When Tinkeritis STRIKES!

The Knights of Columbus have replaced their Fourth Degree uniforms.  I’ll admit that it might have been time to change a few things.  However, what they did was, frankly, hard to explain.  Their new look is that of an prep school boy… blazer… little hat.  It is if they were determined to kill off the last honor guards.

What is it with tinkeritis?  Remember what the Archdiocese of Detroit did to their timeless coat-of-arms?  Well, they don’t have a coat-of-arms any longer.  Now they have a cheap looking logo, guaranteed to look obsolete in a few years as styles change.

Now I read at Eye of the Tiber that the Swiss Guards will get a make over.

swissguards_hipstersIt was announced today that the Swiss Guard’s uniform will be changed to a more modern hipster look.

Pontifical Swiss Guard Commandant Daniel Anrig told Guards gathered at the annual When Do We Get To See Some Action Jamboree that the traditional “uniform” worn by the Knights will be replaced so as to be more appealing to millennials.

Instead of the well-known European Renaissance-style uniform, the average member of the Swiss Guard will be wearing a pair of skinny jeans, a beanie, and a leather jacket “no matter how hot the temperature gets in Rome,” Anrig said. Anrig did not specify whether swords would be replaced with scarfs or whether they would be replaced with pens in case “the muse strikes and gives them the inspiration to write the next Infinite Jest.”

“I have decided that the time is right for a modernization of the Swiss Guard Uniform,” Anrig said. “From now on, along with skinny jeans, beanies, and leather jackets, the preferred dress for the Guard will include v-necks or flannel shirts, vintage sneakers, bow ties, and black squared frames for glasses whether Guards wear prescription glasses or not.”

Swiss Guard David Adank told EOTT via a shrug of the shoulders this morning that, though a little bit nervous and hesitant about the change, he welcomes it with open, sarcastic arms.

Whatever,” Adank went on to say before departing to an undisclosed coffee shop.

Another member of the Swiss Guard, Toby Caspari, told EOTT that he was worried that he would be expelled from the Guard since he struggles growing a proper mustache.

“I guess it’s the mandatory mustache that I’m most afraid of,” Caspari said. “I’ve never really been able to grow one, and all everyone’s talking about is what type of “stache wax” to use. Whatever, maybe I’ll use a fake. I trust the commandant’s judgment. I think skinny jeans really helps to show a striking, imitative image of Christ because he was kind of a hipster in his own way. He too didn’t care what people thought. But at the same time, he wanted people to notice him, but at the same time not notice him, if you know what I’m saying. You know what I’m saying?

I think we are coming to a consensus.

Perhaps some adjustments were needed for the Fourth Degree uni.  What they came up with…


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I love the Knights. I am a Fourth Degree Knight. We have one of the most active and dedicated councils in our state and they are attracting younger guys as well. To be honest I really don’t see utilizing a KofC honor guard for our Corpus Christi Procession or any other special celebration as we move forward. Perhaps more servers and torches will add that extra sense of solemnity on those occasions. Those who think externals need to be updated to attract the young also decry those who are attracted by externals. Another thing I would like to share. The young son of one of our 30 something honor guard members expressed how inspired he was by his dad when he saw him in cape with sword by his side during our Corpus Christi procession earlier this year. He was convinced that if some bad guy had tried to steal Jesus his dad would have defended Him. Out of the mouths of babes.

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    “Those who think externals need to be updated to attract the young also decry those who are attracted by externals.” Did you think of that? Great observation, true as could be.
    I also think you are completely accurate in your observation about the little boy. What boy would not be impressed by the uniform of, yesterday. Boys need something to look forward to, as men, and one more thing has been yanked away. Nobody would get excited about these boring duds, but you know what, my conclusion is that is actually the goal.
    And that millennial “uniform” is just as described, and I find it so pretentious and let’s face it, metrosexual. What bugs me about it is not just it’s fussiness, which is effeminate, it’s that you see in the media they dress little boys like junior metrosexuals. Ugh.

  3. wisbadger22 says:

    I’m a third-generation Fourth Degree Sir Knight and member of my Assembly’s honor guard. The traditional KofC regalia reflects the majesty of the Church. To dumb it down to a cheap prep school outfit is nothing less than an affront to generations of Knights. It reminds me of the wreckovations of Church buildings after Vatican II. What’s next? A zucchetto with a propeller? A pectoral cross made of Twizzlers? Priests on roller skates? (oh, wait….) Dear Lord, save us from modernist thinking. Give me my parish priest in a cassock and biretta, and my local Fourth Degree Knight in a tux, cape, chapeau and glorious sword. Tempus fugit. Memento mori.

  4. Macgawd says:

    As a professional graphic designer, I can assure you that the Archdiocese of Detroit’s new logo was outdated 20 years ago.

