Reason #756 for why Anglicans must issue “Romanorum coetibus”

On his way out, Anglican Archbp. Rowan Williams really has to get his crew to issue Romanorum coetibus.  No, really.   They are so very… progressive.  They are so far ahead of us Catholics.

For example, I read in The Daily Telegraph that the Anglicans are trying to appeal to young people by having – I am not making this up – liturgical fashion shows.  No, really.

More teal vicar? Colourful clergy show off new robes on catwalk
It may shock traditionalists but vicars have taken to the catwalk to model the latest fashions in clergy robes.

The modelling ministers are showing off the latest designs at an annual Christian event nicknamed The Ideal Church Show this week.
But some of the outfits, from an electric blue dress for female clergy to a full Easter tableau on the front of a flowing white smock, may shock traditionalists used to a simple dog collar.
[NB:] Senior Anglican figures are hoping to show that the church is modernising and can attract younger audiences to it.
Seven clergy from churches in the North West will be taking to the ‘righteous runway’ to exhibit the designs at the Christian Resources Exhibition in Manchester this week.

Called Clergy on the Catwalk it features designers Juliet Hemingray, Hayes and Finch, Cross Designs and J&M Sewing.
The Bishop of Middleton, Rt Rev Mark Davies, said: “It will be interesting to see the variety of clergy robes produced by contemporary designers.
“The church has modernised so much in the past 20 years and what clergy wear reflects that change.
“Gone are the 50 shades of grey [Whoa!  Really?] and in has come a spectrum of colour and design which can be seen in everything from a Church of England royal wedding to the humblest Christening in one of our smaller churches.”
Among those taking part are five male and two female vicars.
One, Rev Taffy Davies of Macclesfield, said: “I have always longed to be a model cleric but I guess I’ll just have to settle for being a clerical model.”
The CRE event is dubbed ‘The Ideal Church Show’ because it features ecclesiastical suppliers who provide everything from church lighting to parish computer systems and even coffins.
The two day show is expected to attract around 3,000 visitors.

Yep… that’ll do it, alright.

Some years back the late Fr. Neuhaus quipped that the Anglican Church made irony redundant.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    There are no words.

  2. wmeyer says:

    Looks as though the designers consulted Bad Vestments.

  3. Dad of Six says:


  4. VexillaRegis says:

    Why is it, that the latest designs in liturgical vestment always look like the were made in the 60’s or 70’s?

  5. Sissy says:

    so-called “Bishop” of Middleton said: ““Gone are the 50 shades of grey …”

    Seriously? He actually used a pop culture reference to soft-core porn to describe the new, “improved” vestments? Wow.

  6. Darren says:

    What I notice over and over… “clergy robes”. Not “vestments”… but “clergy robes”. That goes to show something.

  7. Jim says:

    Dear Father Z,
    This is off-topic, but I had to bring this to your attention.

    For several days now has been, depending on the browser one uses, extremely slow on loading. I did a little debugging and it looks like the Facebook button under the title of each post, on the right of the Google Plus button is the culprit. This is the Facebook thing provided by “” and the reason why this blog is slow is because the web server at “” is offline. So depending on how long a particular browser times out, this blog will take that much time multiplied by the number of posts displayed on a page to load.

    Tip : Please disable that Facebook button.


  8. Bryan Boyle says:

    And still and yet…lots of our side go to Hayes and Fitch for their threads, too.

    mamajen: there are words: “banal” for one.

    But, at least they left the tie-dyed stuff on the rack and didn’t bring that out. Though, I’m sure some C0E vicar or Ms. Vicar is wearing one even as we speak somewhere.

  9. contrarian says:

    I’m assuming, for charity’s sake, that this is a bit of hipster coolness. They are holding this fashion show ironically, that is.

    At least….at least….I hope that’s what’s going on.

  10. Johnno says:

    The kids won’t care. This is all ‘Old Folks trying too hard’ levels of attention seeking. They’d get better attendence if they held a carnival where you got to ‘Throw pies at the pastors and pastoresses.’ Heck, even I’d go for that!

  11. Joan M says:

    A previous Parish Priest of mine had a chasuble that was made of white material (probably fine linen) that had been hand painted with a Pentecost scene. It was terrible! I warned him that, if he ever found it to be missing, it would have probably been me – stealing it, burning it, and burying the remaining ashes deep, very deep. He was horrified! He would have been more horrified if he learned that I had an almost irresistible vision of him being in it while I did all that ;-)

    He is now in Canada. Probably took the dreadful vestment with him. I had a feeling that a family member made it specially for him…… sigh.

