Integrity

I wonder if I can use this precedent to get people to stop using the Catholic Liturgical rites and to get protestants to stop wearing clerics.

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13 Responses to “Integrity”

  1. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    Clerical garb is clearly a sign of the Roman Catholic Preisthood. Whenever it is portrayed it is inteneded to portray a Catholic priest. It doesn’t mean minister. It means priest. They are not priests etc etc.

    And Anglican’s do wear cassocks. Another thing I would like to see stopped.

    Yes I do prefer that they don’t use our liturgical rites either. They should come up with their own things.

    The idea behind clerical dress is to identify priests. When a protestant wears it that fails.

    I know of cases of protestants who will also hear confessions without telling people they aren’t catholic.

    People see the collar in the airport all the time and they come up to ask for confession and address me as Father. Never once have they come up and asked if I was lutheran, anglican or anything else.

    They also come up and say anti-catholic things as well.

    It clearly is a sign of the preist and they should find something that distinguishes them for their flock.

  2. Todd Says:

    Peace, Fr Todd.

    Why? I’ve never seen a Protestant, even an Anglican, wear a cassock. Would you extend your ban to non-Catholics “pretending” to celebrate Eucharist?

  3. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    Jason,
    Boneheaded heh? One they are not clerics. Two the sign value has failed. The purpose of the clerical dress is to witness and to clearly mark out a Catholic Priest.
    Secular media even knows this. Clearly when they are lampooning the Catholic Church or representing an “evil” priest they dress them up in a “Roman” collar.
    My argument is that protestants need to adopt their own distinctive form of dress. One that says I am a protestant minister.
    I also think it lacks integrity to say your a protestant and then try to adopt Catholic practices.

    The main point is that they should choose something to wear that represents protestants and not Catholic priests. They are not the same as catholic priests. They are religious professionals. They shouldn’t be wearing something that clearly makes people think they are a CAtholic priest when they see them.

  4. Jason Says:

    With all due respect, that’s a pretty bone-headed suggestion. Clerical dress is clerical dress. If Protestants clergy adapt it, I have no problem–just like I have no problems if Protestants want to pray the rosary, or hold liturigical services rather than just general prayers. If someone approaches a Lutheran or Anglican clergyman in the airport, he can politely tell them he is not a Catholic priest. No harm, no foul.

  5. Todd Says:

    Peace, Fr Todd.

    I must disagree most strongly with your points.

    “Clerical garb is clearly a sign of the Roman Catholic Preisthood. Whenever it is portrayed it is inteneded to portray a Catholic priest.”

    No. Clerical garb identifies priests and ministers both. I have seen Orthodox clergy wear garb not unlike Catholics and their orders are as valid as yours.

    “They are not priests etc etc.”

    And here you would be very mistaken. While it is true that many separated Christians do not possess valid orders by the Roman definition, clearly Anglicans and others see their priests as Catholics do. If they choose to wear clothing that reinforces this culturally and socially, such is their right. If they adopt a clerical understanding of priest, I’m sorry to say there is nothing you or any other Catholic can do about it. It may be an invalid priesthood by the Catholic sacramental definition, but it is a priesthood nonetheless. Even pagans have priests. I wouldn’t waste breath on the naming issue.

    “Yes I do prefer that they don’t use our liturgical rites either. They should come up with their own things.”

    So … you are suggesting that there are no steps to Christian unity through authentic liturgical scholarship, research, and celebration? Would you categorize Baptism and Eucharist as “our things,” and suggest they baptize in blood or use pizza and beer instead?

    “I know of cases of protestants who will also hear confessions without telling people they aren’t catholic.”

    And if these clerics were Lutherans or Anglicans, you have a problem with the rediscovery of the practice? People confess in Twelve Step Groups all the time. Do we have to stop this, too? I know of no Catholic who has ever been duped by a Catholic priest-poseur. Any sensible Catholic (which is admittedly a stretch in some quarters) will know that a priest surrounded by a parish, a bishop, and a community of Catholics is an iron-clad guarantee of authenticity. I do recall a Dear Abby letter years ago in which a young couple was duped by an impostor in their apartment building, only to find later they weren’t even legally married. But his monstrances and candlesticks and other relics sure looked nice.

