarian, I wasn’t the right person to confront those issues. I’d have a hard time thinking of a 1-semester seminarian who is. Leave it to the pros, my firm advice and I’m sticking to it.

    Incidentally, I also left on good terms by my choice. More than a decade passed beyond that before I decided Catholicism also wasn’t for me.

    My brother went to a military academy (The Citadel) and I’ve got a great photo Halloween photo of my dad dressed up in the uniform he found in the attic, balancing a granddaughter on his hip. He looks like a toy soldier. Very different effect if he’d found a soutane up there, I should think.

  35. thefeds says:

    Fr Kocik, you wouldn’t have had anyway to know this, but I spent almost six years in the seminary (2 in college Sem., 3.5 yrs. in Theology). I wore clerical attire to class every day of Major Seminary, and wore cassock and serplice when appropriate. Take another look at my comment. While the seminarian is supposed to wear clerical attire, that is quite different than wearing such formal attire while just attending a wedding. That would be almost as questionable as a single woman trying to outshine the bride. Many post besides mine urged caution for a number of reasons. I only said it would be wiser to wear a nice fitted suit and a real collar, not a cheap tabbie! Care to cut me a little slack?

  36. RichardT says:

    Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P. said (10:41 pm ): “the habit (cassock) is normally, in religious houses, worn as ordinary dress. They are on 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. They get dirty at meals and when doing chores. They are run through the washer and dryer over and over. A habit is not a suit, it is ordinary wear.”

    Father, for many of us who work, a suit is ordinary wear. Perhaps only five days per week (six for some), but easily 12 hours per day. Say 8 hours in the office, an hour out at lunch, an hour in the pub after work, an hour each way commuting – there’s 12 hours even if you don’t work long hours.

    Also I’m not a tailor, but the cassock looks like a much more difficult thing to make than a suit. A cheap suit will hang quite loose, but a cassock is much more closely fitted and so probably much less tolerant of errors. (although a monk’s habit does seem rather simpler)

    Add to this the weight of numbers – millions of fairly standard business suits are produced every year, so are cheaper because of standardisation and production-line techniques, even for “made to measure”. But until vocations increase enormously, cassocks are unlikely to be made on production lines.

  37. RichardT says:

    As for the original question, he’s been asked to wear the cassock (presumably asked by the bride – or by a foolishly brave groom). Questions of out-dressing the bride don’t therefore apply. Yes adding the ferriaolo makes it a bit more dressy, but the big difference in terms of standing out is suit vs cassock, and the bride’s already happy with that.

  38. Precentrix says:

    From a woman’s perspective:

    I’d say soutaine, with fascia (obligatory), but no ferraiolo. Why? Because I associate them (in this sort of context) with evening wear – equivalent to white tie (black tie is a more casual and modern invention). At a wedding, even where everyone is dressed up to the nines, noone is in evening wear. Even if the groom and other men of the wedding party are wearing top hat and tails, they aren’t in white tie but in morning dress (grey rather than black). The other men in the congregation are likely to be in lounge suits rather than formal dress anyway.

    Wait until you’re ordained. Then get one. And wear it to the opera. For now, if you’re likely to be cold, a nice warm cloak will do.

  39. Father K says:

    You think priests can afford to go to the opera?

  40. Cantate says:

    The traditional Benedictine nuns in Kansas–Mary Queen of Apostles–make vestments for priests. You can find them on the ‘Net. ATTN to Sister Misericordia.

  41. Precentrix says:

    Father K,

    Yes. They do sell cheap tickets. I can remember paying £4 to watch the opera at Covent Garden not that long ago. If they can afford cable T.V. or takeaway meals, they can afford opera.

  42. tjvigg3 says:

    I wish to add one more word of caution to the questioning seminarian. The underlying reality to this entire discussion is that, even if feriaollos (and similar capes) are permitted, their paucity on the current scene only serves to draw attention to them. Rare indeed is the cleric (note: cleric) who not only owns but has occassion to wear a feriaolla. However, that peragative belongs to him. He already enjoys the possession of the Sacrament of Orders. If he prefers to dress in a traditional Roman style, God bless him. HOWEVER, seminarians who have not yet been ordained to the diaconate have but one mission, be formed well and GET ORDAINED. To single oneself out by wearing such traditional garments at such an early stage in one’s formation ( and anyone involved in formation knows, even if they don’t say so, that college sems are not taken as serioulsy as “sems” as those in theology) only serves to raise questions in the minds of one’s formators. Moreover, those who “make an issue” of wearing Roman dress come across as lacking in maturity etc. The bottom line is, unless cassocks are the norm in the Diocese where you are studying, don’t wear one. If clerics are not normally worm by seminiarians in your home Diocese, wear a suit and tie. If they are worn, then, by all means, wear the suit, rabby and cuffs. Whatever you wear, prudence in your appearance will serve you far better and far longer than the grief that can come your way for an imprudent appearance at a wedding at such an early stage in your formation. God bless you.

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