Monday, July 28, 2014

CASSOCKS (Wherein Father D Rants)


I don't get too worked up over what Faddah Zed writes these days.  Perhaps I've become immune to his shtako as a result of over exposure. For some reason the tone of this post caused my own panties to bunch up considerably. Perhaps it is the tone.  Here I will give it my standard and trademarked Father D Treatment of emphasis and comments
Full disclosure; Father D wears his cassock semi-regularly.  He finds it very comfortable. He enjoys the fact that he can wear shorts or sweat pants and a tee shirt underneath it. Around the church on Sundays and feast days, to the hospital or nursing home it is great. Elsewhere the suit and collar are more appropriate.  People I serve are more comfortable. 

A reader asked Zuhlsdorf about bishops wearing suits versus cassocks, implying that if more adopted the cassock they would be providing a shining example of episcopal leadership. Here is his reply.

First, I am glad you are concerned about decorum.  I have no doubt that you are always exactly properly dressed according to everyone else’s expectations in each and every circumstance. Forgive me.  I'm going to be very judgmental here.  What a douche bag!  LOWLY LAY reader writes ... Therefore, FATHER John I'm-Ontologically-Different-From-And-Infinitely-Superior-To-You ZERO has to begin his answer with a paragraph of snarky sarcastic put down. Because she's just that kind of bitch, boys and girls (mostly boys).. but I digress.. 
Next, I limit myself to custom in these United States. It's not "these United States." This crap is just old. Perhaps he thinks he's a founding father?
It was, and still is, not the custom for secular, diocesan priests and bishops in these USA to wear the cassock as “street attire”.  Yes, some young pups are wearing the cassock all the time, when they go about town.  Fine.  Perhaps they will establish a new practice. Young pups = young nuts. To wear a cassock everywhere in public in a country where clerical suits have been the norm since 1888, is to scream: LOOK AT ME, EVERYBODY, I AM SO SPECIAL!!!! The "young pups" are establishing enough "new practices" that are actually reviving old practices that were obsolete four generations before they were born. See the pews packed lately?   However, the usual practice in these USA go back to the Councils of Baltimore, which forbade clerics from using the cassock as dress attire, imposing instead secular dress but with a clerical collar.  For a long while the standard was the frock coat, which we don’t see much of anymore.  Perhaps we should try to revive this as well?   Today, standard street dress for the diocesan cleric is the black suit.  Of course the cassock is always appropriate for anything liturgical and when the cleric is in his assigned place, such as a school or hospital.
Another point, for bishops at least, is practical.  These days, most (I think. I don't see much evidence of that really) bishops drive themselves about.  I think that is imprudent, but – hey! – they don’t ask me about such things. Never stopped him from offering him an opinion before.  Say His Nibs is in a cassock and something happens along the way.  He’s in his cassock, which might not be the best attire at the moment.  I am speculating at this point, but that could have something to do with it.
Lastly, I have to say that clerical decorum has nearly completely broken down.  All you have to do is look at a group of concelebrants.  There are hardly two vested similarly when it comes to alb, cincture.  Let’s not even talk about proper choir dress.  What a disaster that is.  They enter and exit in their white gunny sacks looking like the end of the shift at the Tasty Bakery.  This from a bonafide BLIVIT (that's US military for 250 pounds of shit in a 150 pound back. And that's the nut, in a nutshell.  It strikes me that most priests and bishops of a certain age haven’t a clue about how to dress. Says the man who lives in a large city that insists on wearing cargo pants with three dozen pockets in them everyday.  Furthermore, they would say, “Oh, I don’t go in for all that stuff!”, as if they are somehow to be thought humble.  I don’t see any virtue in adopting a stance of contempt for your proper dress or vestments or uniform.  Humility submits to decorum.  Putting on the gear, and putting it on correctly, shows respect for the office and role you hold.  It shows respect for the people you encounter.   They don’t want to see their bishops and priests slouching about in shapeless white bags or looking like a hotel clerk.  I suppose as long as you treat them as lowly peasants and give them a good talking down to, you might as well wrap yourself in water silk while doing so.
You, however, are also reacting to photos I posted of a conference I attended.  And he knows this how??  There were quite a few bishops there. Yes, and Father took every opportunity to kiss their,  UM -- rings and have his picture taken with them.  They were in black suits.  This was at a hotel/resort.  It was a secular setting, not a church.  The prelates used cassocks for liturgies (Mass and office and Benediction).  Religious priests quite properly wore their habits, according to their customs.  Diocesan priests were in black suits. Except for you Father Z.  You were in shirt sleeves. But then again you're not really a diocesan priest are you?  Gyrovague.
Were there to have been a truly formal moment, such as a black tie evening event, then the diocesan clerics would have been properly dressed in a house cassock appropriate for their status, with the proper fascia, and a ferraioulo.  Mine would be black, a bishop’s violet or paonazza, a cardinal’s porpora sacra.
So, that’s it in a nutshell.  We are in a transition period. Oh?  Do tell.  I think that the customs will change for the better, but it will take time.  In the meantime, in these USA, don’t look down on a priest who wears the black suit and Roman collar when out and about in public. Preach on O Wise Sage!  That’s the custom for the diocesan clerics if (don't you mean IN??) this country. When being a pretentious prick, it's best to proof read your texts. Yes, I say this from experience.
And, yes, it is my hope that cleric decorum improves. More properly that should read "clerical decorum."  And, yes, I would like to see more bishops in their proper gear more often. Gear? WTF!? I think we see this as the Biological Solution keeps working us all over. BS is right.
UGH! I need a beer. 





