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THE CLERICAL COLLAR. WITNESS? INVITATION? SIGN OF SHAME?

I still wear my clerical collar most of the time.

But many if not most priests have stopped wearing it regularly.

Most members of the oriestsbtrade union, the ACP – Association of Catholic Priests have stopped wearing it.

Most of them ate pictured these days wearing horrible old charity shop types of jumpers and shirts.

They think it makes them “kool” and non clerical.

I wear my collar for two important reasons:

1. To be a witness to the Christian faith and my ministry in it.

2. To be a very visible approach for anyone who needs to talk or my help.

The nonsense the ACP & Co talk about tge collar being barrier is just that – nonsense.

Barriers are created between people through behaviour and attitudes.

For 45 years now I have ministered in various places and among a great variety of people.

I have never found my collar to be a barrier.

I particularly wear my collar on my travels around the world.

I have had the most wonderfully friendly and pastoral encounters with people who approached me precisely because I was visibly a priest.

I have happily been drawn into emergency and tragic situations as a result of being a priest.

When thumbing a lift was a very common thing in Ireland in the past I always gave lifts and had great conversations with hitch hikers and heard many a Confession in the car.

NAME CALLING IN STREET

Yes, since the abuse crisis has arisen I have been named called and verbally abused especially in Dublin.

On these occasions I stopped and engaged in conversations with my abusers.

I accepted their anger at the abuse and was quite happy to ve the conduit for that justified anger.

Abd tgen tgey allowed ne to pointbout to tgem that 90% of priests do not abuse chikdren.

I also acknowledge with them that the RCC is very corrupt.

The RCC and many priests and bishops have scandalised decent people and we have to own and process that.

Priests going around hiding in jumpers and gansies do not address the problem.

Priests running “we feel sorry for ourselves” courses and workshops for priests does not address the problem either.

Priests are not the real victims.

Men, women and children fiffled with and raped by priests are the real victims.

Reverend Gentlemen, wear your collars and take the flack involved and grow a pair !!!

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84 replies on “THE CLERICAL COLLAR. WITNESS? INVITATION? SIGN OF SHAME?”

Yes they should be worn. We need to be able to identify them in the same way that the Star of David was imposed upon Jews. If it was compulsory at all times they wouldn’t be going to truck stops for butt sex, or sliding into gay saunas….

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The being and becoming of ministerial priesthood in the Catholic sense should surely embrace and not shy away from such an outward expression. Priests of a certain vintage do attempt to be trendy or some probably see nice clothes and holidays as the compensation they are entitled to for their self-perceived loss of an intimate relationship. Interesting how guys like that attempt to shun “clerical identity” and yet are among the main culprits for creating an alternative narrative among themselves when it comes to any wrong doing in the Church.

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10.03pm & 10.13pm what a load of deluded crap. You really do have deep seated issues, don’t you?

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10.03 and 10.13 were clearly written by different people. Deep seated issues, I wouldn’t say so. Even though there is a lot of it about.

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From a quix bottle to a look at me aren’t I lovely The collar brings many memories to light
But in the end the man maketh the collar not the collar maketh the man or woman these days. Fragrance or aftershave not essential

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I don’t see many medical doctors, nurses, mechanic’s, wearing identifiable clothing outside of their work zones and surely people require their services in acute and immediate times.
The collar is clerical and it’s identity is obsolete in the average street and public place. Some form of identification is helpful in chaplain roles in prison, hospital etc. A small piece of the inside Fairy Liquid bottle is not what is needed. If in your ministry work zone, wear whatever you like.

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“But many if not most priests have stopped wearing it regularly.’
Really? I don’t think so. It must be an Irish thing. In the UK all the clergy I know wear the collar. The only time I don’t wear mine is on my day off or on holiday, but I never hide the fact that I’m a priest.
It’s said that the collar doesn’t make the priest (which is true) but it does make a witness, and it has been a great tool to evangelisation. The number of conversations I’ve had because of the collar are incredible.

