Why do some priests wear religious clothes while others don’t?
Priests are normally expected to wear clerical dress, but there are exceptions in different countries or cultures. Usually the norms are set by the Bishops’ Conference of the region, but in some cases the conference will allow local bishops to set their own norms. This allows for adaptation and flexibility according to ‘legitimate local custom’. For example, in both Australia and Canada the bishops have set a rule that priests should be “identifiable as clerics”, whereas the bishops of England and Wales merely say that “the existing customs … are to be continued”. In Italy, a black, grey, or dark blue clerical suit is to be used in place of the cassock. In Canada, priests may identify as priests by wearing a small cross on the lapel of their suit. People will immediately recognise their clerical status. In other regions, especially in public, liturgical situations, the Roman collar is often the best way to identify oneself as a cleric.
Most popular questions
- I feel I have a specific charism to youth outreach. Can I live this charism out as a priest, or must I follow the charism of the order I join?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- Are religious orders different from one another? If so, how are they different?
- I read stories of religious communities merging or closing down. Are religious organisations dying out?
- What can I do as a priest that I cannot do as a layperson working for a charity or NGO?
- What if I change my mind about being a priest during training or things just don’t work out? How do I pick my life back up again?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- As a priest, will I get to see and talk with family and friends regularly?
- Do religious communities offer a trial period?
- Why would anybody become a priest nowadays?