  12. Widukind says:

    Why put on a fashion show? With so few people left in the Anglican church, who would be left to buy it? There surely could not be a market for this stuff.

  13. Legisperitus says:

    The Rev Taffy.

    Can’t stop shaking my head.

    The Rev Taffy.

  14. dominic1955 says:

    This is pretty much what happens when folks do not know (or don’t care) about the true history of vestments and clerical attire-across the board.

    For the life of me, I fail to see how a dopey cartoon on a poncho is going to attract secularist/agnostic/apathetic former Anglican or any religious back to church. Anglicans really take the cake on stupid vestments, but some of our folks give them a run for their money from time to time.

    I guess the Methodists have a fad going on now of wearing “stoles”. Now, granted, its not really reaching back into their Catholic past and recovering anything. It looks like they discovered that these strips of fabric make for yet another basis for a stupid banner-one that you can wear!

  15. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    As you have said, Father: Buy some popcorn, get a coke, and sit down and watch the show.

  16. wmeyer says:

    dominic, unfortunately there is a local priest who favors a stole which resembles a rainbow serape.

  17. Sissy says:

    dominic1955 said: “For the life of me, I fail to see how a dopey cartoon on a poncho is going to attract secularist/agnostic/apathetic former Anglican or any religious back to church.”

    There in lies the rub. When you have departed from truth, all you have left to attract people to your organization is fashion, pop music, puppets, and the like.

  18. Sissy says:

    wmeyer said : “unfortunately there is a local priest who favors a stole which resembles a rainbow serape.”

    He doesn’t post on here, does he? ; )

  19. wmeyer says:

    Sissy, I have no idea. ;)
    I must suspect not, however.

  20. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Sissy, don’t assume that a reference to “soft-core porn” was intended. Some people are not plugged into pop culture at all.

  21. MAJ Tony says:

    Legisperitus says:
    The Rev Taffy.
    Can’t stop shaking my head.
    The Rev Taffy.

    I hear her assistant…errr, sidekick, is Deacon Chewy. Properly speaking, he would be the Rev. Mr. Chewbacca. Picture that in your minds, folks.

  22. VexillaRegis says:

    FYI, I sent Fr. Z. an e-mail about this loading problem twelve hours ago or so (i.e.,in the morning here) He’s probably working on solving it between his morning routines and cooking his lunch :-).

  23. Bryan Boyle says:

    Sometimes…I find myself wishing the good Fr. Z had a like button on comments…:)

    MAJ Tony: I can’t begin to picture that.

  24. wmeyer says:

    I suppose the Rev. Taffy is the one with the bad dye job? (Other descriptive observations suppressed out of charity.)

  25. Sissy says:

    banjo-picking girl: “50 shades of gray” is a rather famous title these days, but I don’t think I ever heard anyone use it before the book by that name came out. Is that a well-know phrase aside from porn bin at the bookstore?

  26. dominic1955 says:

    wmeyer-Oh, I know, that’s why I said we give them a run for their money some times. Sometimes I’ve been flabbergasted by the crap I’ve found in sacristies that evidently were intended as vestments.

    Sissy-Not necessarily. There are nosebleed high Anglo-Catholics that are practical atheists but they still mimic Catholic liturgy for its aesthetic beauty. I think they also do cultural things like High Tea for the same reason. Some of the ones that actually believe and don’t just do it for funsies swim the Tiber. The ones in the above pics lost all of the hoity-toity fun part of Anglicanism/English-ism along with going post-Christianity.

    That’s what I mean, only a very small portion of post-Christians have kept some degree of sanity, even if its only aesthetic. Most of them have given it up with gusto. Why do any liberals (Protestant or Catholic) think that ever-so-slightly Christianized and classless poor quality imitations of secular products and themes will make people think, “Gee, I should really give Christianity a second look, because now its obviously so caring and inclusive, and non-judgmental and accepting of LGBTABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ person(s) and baby seals! It gives me much of what I can get in the world, only its even more banal and campy! Its also sticking it to those old men in Rome, what, with all that rainbow themes, pastel gauze and fish net! Take that Mr. Pope!”