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Wearing the dog collar invites abuse, mockery, derision and contempt and that’s not why the vast majority of clergy entered the priesthood – praise, adulation. esteem and status is what they seek – being cool and down with the kids is their ting. Wearing the dog collar is a sign of contradiction too far for most of them – especially as the idea as clergy in the popular imagination is associated with abuse (children, power, money, etc) – on the other hand, high starched collars worn by aloof and seemingly arrogant clergy who clearly wear a dog collar because they thank God that they aren’t like other men are especially repellent and offer no witness but rather private piss take (if only they knew). Mind you, a humble, contrite and simple priest soaking up the punishment is a wonderful witness – Dog collar? Sackcloth and ashes more like.

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1. Middleclass folk don’t like uniforms.
2. It is easier to project the rejection of priesthood by modern society onto the ‘collar’ because it hides the truth that is lived by so many in society.

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8.01: A comnent which shoukd have been censored. Only a perverted, porno mind would suggest this crap caca…

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One could argue that many dicks in the RC church were donning clerical collars well before Big Mick Lomasnney.

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No they’re using those mini birettas you can buy in Gamarelli to adorn their bishop’s head…

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I note among the younger clergy who are emerging from the seminaries these days that, not only are they rather eager to dress up for liturgy, they are also very keen to dress in an impeccable clerical way. I guess it is all part of their sense of being so very special and set apart because of the ontological difference they believe in so sincerely – although most of them couldn’t spell ontological, and certainly have no functioning and real knowledge of the Latin they recite in the traditional Masses they say ad orientem, thanks to the lamentable education they have received in places like Oscott, Allen Hall, Wonersh, and whatever place the wee Scotties go to these days. It might be slightly better at the VEC, although mostly they just spend their time preening themselves at their supposed superiority. As I go around I simply do not come across young clergy who are grounded, mature, integrated and sane, just conceited, up their own backsides young men who have a sense of entitlement and expect that the collar, actual or imagined, will lubricate their way through life. I’m afraid that they are in for a shock and these days people like me simply do not fall for that narrative anymore. I let them know it, too. Start by simply calling them by their first name without any title. You can see their little Adam’s apple twitch as they swallow that ! Then on committees and at meetings, just get a group of like minded laity to make sure that they do not automatically take charge / chairmanship of meetings, and are just a simple rank and file member. Oh, you can see the hackles rising ! I’m afraid they have a lot to learn about their place in the Church and the world going forward.

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Yes. At a weekend Mass at the Dominican church in Cork last year a middle-aged priest read a Tridentine Mass. His clipped words indicated he did not know the meaning of what he was reading at any point. Never again. It fits the common definition of sacrilege.

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10.22am

Thank you. I cannot understand why an ability to say every office in Latin is not a requirement before ordination. Once familiar with the wonders of the language, I am certain that the laity would find celebrations in their own language would be inferior and unwanted. I do not happen to support the old forms of the mass, no, that is not my position. Rather, I simply say that Latin should be the liturgical language in every diocese. The laity would then learn Latin, understanding its nuances and glories. That in itself would be a contribution to human betterment.

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@12:00
It is a requirement:
Can. 249 The program of priestly formation is to provide that students not only are carefully taught their native language but also understand Latin well and have a suitable understanding of those foreign languages which seem necessary or useful for their formation or for the exercise of pastoral ministry.

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I was thought better Hebrew in Mayooth than Latin. The best hope for Latin there was the mass parts – but not the mass.

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12:00

You sound a wee bit contradictory.

The laity have enough to contend with trying to figure out the
nonsensical carry-on by clerics than resorting to learning latin
to suit the lace brigade in the church.

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Anon at 12 noon.

Latin Mass quite useless when a priest turn his back to deaf community cos we can’t follow him what’s he doing or saying. You can guess we are the lip readers as we can’t hear if you get my drift. It’s not viable for us as vernacular mass suits us more with priest in front, easier to lip read in English rather than medieval language such as Latin. It would be better to use local language in mass where the locals live rather than mandatory language such as Latin cos in poor countries where education is barely non existent as you can’t expect them to learn Latin.

Why all the fuss about Latin Mass when it doesn’t suit us or native locals with little or no education like in Africa or far east Asia.

