Use of the cassock.
In England… and in Wales?… it was illegal to wear the cassock in public. Perhaps it still is. I believe there is a tale told that Queen Elizabeth paid the fine for John Paul II. Se non è vero….
In these USA, the Council of Baltimore, held in a time of real persecution of Catholics, it was determined that in public priests would wear the more secular frock coat, rather than the cassock. That policy, which shaped the old priests who shaped me, lingers in my practice. I don’t often go out in public in the cassock, but my resistance is … futile.
However, the erosion of our Catholic identity, and the erosion of priestly identity – directly related to each other – have led inexorably to a lack of comprehension of what a priest is, how to recognize one, etc. And priests haven’t made that easy.
Now I read a story about a group of seminarians in clerical dress were denied entry to a pub in Cardiff, because the innkeeper thought they were in “fancy” dress or they were there for a “stag do”.
From The Telegraph:
Father Michael Doyle said the seven went to the pub in Quay Street to celebrate the ordination of Father Peter McLaren at Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral of St David near Queen Street. He said it was a double celebration because Fr McLaren was the second to be ordained to the priesthood in a week.
He added that the City Arms was a favourite of his colleagues including the Archbishop of Cardiff, George Stack.
Fr Doyle said: “They arrived at the City Arms and they were dressed wearing the clerical collar. “The doorman basically said something along the lines of, ‘sorry gents, we have a policy of no fancy dress and no stag dos’.”
The doorman was good-natured but firm, and the students had started to leave when they were approached by the bar manager. “He basically said, ‘you’re real, aren’t you?’,” said Fr Doyle.
“He invited them back in and when they walked back in the entire pub burst into a round of applause, and they had a free round off the City Arms.”
The Directory for Priests identity – in the first place – the cassock as the proper dress of the priest and, oh yes… after that other sorts of garb.
I don’t trust priests who speak badly of the cassock.