Sunday, July 02, 2006

Why I wear a cassock

We had some visitors from a neighboring parish at Mass today. At the community building event afterwards (coffee and doughnuts), they asked me why I wear a cassock. Not the first time I have been asked this question.

I have always liked them. I even tried to wear one at the seminary but only succeeded in getting them banned. (Too 'Pre-Vatican II' for the then administration.) Once I was ordained though, out of the closet it came. I have taken heat for it, almost exclusively from priests and women religious.

Why do I wear it?

1-By wearing it I let everyone know immediately who and what I am--a Roman Catholic priest. Clerical suits are worn by just about anyone these days, but a cassock--that is almost exclusively Catholic. (I was mistaken for an Orthodox once by an old lady at a nursing home. But that is ok, they have valid orders.) Many times people just come up to me in the airport or at a store and start talking. It is a great way to evangelize and be availible as a priest.

2-By wearing a cassock I am embracing a poverty of appearence. A cassock is not high fashion. It is just there. Like a religious habit, it submerges my personal identity in my vocational.

3-It is comfortable. I admit it. I hate suits. They rank with dental work on the scale of things I don't like. A cassock on the other hand is comfortable. It isn't tight. It is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. And it is easy to throw on over sweats for those midnight sick calls.
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