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12:47. Did you go to school. It’s “mechanics” not “mechanic’s”, and in your sentence it’s “its” not “it’s”.

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This issue is also down to once again it is about Leadership.
So the weak Bishops stuck in Diocesan Offices do not what is happening on the ground no discipline.
It is in the Code of Canon Law.
Bother the priest and the bishop must be ashamed yet they love the perks.
So Dermott Martin will be going for his Pallium but just now him and others forget their mitres.
Discipline is missing in the dioceses for trendiness.

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@ 1:38 CHAPTER III THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF CLERICS
Can. 277 §1 Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, and are therefore bound to celibacy. Celibacy is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can more easily remain close to Christ with an undivided heart, and can dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and their neighbour.
§2 Clerics are to behave with due prudence in relation to persons whose company can be a danger to their obligation of preserving continence or can lead to scandal of the faithful.
§3 The diocesan Bishop has authority to establish more detailed rules concerning this matter, and to pass judgement on the observance of the obligation in particular cases.

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1.48
It’s out of date. Married priests are obliged to give their spouses their conjugal rights.

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@1.48pm. Don’t tell the permanent deacons, who also, incidentally, adore wearing the clerical collar because it sets them apart from the common herd as a sort of superlayperson.

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It is not in the Code of Canon Law. The pertinent canon speaks of ‘suitable ecclesiastical garb’ and the relevant decree of the Irish Episcopal Conference states
DECREE NO. 3 ECCLESIASTICAL DRESS FOR CLERICS
3.1. In accordance with the prescription of Can. 284, the Irish Episcopal Conference hereby decrees that, since a distinctive form of clerical dress has a particular significance and since such a distinctive attire is expected by the faithful in our country, all clerics will continue to wear such clerical dress as will give public witness to their priesthood or clerical state.
The collar is not specifically mentioned by the Decree or the Canon nor when such ‘clerical dress’ should be worn. It is specifically required by the norms of the US Church, not the Irish church. Also in the context of today’s prevailing attitudes, it is questionable as what would amount to ‘public witness’ and what amounts to a barrier to people, especially normal members of the younger generations. It would also have to be established under the Irish Decree whether such clerical attire is still what ‘is expected by the people’.

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Thank you, very interesting. I had no idea it was in the CCL. What I see here in England is diocesan clergy usually wear clerics.

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Hans Küng, Catholic Theologian With a Powerful Critique, Dies at 93

” Serving Jesus Christ is what matters, he insisted — not serving the church that took his name.”

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Bet you never read a single word Küng wrote but are merely parotting acquired prejudice.

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FYI at 9.59am.
Great quote. That’s what some of us arrived at this point re serving jesus christ and not serving the church. Cos rcc don’t have your interests at heart but only jesus christ. Have you heard numerous times that rcc failed the victims of sexual abuses? They are only thinking of themselves as an ‘institution’ not ourselves. Some priests out can’t serve two masters at same time, serve the rcc the institution or serve the victims of sexual abuses. They can’t have both ways.
Serve jesus as no 1 but not rcc. That’s what Kung and some others were saying. I or some others decent Christians were kind of waking up to that great quote.

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Interesting bits from new York Times is this👇

Dr. Küng’s problem, the priest and author Andrew W. Greeley wrote in “The Making of the Popes 1978” (1979) was the envy he aroused among Vatican officials over his popularity and success.

“Other scholars have been re-evaluating the papacy much more quietly — and have said far more radical things than Küng,” Father Greeley wrote.

It was Dr. Küng’s tightly reasoned rejection of the doctrine of papal infallibility in his book “Infallible? An Inquiry” (1970) that led to his dismissal as an official church theologian. He maintained that the doctrine, which was adopted in 1870 and applies only to those extraordinary moments when the pope speaks officially as the vicar of Christ, was not supported by scripture. He gave copious examples of papal mistakes.

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11:21 am

Kungs “Infallible? An Inquiry” is a great read, DG.
A revised edition, published in 2012, is on sale from the book depository for 29 euro. (paperback).

Enjoy!