  5. Charles E Flynn says:

    If the Eye of the Tiber photos were of real uniforms, UNTUCKit could be an official supplier to the Swiss Guards.

  6. NomenDeiAdmirabileEst says:

    I have mixed feelings about the new uniform. On one hand, I think it’s more practical for a wider range of functions. But for honor guards, I think it lacks the dignity of the old uniform. Not to mention it gives me the creeps. The first thing I thought was “militaristic cult where you relocate to a militia camp in the woods.” How about throw on some camo pants and change the sword to a machete while we’re at it?

    According to the Supreme Knight, the new uniform is part of a “necessary effort to keep our Order relevant and attractive to men, particularly younger men.” That’s the part that bugs me the most. To my knowledge I’m the only millennial in my council. I am also a fourth degree knight. I can’t speak for everyone, but the uniform is not what’s keeping my generation from becoming knights.

    Finally, the Supreme Knight says that some men are discouraged from entering the fourth degree because of the old uniform. Any man who declines the fourth degree because of the uniform doesn’t understand what the fourth degree is. The problem is education and communication within the Knights, not the uniform. I’ve been a fourth degree knight for a little over a year, and not once have I participated in an honor guard or even worn the uniform for any other occasion. It is a good exercise in not being attached to externals for their own sake, but I am saddened when I think about how I’ll never wear the uniform I grew up gazing in wonderment at in an honor guard for my Lord.

  7. Emsley says:

    I’m 28 and a third degree Knight. My decision not to take the fourth degree had nothing to do with the uniform, but I did always think that the puffy hat was pretty silly. It would be a different matter if it were part of some longstanding tradition, but they made it up pretty recently. I agree that the new uniform is completely unappealing.

    To be honest, though, I think the biggest problem that Knights’ councils have is that they are largely an organization for retired men, and so their meetings and activities reflect that. Like most millenials, my wife and I live in different state from our parents, who live in a different state from their parents, so we don’t have a lot of time for 2-hour-long evening meetings or gatherings with people who don’t have kids. Now I know there are some councils where this isn’t the case, where there are lots of younger men involved and family activities offered, but that’s not the norm.

    I really respect some of the work the Knights have done (e.g., their high-quality, orthodox magazine or their ultrasound initiative), but lack of participation by the young is the result of certain cultural and sociological forces which make participation very difficult. I’m not a fourth degree mostly because I don’t want one more meeting a month that I have to skip.

  8. Emsley says:

    P.S. They do still have swords in the new uniform.

  9. Michael says:

    Fr. Z – I am in my early 30s and a 3rd Degree Knight. I think the new 4th Degree uniform is ludicrous. It would make sense to transition the tux to the new uniform and make it more widely applicable to KoC events. But then you should add the cape, chapeau, and sword on to it for special occasions. For Mass, Corpus Christi processions, etc., the entire point is to add solemnity and extravagance. We are making a point that this is special, this is important.

    Emsley – Perhaps I don’t know the history as well as I thought I did, but I thought the 4th Degree uniform hadn’t been changed since the 1940s.

  10. Legisperitus says:

    The Salvation Army has better uniforms than that new fourth degree one.

  11. What about clothing the Fourth Degree Knights in the uniform of the Polish Winged Hussars? That’s a tinkerization I could get behind.

  12. tgarcia2 says:

    You’re right. The 40’s was the last major change. The 4th degree uniform was more of a naval officer design if I remember the picture I saw at supreme a few years ago

  13. marty5519 says:

    It’s almost as if this is the Knights “coming out” outfit. I agree that it looks unmanly and effeminate. I always felt that to see a group of men in their tuxedos, as you find at major functions, always made them very special. Not every 4th degree knight is an honor guard member but we all have our black tuxes. With this change a lot of Sir Knights will have lost not only the money they invested in their formal clothes but invest more to buy the new duds. This will be a great loss both in money and in pride. I predict that the 4th degree won’t be as special as it once was and their members will dwindle.

  14. Andreas says:

    Perhaps the Knights might take a page from the US Navy in this regard. Some years ago the Navy transitioned from using the traditional green ‘woodland’ camouflage working (Type III) uniform to one that, ostensibly, was supposed to be more ‘nautical’; that is, blue and gray (Type I…known as the ‘Blueberries’). The joke in the Fleet was that the gray would nicely blend in with the color of the ship (thus making it appear deserted to the uninformed enemy submariner watching via periscope) and, should the unfortunate be blown overboard during a cat shot, the blue would have been perfect for hiding him at-sea. There were actually serious safety and comfort issues associated with the uniform and, after hearing back from a host of enlisted and officers alike, the Type I’s were replaced by the traditional green Type IIIs. Some of us Khaki wearers never used a set of Blueberries and wisely held on to the greens. Perhaps if those Knights destined to purchase and wear the new uniforms express their thoughts about it up to the highest levels of their command chain, in the end the response might prove likewise positive.

