Will ‘the TAC bishops will stop wearing Roman Catholic ecclesial attire?’

Deborah Gyapong has picked up on a thread of comments over on this blog and she comes up with some rather interesting and selective conclusions. Things like:

As others have expressed on this blog, I would like to see a good theological and rational explanation for why the present TAC bishops have decided to reject the Apostolic Constitution that goes beyond the ad hominem attacks against Hepworth.  How do they explain their actions in light of what the CCC says?

And I wonder, too, if the TAC bishops will stop wearing Roman Catholic ecclesial attire?  Maybe Fr. Anthony can do a post on his blog about what Anglican priestly and episcopal attire should look like.

Wow! I don’t even think it worth responding to, other than perhaps to say it’s sad to see this coming from one who just a day or two ago  wrote:

Anyway, I wish these chapters would come to an end and the ACCA and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross can go their separate ways without bitterness or continued fighting.

You may wish to comment or respond over here or there.

UPDATEFr Anthony Chadwick goes there and actually posts ‘what Anglican priestly and episcopal attire should look like’.


34 thoughts on “Will ‘the TAC bishops will stop wearing Roman Catholic ecclesial attire?’

  1. And what, exactly, is being defined as exclusively “Roman Catholic ecclesial attire”? And on what principle are bishops in other traditions apparently not entitled to wear it?

      1. English or British Anglo-Catholics have been wearing much of the “Roman Catholic ecclesial attire” since the late 19th century! Reminds me somewhat of the Jewish leaders in Matt. 23: 5-6, etc. (Matt. 6:1). We should respect something of the Anglican tradition here, but not overly so.

  2. TAC bishops have worn identical attire to Roman clerics. If they are now determined to be Anglican rather than Catholic it would seem that being easily mistaken for a Roman Catholic (except for the odd purple shirt here and there, but really, I only recall Hepworth wearing one) prelate might give one pause, though I know these cassocks etc. are expensive. Before it might have indicated a sense of de facto unity, a communion of desire as it were. But now that unity is off the table and the TAC is pursuing an Anglican course, what signs will be in evidence?

    1. Please clarify exactly what “Roman Catholic ecclesial attire” you have in mind and on what basis it is apparently no longer appropriate for Anglican bishops to wear it.

    2. If this was April 1st, I’d be thinking this thread is rather humorous. RCs upset that Anglicans now wear similiar clerical attire? In the 21st century? Seriously? After a century of ecumenical activity? After Rome has spend the past 50 years emulating protestantism in vestments, liturgics, hymns, church architecture, and a whole lot more?

      A modest proposal: RCs and Anglicans return to their glory years of the 19th century. So for Rome, they would return to their historic post-Reformation roots in things like only the Latin mass, priest celebrates with back to congregation, communion in one kind, Latin Vulgate, communicantes receive only in hand, private confession is not done face-to-face, no ecumenical activities, scapulars/novennas/first friday masses, return to historic highly limited use of annulments, etc. And Anglicans can…reargue the Oxford Movement and what it means to be High vs Low vs Broad Church?

      1. Please. I’m Roman Catholic, and I support this modest proposal. But then we still have the embarrassing result of shoddy false ecumenism: crummy modernist architecture, banal liturgies, gay clergy, awful liturgical music, intellectually lazy theology and catechism…

        I suggest we start a bonfire for all these things. Really.

        Also: The historic preferred method of reception of the Eucharist is ON THE TONGUE WHILE KNEELING. Also, intinction, without Extraordinary Ministers. And no women at the sanctuary, please.

        Also, please bring back meatless Fridays and 3:00 PM prayers.

      2. Ioannes: Yes, that was a typo about receiving communion. (When I was RC and made my first communion in 1970 we still had an altar rail, we knelt, we received only in one kind, and we received on our tongue. I still have the picture of the event.) When I saw this thread I started to laugh and had trouble composing my thoughts because I couldn’t believe anyone would be arguing about Anglican attire in 2012! As if anyone could or would confuse an Anglican Church with a RC Church merely over things like vestments, etc. My confused RC friends have trouble telling the difference between their liturgy and that of the ECUSA & ELCA (at least if a man is celebrating).

  3. Anglican bishops never wore mitres until the nineteenth century…some Evangelicals still refuse to wear one. Crosiers as opposed to pastoral staffs also crept in via the Oxford movement.
    No Anglican cleric wore a chasuble from 1559-1849.Stoles are another ritualist appropriation.

    Interestingly John Henry Newman as an Anglican never wore anything more than a black scarf, academic hood and did Pusey.When he preached at St Mary’s in the Oxford high, he wore a Geneva preaching gown.

    There is a famous picture of Samuel Seabury being consecrated by Scottish bishops, all are dressed in Geneva preaching gowns.

    And heres one for our South African friends…..

    For the first thirty years of the Church of England presence in South Africa, they used the Dutch Reformed Church as their vestments and ritual were so similar.

