SUCCESS! ACTION ITEM! Correct a GREAT INJUSTICE! (Hint: Birettas… seminarians…)


We have hit our initial goal!

biretta thermometer 20

I distributed a few of the birettas to the guys yesterday and they were pretty chuffed.

I should have some thank you notes pretty soon.

“But Father! But Father!”, you liberals are squeaking, “What… what next?  You hate Vatican II soooo much!”

There are still quite a few seminarians who were not on the list, but the bishop himself is going to step in an get some of the remaining covers.  That’s what.

But I do have another super Catholic project which I am going to roll out soon.


UPDATE 12 Aug:

Just after I posted that we were up to 15, I had an email from John at Leaflet Missal saying that Fr. Richard Heilman (I’ve written about him HERE – he’s the State Chaplain for the KofC, he is on Relevant Radio, he moved his parish to ad orientem worship, he implemented Summorum Pontificum, he put in altar rails, he has the spiffy Spiritual Combat Rosaries – a new gun-metal version is available, he built a brand new confessional in his church and has another by his office door in the rectory) bought two!


We stop at 20 until I get the rest of the hat sizes.  Stay tuned!


The first box with the first batch of birettas arrived a few days ago!  These are earmarked for specific men.

It’s happening!

Today I had a chat with a priest who is going to buy a couple.

¡Hagan lío!



This post – this project – this urgent ACTION ITEM – comes to you from out a deep well of sorrow.

There are seminarians who don’t have birettas.

There are – worse yet – seminarians of the Diocese of Madison who don’t have birettas!

Seminarians came to a Pontifical Mass at the Throne and they participated… I can hardly bring myself to say it… nude.

They were uncovered.

These seminarians, dear friends, need our help.

Decades of abuse of priestly identity has resulted in the loss of this distinguished and important item of clerical dress, the noble biretta.

Therefore, I have a project.

Last year, many of you bought great liturgical books for the men here, which I distributed during their annual meeting with Bp. Morlino.  This same event is coming up.

We must get this project underway NOW.

With the help of the Vocations Office (imagine saying that 20 years ago!), I have started collecting the hat sizes of seminarians!

I propose that my friend John at Leaflet Missal in St. Paul order lots of birettas.  You can contact Leaflet directly and…

buy a biretta for a seminarian!

  • I am collecting hat sizes which I am giving to John at Leaflet.  He is obtaining more birettas now.
  • You will call him directly and tell him how many birettas you want to buy (I think they will be about $100).
  • The biretta will be sent to me and I will distribute them to the appropriate seminarian.

“But Father! But Father!”, some are saying with anxiety, “I want to participate, but I don’t have $100 to spend!”

I talked this through with John.  You can buy a gift certificate for your amount which can be applied to the cost of a biretta.  John will keep track.

I am opting for all the birettas to be the same: collapsible, silk, with a pom.

Are you ready?  This is doable.

For the sake of ecclesial decorum and priestly identity, please help.

Contact John Hastreiter at Leaflet Missal: 651-209-1951 Ext-331

John says that if he is away, leave a voicemail with your phonenumber and he will call you back ASAP.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "But Father! But Father!", ACTION ITEM!, Decorum, Seminarians and Seminaries and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. The Masked Chicken says:

    “collapsible, silk, with a pom…”

    and black, right?

    The Chicken

  2. I had thought about blaze orange, but in the end opted for black.

  3. Michael says:

    Given the current path of this Administration and the world, we should also consider Liturgical Berettas.

  4. The Masked Chicken says:

    Well, there is nothing in the rubrics that says that a biretta can’t be over-painted with clear glow-in-the-dark paint. Now, couldn’t you see such a midnight procession of priests striking fear into the hearts of sinners with that.

    Or, better yet, how about lining the birettas with ear pieces and really small antennas like in communication helmets (I was trying to work in an Ant-man reference, but I have had a failure of imagination).

    Birettas are combat helmets for the clergy, yes?

    I’m just saying…material science has progressed since the Middle Ages. The Church has got to get with the times, man :)

  5. frjim4321 says:

    If Cabella’s were to make them in camo I might consider wearing one.

  6. Mike says:

    If Cabella’s were to make them in camo I might consider wearing one.

    If you would say Mass in the Extraordinary Form in a deer stand I would buy you one.

  7. Sieber says:

    Visiting monsignor adminstering confirmation:
    Confirmation Director asks me, “What is that funny hat he’s wearing?”

  8. frjim4321 says:

    I couldn’t elevate when I was in a deer stand. It might scare the deer away.

