A Visible Sign: The Roman Collar


This is a repost from a Facebook note which Leinad Castrence Garces, one of my former mates at the Philosophy department of the University of San Carlos, posted.

The original post can be found on the Roman Catholic Vocations blog.

A Visible Sign: The Roman Collar
The Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, prepared by the Congregation for the Clergy and approved by Pope John Paul II on January 31, 1994 has this to say:

In a secularized and tendentiously materialistic society, where even the external signs of sacred and supernatural realities tend to bedisappearing, the necessity is particularly felt that the priest-man of God, dispenser of His mysteries-should be recognizable in the sight of the community, even through the clothing he wears, as an unmistakable sign of his dedication and of his identity as arecipient of a public ministry. The priest should be recognizable above all through his behavior, but also through his dressing in away that renders immediately perceptible to all the faithful, even to all men, his identity and his belonging to God and to the Church.
When collars were quickly taken off a few decades ago, the common argument proclaimed was, “What’s really important is what’s inside me . . . I don’t need an article of clothing to define my priesthood”.
Let us examine the importance of the Roman Collar.
The Roman Collar is a clerical collar that should be worn by all ranks of clergy. Bishops, priests, transitional deacons, and seminarians who have been admitted to candidacy for the priesthood (as is the case in the Diocese of Rome and many other Seminaries throughout the world). Apart from entirely exceptional circumstances, the non-use of clerical clothing on the part of the cleric can manifest a weak sense of his own identity as a pastor completely dedicated to the service of the Church.
Rev. Ken Collin’s, explains that “clothing conveys a message. A business suit says, ‘Money!’ A police uniform says, ‘Law!’ A tuxedo says, ‘Wedding!’ Casual clothing says, ‘Me!’ Clericals say, ‘Church!’ “
A priest is never ‘off-duty’ when he puts on the Roman Collar. Any occassion he is in can be turned into a pastoral ministry. Whenever a priest has his collar one, he no longer needs words to explain his presence. It is unlikely that anyone would stop a Roman Catholic priest with his collar on from entering a hospital after visiting hours or bar him from crossing the yellow tape at an accident scene.
A priests’ ministry is unending and there are no definate working hours. Casualness about being publicly identified as a priest of the Catholic Church may signify a desire to distance himself from his priestly vocation. The collar becomes ‘workclothes,’ which are put away when one is not ‘on duty.’ The functionalistic notion of the priesthood revealed by this attitude is in contradiction to the ontological configuration to Christ the High Priest conferred by priestly ordination. Furthermore, to have a ‘split personality’ is never healthy. No priest can temporarily put his priesthood on the shelf.

With this visible symbol of his sacred ministry around his neck, the priest allows the faithful to approach him no matter where he is; be it at the cafe having his morning cuppa or at the grocers picking up some provisions.

A person can make a confession and be reconcilled to God, a young teen may ask a quick question about the faith and be strengthened, an lost soul may come up to the priest and ask, “Father, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”, a businessman may receive a blessing before his flight, etc… Christ’s faithful (and even those outside the fold) deserve nothing less. Lay people depend on their priests for spiritual support andstrength. They feel that something is not right when their priests try to blend into the crowd and, as it were, disappear.

Many priests often say that their people are adverse to the Collar. Well, trying to ‘blend-in’ isn’t really the solution. Allowing the reactions of others affect the priest’s decision to wear the collar is only allowing the problem to fester unresolved. Could it be that some think that what the collar signifies- Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, the priesthood- are obstacles? Priests must relate to others as priests, never in spite of being priests.

“A white collar on a priest’s neck should remind him of a ring and collar – his marriage to Christ and to the Church and giving his freedom to Christ, thus letting him control his life. We, priests, wear a collar because we want to be directed by Christ in all things. Please notice that our collars are white as opposed to our cassocks. In the background of a black robe it is a symbol of the light of resurrection. We go through the world giving up baubles and colours, living the hope of participation in the brightness of resurrection. This white collar in the background of our black dress is actually a sign of our desires and aspirations.” Rev. Fr. Andrzej Przybylski.

We use symbols all the time, and need not be embarrassed by them. To obediently and humbly wear the collar expresses one’s submission to the authority of God and his Holy Church.

Dear Rev. Fathers, please display the desire to manifest the presence of the Savior to a world gone mad… The reward is to be able to lead others to Christ is significant. Be aware that the priestly work you now do will not suffer but will be enhanced when you dress according to the venerable custom of the Church.

 

To add to that, I know of a priest whose uncle always tells him to wear his cassock. The priest’s uncle often chides him by saying that “Vatican II never abrogated the use of the cassock.” As a result, whenever the priest tags along other priests for a visit to his uncle, he always reminds them to wear their cassocks.

Let us remember that the cassock and the collar are symbolic of a life dedicated and consecrated to God and Holy Mother Church.

Ave Maria!

-Luigi Flores

Advertisements

About Luigi Flores
Brother Luigi Flores: Writer/Editor. Mass Communication Instructor. Voice-over Artist. Upcoming Radio Host. Youth Minister. Lector/Psalmist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

onion-skinned.com

Who's crying now?

THE TENS

Philippine's Version of Top Ten of Everything

NewsFeed

Breaking news and updates from Time.com. News pictures, video, Twitter trends.

CNS Blog

More news and views from Catholic News Service

Nothingness to Existence

Though My life in this world was full of nothingness; But, my existence shall be theirs and make it nothingless

yournextdoorcebuana

Layback. Smile. Enjoy. This is Life

finchjapoy73

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

carmelorepollo

A Music for all. Just for fun to all Musicians

AZ Media Maven

Marketing the written word

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Responsorial Psalms

by Lionel Valdellon

Dear Cebu

A letter for the Queen City of the South

musmos

snapshots & glimpses of my life

THE SPLENDOR OF THE CHURCH

"Proclaiming the Truth, Beauty, Grandeur and Majesty of the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church"

louvilove

A topnotch WordPress.com site

clotildajamcracker

The wacky stories of a crazy lady.

JamesVahn007

Singer / Performer / Real Estate Agent / Radio DJ Wannabe / Production Assistant / Host-Emcee Wannabe / Photographer Wannabe / Blogger

%d bloggers like this: