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'There's always behind him the Roman collar and the silk bib, and you don't believe in him,' Father Consett went on, 'yet he knows ten--a thousand times!--more of human nature than ever you can.'

This quote, from the book Parade's End, set me to thinking - was the cassock ever the typical dress of priests in Great Britain? This picture of Monsignor Knox, for instance, shows him in a black suit, bib and collar, while my grandmother's Jesuit priests (before the Council) wore a black suit, bib and collar and at times a sort of long gown (I think they were called wings - you can see them in Brideshead Revisited, the old series).

[Image: knox1.jpg]
Cardinal Newman seems to have worn a cassock as a priest, though I'm not sure whether that was indeed typical for English priests.
Generally in Anglo-Saxon countries (U.S. and U.K.) the Catholic clerical street dress was trousers, a full rabbat (black vest front), Roman collar, and a long black coat.

The Anglicans were the ones who wore the cassock, so the Catholics took to wearing the clerical suit instead to differentiate themselves.

Here is a drawing from a 1935 U.S. catalog. The longer coat is more traditional, but priest had begun using leisure suit coats in place of the longer coat by that point. These are also single-breasted coats, whereas the more traditional was generally (but not required to be) double-breasted. Also, the jacket or rabbat rarely covered the collar, leaving the whole thing white. Later, the top of the rabbat was cut to reproduce the look of the cassock (as is the case today).

[Image: Mvc-001f.jpg]

House dress (what the priest would wear in the rectory, church, religious houses and when performing any of his sacramental duties) would be the cassock. Thus it was very common that sacristies would have several cassocks therein, for the priest to put on before going to hear confessions, say Mass, or participate in some ceremony in the church.

They would also typically wear outdoors a black top hat in place of the biretta or saturnalia

[Image: 3254.jpg]
To furthur along the explaination,or just to add a side note, the Third Baltimore Conference(from where the Catechism of that name came) of 1872 set as a norm for streetwear the clerical suit as has been described.  The cassock was not permitted to be worn out on the public way at least partly due to the ridcule and scorn that would come from some non-Catholics, since this is a non-Catholic country.  That is how it was until Vatican II and many traditional priests(largely sedevacantist) will not, at least as a rule, wear the cassock out into public, save a car ride to another Catholic destination of sorts.
  I believe in Quebec that the cassock was acceptable wear before VII, like many Catholic countries in Europe.

Joe
Wow, I learn something new everyday.  Thanks for the info. 

In a way though, I find this very disappointing - or at least wonder if I haven't gotten too hung up on clerical dress as a mark of orthodoxy.
joe17 Wrote:  I believe in Quebec that the cassock was acceptable wear before VII, like many Catholic countries in Europe.

Joe
Yeah.
Unfortunately in Windsor presently even our very orthodox bi-ritual Ukrainian priest wears the priest's suit even at a meeting of the Latin Mass community there in the church's basement. Alas, that's life.
(01-07-2013, 07:59 PM)GodFirst Wrote: [ -> ]
joe17 Wrote:  I believe in Quebec that the cassock was acceptable wear before VII, like many Catholic countries in Europe.

Joe
Yeah.
Unfortunately in Windsor presently even our very orthodox bi-ritual Ukrainian priest wears the priest's suit even at a meeting of the Latin Mass community there in the church's basement. Alas, that's life.

Are you suggesting that keeping the traditional custom of clerical dress is somehow a bad thing?

If a clerical suit is the customary non-liturgical attire (as it has been in the UK, US, and much of Canada, among other placed), then what is the problem with wearing it?
(01-08-2013, 12:21 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-07-2013, 07:59 PM)GodFirst Wrote: [ -> ]
joe17 Wrote:  I believe in Quebec that the cassock was acceptable wear before VII, like many Catholic countries in Europe.

Joe
Yeah.
Unfortunately in Windsor presently even our very orthodox bi-ritual Ukrainian priest wears the priest's suit even at a meeting of the Latin Mass community there in the church's basement. Alas, that's life.

Are you suggesting that keeping the traditional custom of clerical dress is somehow a bad thing?

If a clerical suit is the customary non-liturgical attire (as it has been in the UK, US, and much of Canada, among other placed), then what is the problem with wearing it?
I just don't like it is all.
I think what GodFirst wants to say is that the modern clerical suit looks stupid and lacks the dramatic flair of the cassock. That's what I would say, anyway. At least the old clerical suits were required to be of knee-length. We should return to that, rather than have clergy wear what amount to sack suits. Yawn.
Better a sack suit with a collar than a Jesuitical polo shirt.  That's my motto.
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