Thursday, 19 July 2007

So Very Sad...

Fr. Ray Blake has a post on the state of things at the Venerable English College in Rome - unfortunately, it seems that all is not as it should be. It would appear that the powers-that-be at the VEC are stuck in a time-warp somewhere around the 1970s, and they refuse to recognise that the students welcome a more traditional approach to their formation, and still less do they acknowledge the authority of the Holy Father.

For example, the English College students are allowed to wear a cassock for ceremonies outside of the college but not in it.

I can hardly believe how ridiculous this rule is. Pope John Paul II instructed all students in Rome to wear clerical dress when they went out in public. How much more should they be allowed (note I say "allowed" and not "forced") to wear traditional priestly garb for major ceremonies in the College (or anywhere else?) The enforcement of an arbitrary ban of this sort encourages an attitude of disobedience towards one's superiors (if not actual disobedience) which is hardly the sort of attitude one would wish to foster in men training for the sacred priesthood.

This completely ludicrous approach was compounded by the extremely ill-mannered instruction to guests at a recent ordination not to wear a cassock.

Really, how crass is this instruction? If a priest normally wears a cassock for celebrating Mass, then why should he not wear one to an Ordination? Presumably there wasn't any attempt to check whether all priests and deacons were wearing clerical collars, (or even any clerical attire) under their albs? Perhaps someone could enlighten me as to numbers of priests in "mufti" who were turned away from the Ordination...

I would also be interested to know whether the people who thought up this "dress-down" code also issue instructions to female members of the congregation who wear either unsuitably short skirts, indecently low tops or very little around the midriff (or occasionally a combination thereof) to dress more appropriately for Sunday Mass?

...somehow I doubt it.

6 comments:

Mark said...

Mac,

How can we fix this kind of situation? It keeps seeming to me that there is an instruction from a Higher Authority (e.g. the Pope) that is countermanded by lower ones (e.g. the VEC). Another example would be stupid Dioceses misunderstanding Summorum Pontificum and trying to tell Priests they cannot use the 1962 Missal. Heck; if I ever get to PSC they better watch out! ;-)

Christopher said...

Careful Mark- You definitely won't get there saying things like that!

O tempora...

Simon said...

Just to clarify, Pope John Paul II didn't instruct students to wear clerical dress, he instructed those who were candidates for ordination to wear clerical dress. Candidacy is received at different stages in different seminaries.

Mark said...

O Christopher, it's so frustrating! It's self-perpetuating... kooky decision by bishops making certain people 'unsuitable' for holy Orders, thus meaning the next bishops will make as odd decisions!

Tempora? Who's she? (My latin is execrable.)

Andrew said...

Mac, this is the standard practice at our seminary. The seminarians (candidates for ordination, studying philosophy and theology, for those who are particular) are allowed to vest in cassock only when assisting at Mass or at very major celebrations such as at the Chrism Mass or at ordinations.

A friend left to join the contemplative Carmelites because his fondness for the cassock was deemed to clerical.

George said...

Too clerical????!!!! What the *%$*!
Someone needs a real slap from on high. Is it the case that there are not enough candidates for the priesthood in the UK, or more of a case that those who discern a genuine calling are marginalised, made to feel odd and ultimately put-off by the 'liberal 70's kum-ba-ya ecumenical types' who still steadfastly hold on to the power strings. Shameful. Never mind, a goodly (Godly) dose of Latin will soon put things right.

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