  27. Actually, setting aside the ontological questions, Chewbacca would make an admirable cleric.

  28. Bryan Boyle says:

    Fr. Fox: I’ve known some clerics who had a similar ‘presence’ as Chewy…
    And you messed with them not.

  29. mhazell says:

    @legisperitus; @MAJTony:

    You might like to know that “Taffy” is a Welsh diminutive form of Dafydd, which is itself one of the Welsh forms of the name David.

    Yes, the vestments pictured in the Telegraph article are really not very good, and yes, the idea of such a show is itself a little bizarre. But I’m not sure it’s charitable to poke fun at someone just because they have what is to you a slightly odd name.

    (And I type that as much for my benefit as anyone else’s.)

  30. Sissy says:

    “You might like to know that “Taffy” is a Welsh diminutive form of Dafydd, which is itself one of the Welsh forms of the name David.”

    I was all confused. I thought “Taffy” was the lady (?) in the blond wig. And maybe Taffy is in the blonde wig, just not a lady? Another great CoE tradition: gender bending.

  31. jessicahoff says:

    There are words – but they fail me!

  32. Sandy says:

    Just when we think we’ve seen it all, someone tops the last one that left us “shaking our heads”!

  33. thefeds says:

    Can I get a Pepcid from anyone, please?

  34. Allan S. says:

    Sissy – yes, the blond on the left is a dude. Or Welsh. Hard to tell.

  35. Elodie says:

    Sissy: my daughter was joking that perhaps that wasn’t a woman in that photo….. Now you’ve got me wondering. ;-)

  36. wmeyer says:

    The photo is insufficiently clear to be sure whether the blonde has a five-o’clock shadow. Perhaps TG?

  37. Sissy says:

    Allan S. said: “yes, the blond on the left is a dude. Or Welsh. Hard to tell.”

    Are you saying that being a dude AND Welsh are mutually exclusive? Hmm.

  38. Charles E Flynn says:

    When I first saw the chasuble at the top right I thought it depicted the Yellow Brick Road from “The Wizard of Oz”. Pay no attention to the man behind the multi-colored chasuble.

  39. Frances M says:

    Elodie says: “Sissy: my daughter was joking that perhaps that wasn’t a woman in that photo….. Now you’ve got me wondering. ;-)”

    I think that answer is . . .

    a: Now

  40. Sissy says:

    I think wmeyer wins….I agree with his guess of TG. The blouse (is that what you call a vicar’s shirt?) buttons on the woman’s side. But the face needs a good, close shave.

  41. wmeyer says:

    …not sure I would call that a victory….

  42. Ed the Roman says:

    A friend of mine was involved in an Anglican monastery developing an internet presence and connectivity, and as part of the demo used the dummy, test url of xxx (as in ‘fill in the blanks’) .com. They were very startled by the results.

  43. Sissy says:

    come, come wmeyer, we must take our victories where we can find them in these dark days……

  44. MAJ Tony says:

    @mhazell, I only knew Taffy to be a short form of Taffney, which, whatever it’s origin, has become a girl’s name in the States. Of course, it has the obvious confectionery-based connotation (salt-water, laffy, what-have-you) here as well.

  45. AnAmericanMother says:

    MAJ Tony,
    As a girl’s name, it may come from Kipling’s little girl Taffy (Taffimai Metallumai, meaning “small person without any manners who ought to be spanked”) in the Just So Stories.
    But generally Taffy is a form of David — Davydd in Welsh. Alternatively from the River Taff.
    “Taffy was a Welshman,
    Taffy was a thief.
    Taffy came to my house,
    And stole a side of beef.”
    – and before any leek-eaters among us get exercised, my maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Griffin. ;-)

  46. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “Fifty Shades of Green” is an old phrase to describe Ireland. Got no idea why the fanfic-gone-big adapted the phrase, and don’t intend to read the book in order to find out.

    So it’s possible that the Anglican gentleman was misheard by the newspaper while describing vestments for Ordinary Time.

  47. AnAmericanMother says:

    Beat me to it.
    I have to say, though, that this vestment still beats ’em all hollow.
    Reverse side. It’s a two-fer!

  48. wmeyer says:

    Possibly an all time low, AAM.

  49. Sissy says:

    AAM and wmeyer: do you two have something against cute bunnies????