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Deaf geezer is that why Kung reconciled with the Vatican then? He wasn’t that daft unlike some I could mention on here including yourself. Sometimes you do talk a load of shite son.

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6. 50pm
Are you a romanist priest beholden to your Bishop or frankie the gaslighter🤪🤭🤣
For the record to correct you that Kung wasn’t reconciled to the Vatican. He stopped people for calling father as he asked them to call him as Dr Kung. He wasnt daft when he left ‘catholic’ University for another secular one. His books got better and better after he was dismissed by JPII who covered up Marciel cos he needed Marciel money. Enough said, now eff off🙃🙃

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I watched the movie about Mary Magdalene, the Apostle of the Apostles. I’d recommend it.
She served Jesus. For centuries the church wrongly tarnished her standing and reputation.
Pope Francis has put that right. Is the church on a journey towards women being ordained?

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Perhaps the question should be posed another way: how would the priest be recognized as such, even by people outside the church, if not wearing clerics?

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@1,02pm

What a ridiculous comment. You speak as if it is a requirement for a priest to be seen as such in public. Where on earth or in heaven have you got that idea from, apart from unthinking, apparent common-sense which, in fact, is not in the least common. Few priests wear a collar in Latin American dioceses, few in France, few in The Netherlands; I could go on.. Yes, the same can be said accurately for many other countries. Many of us are sick and tired of commentators who really fail when it comes to thinking carefully about subjects about which they think they know everything when, in reality, they know so little.

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3:46pm. The Church is kaput in France, the Netherlands and Latin America thanks to ACP types, so perhaps you should think of better examples.

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The Code of Canon Law (1983) states:
284 Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical dress, in accordance with the norms established by the Episcopal Conference and legitimate local custom.

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Lol sense really is not common as demonstrated by yourself.
The other comments got the point exactly which you completely missed.
Cucullus non facit monachum.

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1.02pm: With so many clergymen wearing clerical dress you may have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding your prince. It might help if the collar had “R/C” or “Anglican” printed on it; that would solve the dilemma.

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The optics of wearing a dog collar today suggest something kinky/psycho – sexual, sado-masochistic, power dynamic – on your knees your my bitch now vibe. It also coveys ownership but not in a good way – as the only human beings who are owned are slaves.
Thing is we’ll never know because there’s no way on Gods good earth that clergy will open up and talk frankly and honestly about these things – this much we know – for some (Bishop Pat) wearing a dog collar is a signsymbol of his desire to serve God and people as a servant and accompanier – for many, if not most, you need a depth psychologist to figure out what’s going on with the collar thing – and money on it’s got to with sex, it’s like what Oscar Eilde said, ‘Everything in the worlds about sex, except sex, because sex has to do with power.’ Go figure.

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I:04 pm
IIt’s a pity you dont read over what you write before you press the ‘post comment’.

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Why do priests and deacons where a dog collar?
Why is it called a dog collar? Dogs where dog collars.
When did priests first where the dog collar?
Does the dog collar imply or is a symbol for submission, obedience and needing to be led not lead?
Does a priest feel any sense of power or privilege when wearing one?
Is the dog collar a blessing or a curse or simply a uniform – why is the clerical a uniform black shirt (redolent of the Blackshirts)?
Why do they need a uniform or costume – who is greater among you the greatest or the least?

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The collar is advertised as being a sign of God amongst the community.

In reality it is about making it obvious who the priest is in a group so that his behaviuour should match the standards of his office – or at least the theoretical standard that his position in society should strive for. It is an out-of-date control technique.

It is worth noting that the priest is suppossed to be above suspicion – in accordance with the words at the ordination ceremony. The collar is how the bishop supervised this in the days before social media, photographs, online records, (this blog). The chain of causation was:
1. The collar identified the priest;
2. People gossiped about his behaviour
3. Some horrified person wrote the Bishop
4. The priest was guilty of being under suspicion contrary to the words in his ordination ceremony (actually being guilty of the behaviour itself is moot).
5. The bishop moved him on.
6. Repeat cycle while the bishop’s file grew (and the bishop remains in the theological belief that the priest is a “priest forever” so laicisation was not a really considered an option).