  15. CrimsonCatholic says:

    I’m 29 and think most of the knights uniforms look silly. They should go back to the original uniforms, before the 1960’s update.

  16. Kypapist Retired says:

    So are they going to wear their pants below their rears like the young “hipsters” do?

  17. dbrigtex17 says:

    Did Supreme Knight Anderson and his advisers just want to throw tradition to the winds? It is nice to see the crossed swords with the priests and servers passing beneath. Even if they keep the swords can you imagine what it will look like if they try to tip the beret as they do with the current hats.

    Interesting that they did not consult the many local councils prior to making this decision. Probably afraid of the push back.

    If something is not broken, why try to fix it?

  18. oledocfarmer says:

    Several years ago the Army decided to change uniforms so that all enlistees would wear berets….such that the honor of being a Green Beret was undercut. It was seemingly a result of the “everybody gets a trophy” culture…everyone needs to be treated as “special.”

    Here, the Knights of Columbus are doing something a little different….more-or-less arrogating to themselves the dress of the ancient papal Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

  19. Vincent says:

    I’m not American so you’ll have to forgive me; I don’t get it. Which is to say, I don’t understand why they have these uniforms. It seems like a funny inversion of the medieval European concept of confraternities – who dress in habits. [It isn’t a “funny inversion”.
    This is much in the vein of the European confraternities. Indeed the KCs insurance dimension now is an outgrowth of the old confraternities and “Verein”s which also took care of families in case of injury or death. ]

    As for the new uniform, well. It looks like a veteran society uniform in the UK. Personally I find it a bit insulting to see people calling it “effeminate”. A thoughtless jibe. Military personnel across the globe dress in berets as field dress, and they’re perfectly manly and brave, thank you.

  20. dahveed says:

    I’m a 54 year-old third degree Knight, second generation. I’d looked forward to eventually joining the ranks of those who are fourth degree Knights. I had out it off due to commitments relating to my family. Whether the clothing worn by the fourth degree Knights did or didn’t need updating is immaterial. What was done to them stripped them of the dignity once held by them. I’m not meaning to sound overly harsh, but I am seeing a parallel to, let us say, liturgical changes of recent decades. Something more that was set apart is now made purposefully humdrum and drab, as opposed to being set apart and unique.

  21. jaykay says:

    OMG, those guys pictured in the EOTT article… no man-bags! I mean, like, dudes, come on…baaad vibe, like totally. Hey, whatever!

  22. I want to add that I hope the Knights live up to their name and fight this idiotic change. I am really sick and tired of our Elders and Betters shoving this kind of thing down our throats, while we sit there and take it in the name of “obedience.”

  23. Absit invidia says:

    I was a Deputy Grand Knight and I think the KofC honor guard should be reserved solely for funerals of brother Knights. Other than that one particular instance, the Knights should stay out of the liturgy. They have no place there.

    The KofC is an all male secret society of Catholic men started by Fr McGivney that was created in response to another secret society of men called the freemasons. The dangerous feeemason society was siphoning off Catholics allured by the mystery of an exclusive all men club, although the freemasons had more sinister anti-Catholic roots and agendas. Seeing the danger to the souls of Catholic men joining the ranks of Freemasons, Fr McGivney began the Knights to provide a Catholic alternative to this dangerous secular society. The Knights served their purpose at one point in time and although they can still be used as a tool by parishes to get jobs done for them, they have since been seeking some relevance to their secretive society.

    When the Knights line up along a mass procession for any of our featured parish masses on Sundays and other significant parish masses, adorned with capes, feather hats, and drawn swords, this all male secret society organization only appears to be “crashing the party” in a way that makes them appear desperate for attention.

    It is more fitting for the honor guard to honor their brother Knights during the procession of a funeral mass.

  24. Joy65 says:

    NOT a good change at all. When you saw the Knights outfitted in their proper uniform you knew it was a matter of importance, a special occasion, a special honor with significance. These new things seem just “scoutish”.

    The Swiss Guards are SOLDIERS protecting the Holy Father among other things and they deserve to be dress in a uniform that honors their position and importance. They worked hard and they deserve to be specially recognized.

  25. Elizabeth D says:

    If you’ve never suffered a worse hurt, humiliation or indignity in the Church than getting your ceremonial uniform changed to something plain and simple, and you are ready to quit a good Catholic organization in outrage, then your experience as a Catholic has been so different than mine, and you may not have adequate gratitude for the mercy that has been shown to you. [Carefullll….]