  50. wmeyer says:

    On vestments? Yes!

  51. Sissy says:

    Oh pffffft. You’re such a stickler. I thought it was very handy the way he would display Christian symbols on one side and pagan symbols on the other. Something for everyone!

  52. AnAmericanMother says:

    Not the bunnies so much as the seagull (Jonathan Livingston?) and what appears to be an unconscious Carmelite floating in the pond.
    I still think the appropriate destination for this one is the grill-lighting contest that the Purdue engineers used to hold from time to time. 3 gallons of liquid oxygen ought to just about do it.
    Fire in the hole buddy.

  53. Sissy says:

    “Not the bunnies so much as the seagull (Jonathan Livingston?) and what appears to be an unconscious Carmelite floating in the pond.”

    Well, you can’t say it isn’t ecumenical!! ; )

  54. wmeyer says:

    Bunnies, seagulls, general irreverence. Yes, I am a stickler. ;)

  55. AnAmericanMother says:

    LOL! Even if the Episcopalians can’t do anything else, they can serve as a Bad Example.

  56. ARKloster says:

    The only “Young People” I see there are squirming to get out of their parents’ clutches. Most of these are grey-haired post-menopausal hippies.

  57. sirlouis says:

    Does anybody remember Federico Fellini’s “Roma” and the fashion show in it? It took the Anglicans to change it from satire to reportage.

    And from my many years I remember an Anglican vicar who parachuted off the steeple of his church in order to show young people that the church was modernizing. When I try to write fiction, why can’t I make this stuff up?

  58. Tradster says:

    Suburbanbanshee: It’s 40 shades of green.

  59. Looks like something straight from Monty Python.

  60. Peggy R says:

    Woman on the left is Peter Scolari from “Bosom Buddies.”

  61. Absit invidia says:

    Robes obviously inspired by our own Roman Catholic modern liturgists. Gaudy . . . pure gaudy.

  62. JacobWall says:

    @ARKloster, that’s exactly what I was thinking. It looks like the “young people” they’re attracting are around the 60-70 mark. Either: a) they are “young in spirit” (I’m sure they would feel good about this option) or b) their regular age group people must be around 90. In either case, I congratulate them on their “rejuvenation” and bringing their average age (or maturity – depending on if you choose a) or b) ) down by a full 20 years.

  63. Legisperitus says:

    mhazell, Thanks. I only knew of Taffy as a frivolous American girl’s name.

  64. AnAmericanMother says:

    Actually, it’s choice (b).
    When we were looking for a ‘new church home’ (and before we visited our current Catholic parish) we went to a “high church” Episcopal parish. The average age of the congregation was, seriously, around 70 or so — and only one family our age with young children.
    In the back pew, on the right hand side, was an entire row of 4-5 oxygen tanks on wheels.

  65. Sissy says:

    JacobWall, I can back up what AAM said. The average age in most Episcopal churches is north of 70. A great many of them say things like “I was baptized in this church, I was married in this church, and I’m going to be buried from this church”. More than one octogenarian has told me that she can’t leave, because “who would bury me?”. It’s very sad.

  66. JacobWall says:

    @AnAmericanMother, @ Sissy,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences! I kind of meant that as a joke, but I was wondering if it might just be true.

    Sissy, they say “I was baptized in this church, I was married in this church, and I’m going to be buried from this church” – they could probably add, “this church is going to be buried with me.”

    I don’t think they’re hip new clerical garb will attract any young people (other than those 70-year-old young people), or rejuvenate the church.

  67. Amy Giglio says:

    Liturgical Fashion Show? More like “What Not to Wear.”

  68. Sissy says:

    JacobWall, I think you are right. It’s rather sad to see them desperately trying to be “cool” and “relevant”. If they would return to preaching the Gospel, they would have better luck. But that ship as long since sailed, I fear.

  69. BLB Oregon says:

    Oy vey. Please don’t let them put those in the CM Almy catalog; we’ll see them in our churches, too. (Because hey, if they weren’t liturgically OK, they wouldn’t be in the catalog, right?)

  70. BLB Oregon says:

    I also never thought “buxom clergy” was a word combination I’d ever see depicted in a photograph, let alone that I’d ever see a garment that combined a Roman collar with a baby doll sleeve. Clergy can be notoriously underpaid, but springing for a bit more fabric seems prudent.

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