    “Never once have they come up and asked if I was lutheran, anglican or anything else.”

    It could be that only Catholics come up to you.

    “It clearly is a sign of the preist and they should find something that distinguishes them for their flock.”

    Interior attitude and how one carries oneself is also essential.

  6. Todd Says:

    Peace, Fr Todd.

    I remain rather mystified by your viewpoint. Any Catholic should know a priest is not a free agent or lone ranger, and operates within a traditional ecclesiological system. I don’t find it surprising that some Catholics have been duped, but your solution will not prevent unscrupulous individuals from perpetrating fraud. More likely, it raises the spectre of fussiness in the protester.

    I am relieved on your admission of valid orders for the Orthodox. You must be aware that your statement narrowing an authentic priesthood to Roman Catholics is not unlike what many ignorant lay people would assume. The Holy Father would be disturbed and alarmed by such careless language, even your assumption that Anglicans are Protestants.

    I think you lack an argument on non-Catholic clergy. First, Anglicans have an understanding close to that of Catholicism and the Orthodox. They see their clergy very much as we Catholics do. I’ve even known of Lutherans who refer to pastors as “Father,” of their liturgy as “Mass,” and use other similar terminology. At any rate, Protestant clergy and clerical dress date back to the dawn of the Reformation. You would surely admit we share a common 1500 years of ecclesial history with them, would you not? What purpose does it serve if you wish to be identified on sight as a Catholic priest?

    Since we’re agreed that people in clerical dress are either priests, ministers, or in masquerade, and that nobody can do anything about the latter group, I’m not sure your campaign is going to make any headway. An evangelical minister would probably choose a nicely cut suit, but “high Church” Protestants would see distinctive clerical garb as their tradition.

    Your zeal for your public badge is laudable. However, if a Catholic clerical scandal cannot convince non-Catholic clergy to wear something different, I doubt you will be able to make any converts. Besides, your identity as a priest and the effectiveness of your ministry will be known more by the work you do, more by the man you are, and more by your reliance on God, and less by what you wear.

  7. Basil Says:

    I totally agree with Fr. Todd. The Clerical Collar does show the Catholic church, no matter what. Sure, Lutherans wear it and the like, and stuff; but they are not validly Catholic. The tradition of being validly ordained in Christ’s Tradition goes back to ‘thou art Peter…’ which dealt specifically with the foundings of the Christian Church, more well known as the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH! and Todd, whoever you are and wherever you come from, Anglican/Episcopals are protestants. They came out of reformation with Henry VIII and are not Catholic. they were formed to go directly AGAINST the Catholic church.

    and Christ also said there will be many flocks, but only one true flock and one true shepherd. Pray that all will ‘come home to Rome!’
    AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM

    Basil

  8. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    Todd,
    I never made a statement about Orthodox having invalid orders. Never and no where. Please don’t accuse me of careless language. Maybe you think I include Orthodox among protestants. That would be impossible. The Protestant reformation happened 500 years after the Orthodox schism. There is a big difference. Anglicans are certainly protestants and do not have valid orders. The phrase absolutely null and utterly void comes to mind and I do believe it a declaration by Pope Leo XIII. I doubt the Holy Father would have a problem with that.

    You still don’t address the argument. I don’t mind distinctive dress for protestants. I mind them adopting the same as for Catholics. You will find Catholics specifically changed theirs in order not to be confused with protestants.

    I am saying the protestants should get something that clearly says they are what they are.

    Catholics wear it only for sign value and to be a witness to the Catholic Priesthood and for them to be easily identifiable for those in need. When a protestant co-ops it then that sign value fails.

    You cannot answer the argument about sign value so you conveniently avoid it.

    If a protestant want’s to adopt somee unique dress then thats fine. I don’t have a problem with that. I do have a problem with them adopting the Catholic dress of black clerics with white collar. At least pick another color if they aren’t willing to come up with their own sign.

    Air Force don’t wear Navy uniforms, police don’t wear firemen. The purpose of a uniform is to communicate. A protestant wearing catholic clerical garb is sending a false message and that is what I want to stop.

