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Sunday, March 11, 2007
Wear Your Habit Proudly

Father V writes something that I wholeheartedly agree with:

Think of a pan of a crowd in a news segment that catches a priest or sister in religious garb. For that instant, thoughts of Church, God, and Catholicism pop into mind.

When I was a baby priest, occasionally I would be walking down the street and catch a glimpse of myself with my collar on in a store window. It would jolt me into remembering that I was living a very public Catholic life involving powerful symbols and that my actions meant something to other people. It is not about me, a humbling lesson to learn, but about that collar and what it is supposed to represent.

As I previously stated in my post Nuns Should Wear the Habit, which is one of the most popular pages on my blog, all religious should wear a religious habit - not laypeople's clothing. As a priest, I want to wear a cassock and Roman Collar at all times. It's so vitally important for public witnesses of the Truth to be in our world.

I am recommending a recent article on Adoro te Devote on this subject.


del_button March 12, 2007 at 9:07 AM
Anonymous said...

Did any of the apostles depend on unique clothing to communicate their religious beliefs?

del_button March 12, 2007 at 1:36 PM
pfitz said...

You're right! There is something very powerful about the visual element in how one dresses. Sure, habits are not required to point people to God, but religious garb really DOES make people's minds turn to God, religion, and Catholicism, even if only for a second.

The reverse is also true. The way some people dress in the summertime can make other people's thoughts turn to Sex and Immorality, if only for a second.

del_button March 12, 2007 at 2:18 PM
Moneybags said...

Anonymous, I don't know. But I know that it works in our world.

del_button March 12, 2007 at 5:07 PM
space said...

How indicative of 21st pop culture: Outward appearance is necessary to focus the inner mind.

To answer Anon's question, no. In fact, the disciples Christ sent out to preach would have looked rather ordinary, more resembling a poor person then a common citizen (Mat 10:9-10). It was the scribes and Sadsucees who would have dressed to play the part; they drew people in by their outwards acts and clothing but were " unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." (Mat 23:27,28).

This is the danger of relying on clothing to communicate religious beliefs: showing other people what you believe rather then acting as such. "But all their works they do for to be seen of men..." (Mat 23:5)

"Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." (1 Peter 3:4)

The mind cannot be properly focused on God if the individual feels clothing is necessary to bring himself spiritually closer to God. Hundreds of generations have passed before us and they were able to ready their minds and approach God without so much as shoes on their feet...

del_button March 12, 2007 at 9:33 PM
Anonymous said...

Hm. Thanks for your thoughts.

del_button March 15, 2007 at 4:34 PM
Jennifer F. said...

When I was an atheist, it would always touch me to see a priest or a nun. It really made me think: this is a person who has dedicated his or her whole life to God. There's just nothing else like it in our society. It intrigued me. I wrote about it in more detail here.

I understand what Space is getting at, but for personal reasons I really appreciate priests and religious who wear their religious habits. I'm sure there are many very holy lay people walking around and you'd never know since they don't wear any sort of special clothes. But it's such a nice treat to unexpectedly glance up and see someone in religious garb. It jolts you into remembering that, against the tremendous pressure of our decadent society, there are still people out there willing to dedicate their whole lives to God.

del_button July 18, 2008 at 8:10 AM
MacHanson said...

I would like to pick up on the point of what the apostles wore in relation to their belief. The Apostles were followers of the Torah (Hebrew books of the Law) and one item in particular that was worn was the Tzitzit, i.e. a cord of blue attached at each corner of their garment to remind them of the ten commandments (Numbers 15:38 and Deuteronomy 22:12). This is continued today in the form of a Priest's Stole and a Rabbi's Tallit Gadol (large prayer shawl).

The idea of wearing a habit originates from the simplest garments worn in apostolic times because Jeshua and the Apostles taught humility.

As a priest, I have to agree that there is a need for a discrete through recognisable outward symbol of our faith! It does inspire others and can also be reassuring. However I cannot justify spending thousands of pounds on unbiblical ornate vestments that could be better spent on the poor and the needy.

del_button August 3, 2008 at 4:37 PM
Anonymous said...

Hi ! God Bless you on your path! I am a Hermit living in Central Georgia and I do wear
my Habit. I am the only religious within a 100 miles radius that wears one. The religious
are there,but in plain clothes. I guess they are working undercover. I have been wearing
mine for 2o years + and will die in it, God Willing. The Sisters complain they have no
vocations, and I tell them no one knows who or what they are, put your Habit back on.
They just roll their eyes and walk on by. Actually the Holy See did not tell religious to not
wear a habit at the Second Vatican Council , the thing they asked was to make the Habit
functional and compatible with the elements where you are. For example, I live in a very
hot and humid climate, I would not want to wear wool. How they got the idea to come out
of their Habits I will never know. All the Habitless want to be Priests too. It will never
happened. God Bless you all and pray for me , I am Brother Vincent de Paul, hermit in
Central Georgia wearing my Habit!

del_button August 5, 2008 at 1:51 PM
Seminarian Matthew said...

Br. Vincent de Paul:

Thank you for your courage and example. Pax tecum. Laudetur Jesus Christus.

del_button August 26, 2010 at 10:56 PM
wool tallit said...

The tzittzit have 5 knots that are symbolic of the Torah.These knots bind the tzittzit to the tallit, just as Torah binds man to Yahweh.

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