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
- Can a gay man become a priest?
- 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 organisations?
- Why are there so many different religious orders?
- What does discernment mean when we’re talking about vocation?
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- What is a deacon and how is it different than a priest?
- What if as a priest I need to take time out to care for a relative or family member?
- As a priest if I decide that I no longer want to do something, such as work in a specific parish, do I have any say or is it all out of my hands?
- I have a girlfriend but I feel called to religious life. If I go into training for the priesthood can I still keep my girlfriend in case it becomes clear that I don’t actually have a vocation?