  9. Chuck3030 says:

    “I had thought about blaze orange, but in the end opted for black.”- Fr. Z
    I wonder, what would a priest do if he were to say an outdoor Mass during hunting season (which, for the sake of the argument, is miraculously warm enough to actually be plausible): would he need/want/be allowed to wear blaze orange? This, I believe, falls exclusively during Advent, should that cause any concern…

  10. frjim4321 says:

    It would be a camo chasuble but with blaze orange trim.

  11. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    OK, I’m in. But I bought a biretta in Rome in June for 50 euros ($55). Yes, silk with a pom, from Gammarelli’s. Maybe it was deeply discounted because I asked for the smallest they had and it came from the very back of the drawer; maybe it had been there for 30 years and they were glad to get rid of it. [Yes, I think that is the likely scenario. Biretta’s at G’s don’t cost 50 Euro.] I bought it for a three-year-old boy who has been practicing saying Mass (EF, of course) wearing the biretta he fashioned from a Tupperware container. He has promised to pray for me for the rest of his life and I am hoping that in about 23 years I will have the joy of attending his ordination. Or his marriage, in which case his wife and all his children can pray for me.

  12. majuscule says:

    Grateful to be Catholic–you just made my day and brought tears to my eyes.

    The “real thing” means so much to a lad that age…especially if it replaces a makeshift out of Tupperware. May God bless you both!

  13. ASPM Sem says:

    Howdy Father. Biretta-less seminarian from St. Paul/Minneapolis here; if there are still donations after Madison is taken care of, could I dare ask for one too? I could pick it up directly from John.

    BTW, for all reading, Fr. Z talks of John highly and I agree. Always loves to talk to us sems when we come in; he informed me that my parish had the third largest freestanding altar in the diocese. He knows all the fun facts and diocesan gossip/news. Shared prudently, of course.

  14. The Cobbler says:

    Does a “GREAT INJUSTICE” call for remedy by “GREAT JUSTICE”? Did someone set up us the bomb?

  15. Fr_Sotelo says:

    When Fr. Jim speaks of possibly wearing a biretta, you know the aapocalypse draws nigh! Haha.

  16. frjim4321 says:

    If donald is in the oval office 1/17 the apocalypse may be nigher than we think!

  17. Gregg the Obscure says:

    50 Euro from Gamarelli? I think that had to be a one-off. I spent more like 80 Euro when I bought from them in 2013 (for a fellow who was a seminarian in Denver but is now a priest in DioMad), but I don’t remember how much of that was for shipping as I did the purchase via email. I got a better price with a US vendor when buying for a fine young Denver priest earlier this year.

  18. dwengerpriest says:

    Is there a document spelling out the proper protocol for the use of the biretta, specifically, the academic biretta. What I am thinking of is a priest of our diocese just relieved his JCL. Can a licentiate in canon law wear a piped biretta? If so, what color? Green for law or red for theology?

  19. A biretta piped with academic colors is not to be used liturgically. It is academic wear.

  20. MouseTemplar says:

    I called yesterday and left a message. I’m hoping the fact he hasn’t called back means he’s swamped with phone calls offering to fund birettas?

  21. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Father, seeing the photo of the new birettas I am reminded to pass on the instruction from Gammarelli’s: take off only the top ring on the pom!

  22. “only the top ring”

    YES. Very important to cut only the top thread… unless you want the whole thing simply to fall apart.

  23. Peter in Canberra says:

    I’m committed to tradition, don’t get me wrong. but the distinction between accidents and substance does spring to mind when I read this article and it’s comment thread. [What’s that supposed to mean?]

  24. Animadversor says:

    Ought not the use of silken birettas to be limited to certain prelates? Can a knowledgeable person comment on the authorty of the resources here and here?

  25. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I’m committed to tradition, don’t get me wrong. but the distinction between accidents and substance does spring to mind when I read this article and it’s comment thread. [What’s that supposed to mean?]”

    I think he means that it is more important to be a good priest in the substance of soul than the accident of dress.

    Just a guess.

    Of course, this is not an either/or situation.

    The Chicken

  26. StWinefride says:

    Peter in Canberra says: “I’m committed to tradition, don’t get me wrong. but the distinction between accidents and substance does spring to mind when I read this article and it’s comment thread.

    Far from being an “accident”, the biretta points to the “substance”: Catholic Identity.

  27. Thomas Stewart says:

    Is there an ongoing subscription option, similar to helping to support your site? As this has become an continuing project rather than a fund raiser for a set number of hats, I can pitch in a small amount per month to put toward this worthy goal. In five years one of them may end up on the head of my oldest nephew and godson, who has begun a discernment process as a rising high school senior.

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