Thanks for the vid clip Jimmy Mac

24 comments:

  1. Just when you think Fr Zzzzzz has reached maximum douchebagginess, he manages to go further. Now he's correcting other bloggers who write "the United States" instead of "these United States". What an amazing priest!

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  2. Is it my imagination, or is that blog getting nuttier over time? A few years ago there weren't nearly so many gun and ammo posts, or related survivalist posts...not to mention so much snark and outright venom.

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    1. Anonymous @ 4:42 am, the Brick-with-Eyes and sanity have been strangers for a very long time. I am more and more convinced that he is, on the mental pathology scale, very close to the sociopathological end of the spectrum.
      He has manufactured an existence which is almost totally self-centered, self-serving, self-promoting which feeds off an inflated sense of clerical entitlement. He has littler of no moral compass. He has engineered an existence which is made possible through monumental dissemblance, pretence, greed, bog materialism and deception.
      He is on the run from something all the while using the Italian Job as a diocese of convenience and the Augustinianum doctoral project as fronts. The diocese into which he is incardinated Is full of transient fugitives and other weirdos and his doctoral programme does not nor ever has existed except as an 'ens rationis.'
      The more and more he loses support from the formerly duped benefactors and increasingly enlightened benefactors the greater the degree of his estrangement from reality and equilibrium.
      Apart from his mental disease and all consuming resentment, he is certainly a sede-vacantist at heart, by insinuation and mental reservation.

      As he runs out of patronage, residual credibility and above all, $$$s, he'll just become more nutty and spittle flecked than he has ever been. It's not a pretty sight now and will get even worse.

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    2. All the more reason why his seemingly increased presence in a US diocese is troubling.

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    3. What is the history of his Diocese? I have seen several references to this "misfit" collection of clerics.

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    4. Here's what I've noticed.

      The change to more extreme nuttiness has happened at the same time he's lost critics on his blog. Several people who once pushed back on nonsense in comments aren't there any more at all, or much less often. I think he banned a few people. He's also using "Combox moderation" a lot more often. The end result is that comment discussions are a great deal less lively.

      I don't know whether those people were banned and Z felt emboldened, or if they have fled in disgust. But cause and effect, it adds up to a death spiral to me.

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  3. It is not your imagination. He is nuts.
    Look up the definition of "malignant narcissist". That about sums him up.

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  4. Is it just me or does this seem like a passive aggressive swipe at Pope Francis?

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  5. You know, one of the first thing graduate advisors advise doctoral students about is, get off the internet and finish your thesis.

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  6. Is he still finishing his doctorate, or has that been dropped quietly?

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  7. I live in Europe. Should I say, "THOSE United States"? And if I say "THE United States" do I need to go to confession?

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    1. "YOU ALWAYS NEED TO GO TO CONFESSION" - Father Z

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    2. "But, but, Father.....you only hear confessions in the First Class section and they won't let me in that part of the plane."

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    3. He'll absolve you through the curtain separating First from Bergoglio class, while he's sipping his cocktail. But he'll do it in Latin, so it will really work.

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  8. i love the final solutions and antebellum phraseology.

    im super conservative but if i were a priest i would be sure to wear khaki dress pants and gray clerical shirt (if not ordinary sports jacket) just to spite him.

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    1. But can't I be a conservative and wear khaki casual pants, sandals and a gray clerical shirt? Call it "crunchy conservative" if you will. I knew a Missionary of La Salette priest who usually wore blue "Dickie" work pants with a black tab collar shirt, black work shoes. (Eternal Memory Father Spencer!) He was the priest at the Lithuanian Parish in the city. He prayed his Office (Liturgy of the Hours) in the church before and after Mass. Was always available for someone in need. Told me how someone wanting "just to talk" often led to confession which he heard in the park, coffee shop, or even on the front stoop of the church. I don't know if he was "conservative" or "liberal" but he was a priest which was witnesses by his life and his dress style.

      Again, my irritation with Father Zed was not so much about what he said so much as how he said it. He rants about how "decorum" has devolved so, yet civil discourse is all but worthy of being put on some "endangered" list it seems.

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    2. " Call it "crunchy conservative" if you will. "

      Paging Rod Dreher...paging Rod Dreher!

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  9. speaking of externals, fr zuhlsdorf shared a picture of a bishop named vasa (not sure who this is) whose pictoral cross looks like something looted during the 4th crusade. if i were a bishop theres no way id wear that thing with such holy relics in public because as clumsy as i am id lose it or mistakenly drop it in something horrible

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    1. Vasa is the bishop of Santa Rosa, CA. He is fondly known for giving the diocese a vasa-ectomy.

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    2. I was gifted a similar cross several years ago, but with far fewer relics. Once the back is secured in place with a screw, everything is well protected. Certainly not something to "whipped out" at a dinner party for a photo op. IMHO

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  10. Re: "Fr" Zit and his clerical drag preferences: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7BQRGXFLJs

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  11. For an enlightening little piece on Villetri-Segni and its check list of ecclesiastical misfits, emigres, expulsi to say noting of The Brick himself, see Anthony Ruff OSB in Pray Tell (2013/21/03). The cyber link follows and you are advised to leave in Ruff's misspelling of Bergoglo in the URL:

    http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2013/03/21/cardinal-borgoglio-pope-francis-clashed-with-new-religious-order-cardinal-sodano-came-to-their-defense/

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  12. sorry for necro post. putting aside the whole "Fr. Z issue" .... I still don't really see how you have substantiated the obsolescence of the cassock. So, people are using more internet shorthand like lol, brb, omg, and the like... should we start using short-hand and slang in the liturgy now?

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  13. Vestment are liturgical garments and articles associated with mainly with Christian Church, especially among the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican ...

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