  9. Father Todd Reitmeyer Says:

    Todd,
    Maybe you should click on the link and read the article. You said: “I know of no Catholic who has ever been duped by a Catholic priest-poseur”. NOw you do know of them if you don’t know them.

    Second Orthodox are priests so I wouldn’t have a problem with them.

    Protestants I do for all the reasons I listed. The sign value fails. I don’t think you addressed that argument at all.

    I was even approached at a Christian music festival by a protestant minister who asked me why I was wearing clerics. Only Catholics should wear those. He was a bit shocked when I told him I was a Catholic priest but my experience shows clearly that people expect you to be a priest.

    I walked into a gas station the other night and I was asked “Are you a real Father or are you going to a costume party”.

    The sign value is clear. The protestants should get something to identify themselves as protestant and not try to look like a Catholic.

  10. Todd Says:

    Peace, Fr Todd.

    “Clerical garb is clearly a sign of the Roman Catholic Preisthood.”

    No mention of Orthodox, who also use clerical garb in public. Your language was inaccurate, my friend, and could be mistaken easily by the ignorant.

    “Anglicans are certainly protestants and do not have valid orders.”

    Most Anglicans I’ve known do not consider themselves Protestants. Their theological and historical pedigree is not the same as Lutherans and others. The validity of orders is irrelevant to the naming of Anglicans. Wiccans lack a sacramental priesthood, but they are pagans, not Protestants. (Common usage, by the way, would capitalize the “P.”)

    “I am saying the protestants should get something that clearly says they are what they are.”

    I know you’re saying this. But I think your effort is misplaced.

    “When a protestant co-ops it then that sign value fails.”

    Many, though not all, Protestant and Anglican clergy use it as well. It is a sign value for members of those congregations who are used to seeing their priest or minister wearing it. Maybe the sign value doesn’t work for you because of association with non-Catholics, but it certainly works for more people who have a valid need for religious leadership in their own tradition.

    “You cannot answer the argument about sign value so you conveniently avoid it.”

    Again, I think your argument is empty. Protestant and Anglican laity are used to seeing their clergy in Roman collars. This has a value for them. I have no problem with it.

    “I do have a problem with them adopting the Catholic dress of black clerics with white collar. At least pick another color if they aren’t willing to come up with their own sign.”

    Many do use different colors. But most often I see black.

    Two questions:

    Have you researched the history of clerical garb? I will admit I have not, but it would be interesting to trace the alleged “theft” of the Roman collar by non-Catholics.

    Have you approached local non-Catholic clergy about ceasing and desisting from wearing the collar?

    As a liturgist, I will admit the importance of signs and symbols. But I have to wonder about your stance on this issue being so insistent and out of kilter from the mainstream of Catholicism.

  11. Jason Says:

    Now that I think about it, I think you have a point, Fr. Todd. I don’t know if I agree with you completely, but I’ll take back my opinion that the suggestion is “boneheaded”.

  12. Terrence Berres Says:

    If this precedent extends as far as you hope, then might it not extend so far that Jews could ask a court to forbid Christians having a holy day called “Pentecost,” or enjoin including what Christians call the Old Testament in the Christian Bible? If prior usage can give exclusive rights to rites and garb, why not to holy days and scriptures?

  13. joshua belokur Says:

    hello,
    I’m new to this website, but I thought I would express a protestants point of view who struggles with this very issue, and will, shortly when taking a pastorate, wear clerical garb. I find that the suits that most protestants wear are not acceptable. Firstly because we are not buisness people, we are the called of God. Secondly, and this goes along with my first point, if I wear a suit, the only people that have access to me as a man of God are the people of my perish. I then am only accessable to the “insiders” I want something that marks me, that makes me accessable to all especially those who are not yet Christians. While I am not a Catholic, I do stand in the realm of Christian tradition. I personally believe that we protestants have as some would say “protested” to much, and the line that separates those who are under one God, one Lord, one faith and one church are too great. While I agree that I should not allow folk to address me as a Catholic Priest I believe that is a matter of integrity on my part, and even if I don’t take confession, that doesn’t mean that I am that wrong person to turn to as I am “one who interceeds.”
    I hope this has not been too much rambling.

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