…. so it is a dog collar because the dog is on the master’s leash and the master is the bishop.

As for me. I wear it because it’s just easier. Short sleeve is better because it’s faster to iron. I avoid stocks, they are just weird. If relaxing the collar may be removed, probably around half way down the first pint – just like a lay man may loosen the tie at a wedding etc. I’m human after all. It is 100% important to remain in the clerical shirt though because you do not want a lady thinking you are leading them on when on the dance floor. There are boundaries to be maintained even when the priest starts thinking he is ‘off duty’, mainly because he is never ‘off duty’.

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You sound like an American priest or deacon, HG, when you say ‘wrote the bishop’ as UK and Ireland English would put a preposition there.

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7:57, Just making an observation. Do you take issue with people making observations? are you a compromised priest? are you a liberal member of the ACP that is upset that you are not front, stage and centre of the Catholic Church? are you bitter and resentful toward others?

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Can. 284. Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical dress, in accordance with the norms established by the Episcopal Conference and legitimate local custom.
For many clergy in the Archdiocese of Glasgow that would be The Birthday Suit.

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If I were pope I would make the tonsure compulsory. Not a small golf ball sized job either, but proper Name of the Rose style. Would be very easy to spot them in the Boiler House. I remember a Roman friend telling me you could always spot a Priest in mufti cruising at the Campidoglio by the way they walk.

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Ah the good old Campidoglio. I remember spotting a deacon from the VEC (now pp) from the Midlands getting head up there from a local Roman lad. He was a very vain young man and obsessed with fashion. Good old Burlosconi locked the gates and put an end to cruising up there. Enjoyed many a balmy evening on the hill.

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5.19: You ate bereft of an intellectual capacity to critique the reasons for a decline in vocations and church attendances. It’s not as simplistic as you suggest: the “ACP” types!! That’s absurd. We need to consider the political, social, sociological, cultural and anthropological thinking in radically altering our religious beliefs and understanding of Church and priesthood and indeed of the very moral fibre of society. As we become more knowledgeable about life in all its dimensions, naturally our previously held SACRED beliefs will change. Despite all of these changes, many of us who are priests believe in the foundational meaning of ministry as given by Jesus Christ and seek to live that vision, albeit with immense challenges, questions and doubts.

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8:05 pm
I note you fail to mention (not made explicit) 35 years plus of exposure of child
sexual abuse and cover-up for decline in vocations and church attendance.

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Started thinking about quotes.
I came across a good one… What do u think of this👇
Religion is based on the idea that God is an imbecile.”
#NoamChomsky

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DG: Indeed there is some truth in it, if in the first place, God, in terms of an infinitely powerful all knowing supernatural Being, actually exists. Although it could be reasonably said that it is in itself a total contradiction to have infinite knowledge and power and yet at the same time be an imbecile.
Elements of truth I see in the “idea” of God, for that’s what it is, an unproven concept, is the totally preposterous concept that we humans, evolved as sentient self aware intelligent mammals, should abandon and set aside all evidential contra indications, and follow the alleged directions:
1) of a Being for whom there is no proof,
2) of a Being whose best idea of showing Him/Her self to us has been via thousands
of different religious beliefs and practices worldwide which have come and gone
throughout human history, so that religious beliefs are entirely an accident of geographical
location.
3) and with respect to the Christian religions, that the infinite God’s best effort to “redeem”
humankind has been the totally wacky and abhorrent concept of Christ’s vicarious
redemptive sacrifice among illiterate desert dwelling peasants only after at least 100,000
years of homo sapiens existence. (And the demise of many of our other humanoid earth
cousins over a much longer period. Maybe God was busy saving creatures on other
planets!)
And DG: that’s just for starters off the ‘top of my head!’
MMM

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9.34: Yes, I am only too well aware of effects of horrendous child sexual abuse scandals on the decline of religious practices in Catholic Church, thus a decline in vocations… It is a major factor in any critiquing…as I know.

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The Man/Woman maketh the collar and not the collar maketh the person. Being a christian is more about who a person is than what a person does

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