    1. @RIW: Oh yes, those Geneva preaching gowns, and the Dutch Reformed, btw the great Andrew Murray was Dutch Reformed! Love his book: Humility, simply a classic!

      The Stole has become an important piece in the modern so-called Church, again for Anglicans a very proper aspect for/in preaching! It is too, a sign of the Cross, simply/profoundly! My wife has made me several (hand-made). But perhaps I need to think again about the Academic Hood, with black scarf? 😉 Btw, I love the man.. the Rev’d Edward Bouverie Pusey! I have a London copy (1882) of his Sermons. As too John Keble’s: Sermons for the Christian Year! Yeah, always the “eclectic”… me! 😉 The Man of God must seek to know himself, always a sinner/saint to quote Luther! (Simul Iustus et Peccator)… (1 Tim. 4:16).

  4. But it isn’t big news!


    “Now, as we are looking forward to the first ordinations of former TAC bishops in Canada—December 8 in Victoria and Ottawa if all the paper work gets back from Rome in time (the churches are booked) with ordinations of other TAC clergy to follow after a formation program that ends next Easter.”

    DECEMBER 8 !!

  5. Indeed British (English) Anglicans have always been rather free with their ecclesiastical dress, at least today somewhat. But, yes it depends upon where one is (place), and their persuasion., i.e. theologically. To be historical and honest, some vestments can be symbolic for the Faith, and of course liturgical. Note, the alb is a vestment common to all ministers, and the surplice may replace the alb. And of course the stole is common in many churches.

  6. Just to follow up, under the old French Concordat (1801-1905), someone “impersonating a Catholic priest” could be punished by the law. Nowadays, lots of clergy of all kinds of churches wear the same tat as Roman clergy and no one bats an eyelid. Some Church of England clergy wear Roman cassocks and the like. The SSPX priests say they are Roman Catholics and wear the same attire and vestments, but Rome would disagree.

    I wrote an informative posting, but I don’t personally care what anyone wears. The Church has no “secular arm” any longer. It’s a free world.

  7. I actually find the traditional Anglican clerical garb to be good-looking and lends to an Anglican cleric’s swag. So please, stick to your own stuff and don’t confuse certain uninformed Catholics who think Anglicans are just another “Traditional Catholics.” (The same could be said about “Old Catholic” churches, but I don’t know how their vestments look like.)

  8. Also: Roman Catholics should go back to putting those large Roman collars with lappets on clergy. With Cassocks. Even during summer. >:D

  9. There ought to be a universal standard for (Christian) clerical wear, so we know what rank and responsibility people hold as well as who belongs to what denomination.

    Color-Coding and other dress code regulations such as the hat system, lend to an orderly and easily recognizable clergy. The Pope should always have the largest hat. Like the Triregnum.

    black = priest: purple=bishop; red=cardinal; white=pope

    Miter = Western Christian. Klobuk/Kamiklava = Eastern Christian (with exception of Armenians)

    Ruffs/preaching tabs = Protestant; Collars = Catholic/Orthodox

    Business suit = ???? (Televangelist, I guess? American protestant clergy? Crazy guy with sandwich boards?)

    I would hate for my priest to wear a cowboy hat to mass. It may be preferable for them to wear the black zucchetto/biretta (if that’s permissible anyway)

    And then, there’s the fact that the only vestments suitable for women are that of a nun’s. To see a woman wear the robes of a priest or a bishop is like seeing a woman wear a 3-piece suit with slacks instead of a skirt. (I mean I guess a woman CAN wear a man’s business suit, but they will always look like some overt lesbian man-wannabe.)

    1. Sometimes I’m foolishy tempted to think that you are being serious – but after this hilarity it’s obvious that you are always only pulling our legs. Have you considered doing stand-up routines?

      1. If I am being serious, let’s consider the fact that as a low-level, anonymous layman, I’ll never effect any change I want in the Catholic Church or in Christendom.

        But If I am not, I got nothing to lose, man. It makes me freer to say what’s on my mind based on what’s being bounced off me.

  10. Have a look at this Bad Vestments Post.

    Unlike the majority, of those ho have posted, I rather think it does matter what garb a cleric should wear and I rather deplore the trends towards the increased use of “mufti”. I think the clergy should be recognisable as such, both priests and other religious. I like to see the religious: friars, monks, nuns ,Augustinians, Benedictines, Dominicans, in their habits, priest and bishops in their “abito piano”. I am reminded that in the past been a tendency for some governments actually to forbid the public wearing of clerical garb.

    But like the navies of the world, I rather deplore the “false flag” approach. Anglo-Papalists in particular, while remaining in the Church of England,(and therefore for a Catholic in Holy Orders which are not valid) have been ready to adopt someing of a “false flag” approach, in terms of church accoutrements. vestments, and the like to the extent that I have known French or Spanish visitors beeing foled into believing that they were attending a Catholic Mass in a Catholic Church.