  26. Sconnius says:

    The original 4th degree outfit was white tie, tails, and top hat. That was changed to the well-known regalia in 1940 which was the black tuxedo and black bow tie, and a standard color chapeau, baldric, and cape, with the white gloves and sword. In 1981 they introduced the different colors of plume on the chapeau and on the cape for the different ranks in the 4th degree, and the baldric’s changed to reflect the nation of the honor guard member. So I’m not sure what ’60s changes Crimson was thinking of.

    As a 27 year old 4th degree knight, I can honestly say that the honor guard is not what kept me from joining the Knights or the 4th degree. I lucked out and had a 4th degree ceremony end up being scheduled only 20 minutes away from where I was living (in fact, there hadn’t been a ceremony in the county I live in for 25 years prior to that day).

    I held off on joining the 4th degree because, as others have said, I don’t have the time for the additional meeting every month, the ceremonies to take the degree were often far away and only scheduled a couple of times a year, it’s the longest degree ceremony of the four, and I didn’t join until after I was told that just because I would become a fourth degree that I would automatically be on the honor guard. I didn’t want to commit if I was expected to be fully involved in that aspect, when I knew that with (now) three kids at home I wouldn’t be able to.

  27. un-ionized says:

    They forgot the man bun.

  28. Elizabeth D says:

    Our Lord suffered much hurt, humiliation and indignity, and being stripped of His clothing, and does anyone become a saint without suffering (and accepting) hurt, humiliation and indignity? God has a higher dignity He wants to give. I believe this absolutely. I believe it for all of us.

  29. Matthew says:

    I was a Knight, but I moved away from my Council. Reading about the change to the regalia earlier in the week made me contact a local council to re-join. I sent an email on Thursday afternoon and half an hour later the Grand Knight called and said there was a meeting Thursday night and I was welcome to rejoin then. I went to the meeting, was warmly received and now I’m a Knight of Columbus again.
    After the meeting we made some small talk and no one likes the change, but it came from the Supreme Council so they’ve gone along as they must.

  30. PTK_70 says:

    In all seriousness, my sense is that “hip traditional” is a thing nowadays. I just made up that term but it seems to fit. Not your father’s traditionalism…..

  31. Son Of Sobieski says:

    I fully agree with Anita Moore, O.P.(lay)!
    The full armour of the Polish Hussaria, breast and back plates, helmet, and Wings!

    From an article from Crisis, in 2015, by Rachel Lu,
    “My husband suggests that men’s liturgical sensibilities may reflect differences in how they tend to perceive God. It’s natural to men to regard the Almighty as a supremely great captain or general. He is the ultimate one in charge. Worship, for men, is somewhat akin to a military salute: it should be austere and magnificent because the goal is to honor our Creator.”

    To me this explains the ‘Why’ men want all of the Pomp and Circumstance, all of the Ceremony, it is to Honor Our King, THE King of Kings and Lord of Lords! It’s Not about us! It’s about Him, and the Honor due Him!

    Full article,

  32. TonyO says:

    After the meeting we made some small talk and no one likes the change, but it came from the Supreme Council so they’ve gone along as they must.

    Matthew, remember that the new univorm is instituted with an “out” of sorts:

    “The Board of Directors has decided that the time is right for a modernization of the Fourth Degree Uniform,” Anderson said. “On a limited basis, Assemblies may choose to continue using the traditional cape and chapeau for Color Corps at public events and Honor Guards in Liturgical Processions.”

    The point, then, is for the Assemblies to simply “choose to continue to use the traditional cape and chapeau…” on a limited basis: namely, limited to ALL of the situations previously permitted, and no more. There, that’s limited.

    Also, you should get the local chapters to issue an “implementing interpretation” that states that if a member, due to cost, cannot readily afford the new costume, the old uniform may be retained until he can afford the new one. Then urge a local rule that the until all of the members present at an event have the new uniform, the old one should be used, “for the sake of unity”, and so as not to shame the ones who are too poor. This is to be urged as an obligation of charity.

    Someone needs to also ask the Motherhouse if they can retain and use “for reasons of honor” the uniforms handed down from fathers and grandfathers, at least for “special occasions.” Then, get the local chapter to define “special occasions” as broadly as may be.

    And when in doubt, ask for clarifications. Until the doubt is resolved, continue using the old uniform, so that there is no unsettling “back and forth” if the doubt is resolved in some unanticipated way. Please note: doubts can be multiplied ad infinitum. When those in authority are doing something foolish and unjust, even legitimate doubts can be quite extensive.

    Vatican II showed us how all this works.

  33. Mike in VA says:

    I’ve been a knight for over 10 years and the only negative comments that I have heard about the uniform is the cost. With 300k+ 4th degrees, at an estimated cost of $500 for the new uniform, we have just been handed a $150m bill!

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