    There is a particular TAC bishop I have in mind who dresses as a Catholic bishop should and, for me, that’s saling under a false flag. Particularly when the cleric in question has signed up to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and then ratted on his commitment.

    1. I wasn’t going to comment on this debate, as I’ve had my quota of silliness for this week. However, just an observation made to me a few weeks ago by an Orthodox priest (who happens to be English). He said that almost never leaves his house without wearing his cassock and hat, and has never experienced anything worse than the occasional cheeky – and ignorant – comment. On the contrary, never a week goes by when he is not stopped by at least one person who wants to talk – either to ask a question or to seek advice, or simply to be listened to.

      One astonishing story he told me featured an elderly lady who struck up a conversation with him in a supermarket car park. The topic of the conversation was very sensitive, and had obviously been troubling her for a few days. When during the course of the conversation the priest learned that she was RC, he gently suggested that it was something she really ought to talk to her priest about. She replied “But you’re wearing a cassock, so I know I can talk to you. I’m never sure whether Fr X is on duty or not, and I don’t like to disturb him.”

      Cassocks, Fathers, please!

  11. Thank God we have liberty and freedom as ‘In Christ’, in these areas, at least in Anglicanism! Btw, just a point, but silence is always an integral part of liturgical worship, as in the presence of God. And again for us Anglicans a stole is proper for preaching, but not generally for the Daily Offices unless the Eucharist is to follow immediately or if the Office is used as the Liturgy of the Word at the Eucharist. But always simplicity and beauty as the people of God gather together to proclaim the Lord in their/our midst!

      1. Since I am semi-retired, and now some of my ministry is as a hospital chaplain, there I wear my full white Anglican collar, with usually black clergy shirt, long sleeve. But sometimes with my black Levi-jeans and my black Vans slip-on shoes. Yeah the old lean hippie, RMC! How’s that Mourad! 😉

      2. Indeed, if they are going to stop wearing any kind of attire, I do hope they have already acquired an alternative to put on instead. Otherwise, not a pretty thought.

      3. Well, considering how historically the “collar” as it currently looks is a Methodist thing, I think it’s fine for high-church protestant folks to wear that. The problem is the current conception in the wider culture: “Collar = Roman Catholic Always” so that’s problematic.

        My own solution is making the cassock mandatory for Catholic Priests, and having the large old-style Roman Collar with the lappets be worn. It doesn’t matter how dorky it looks!

      4. And remembering Jesus’ words: “see the lilies-of-the-field…yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of these”!

      5. Nice Margaret! 🙂 Indeed both the creational & the redemptive or New Creation, awaits us fully as ‘In Christ’! “Beloved, NOW we are children of God, and yet it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3: 2)

  12. Giving a somewhat straight response to what could degenerate into a somewhat hilarious piece, I picked up a trick in Rome of buying standard (i.e. cheap) black shirts and sewing some velcro in the neckline concealed by the fold of the collar, then onto the back of a white plastic collar insert. I saw something similar in notion in the diocese of Salford later on – a long white insert secured by press stud under the collar on an ordinary black shirt. So I wasn’t the only one being frugal, and got 3 quality shirts for the price of one tonsure shirt. I used to laugh that I could substitute a white tie for the collar, and moonlight for the mafia.

    In Boston in 1993 I was on sabbatical at the time of the trial of the notorious child abuser and former priest James Porter, and some of the local clergy became reluctant to wear collars in public. Coming from a society where black isn’t really an appropriate colour in the heat of summer unless one is a masochist, I was more inclined to wear the standard white shirt with small crosses on the collar if I was attending a function in an official capacity. The anticlerical change in in Boston society bothered me, and I began wearing the “club colours” in what was at times a hostile environment. I figured that if I got abuse (as happened) it was deserved because I represented a Church which failed to stand with the many victims and their families.

    If other ministers want to wear Roman-style clerical attire to identify themselves generically as clerics, it is no problem to me. Those who want to wear that to get respect will discover they have already received their reward.

    1. Next thing you know, people would be ashamed of Jesus Christ because of the failings of the people in His Church. You know, because of the standard atheist accusation: “Why has your God failed to do anything about this?”

      “Why has your Church failed to do anything about this?”
      “Why has your Bishop failed to do anything about this?”
      “Why has your Priest failed to do anything about this?”
      “Why has your Faith failed to do anything about this?”

      And then, people leave, seeing that there is no God after all.

      1. It is not that there is of course no GOD, but that His Spirit often is not seen or felt in the postmodern church, and God’s so-called ministers, priests, etc. simply don’t know or believe God’s Word! Indeed Satan is alive and well on planet earth, the god of this world or age.

    2. I believe the black suit became customary for RC clergy because they were not allowed to appear in the street as priests, that being the prerogative of the C of E. More recently the Anglo-Catholics copied the suits, as they copied everything else. Street dress for the Deamerites was cassock, gown and tippet, with a Canterbury cap.

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