Friday, September 18, 2015


As some of you may know, I have an antipathy for birettas. I don't know why, maybe because I was forced to wear a military hat and uniform in the first grade at Saint Anthony School in the West End of Atlanta in the l959-60 school year. You know how children can be scared for life by these sorts of experiences.

But with that said, I really like these pre-Vatican II inculturated birettas.


Anonymous said...

What a cute photo, Father!

John Nolan said...

Oddly enough, Vatican II coincided with the general abandonment by both sexes of headgear except on formal occasions or with uniform. By the way, no gentleman should be seen dead in a baseball cap or a 'beanie'. The Roman 'saturno' looks good with a cassock and gives protection from the sun - Gammarelli do one in black straw. It's similar to the 'shovel hat' worn by 19th century English clergymen.

The biretta in its various forms is not just part of liturgical dress (where it's making a comeback) but also part of academic dress, particularly in Europe (as is the mozzetta), and legal dress (it's worn by advocates in the Channel Islands and was considered, but rejected, for female English barristers in 1922 when women were admitted to the Bar).

rcg said...

John, I wore a beret or a flight cap for most of my adult life. I now wear a flat cap because it covers the very thin hair on my plate. But perhaps I am a failed gentleman because in summer months I often wear a billed cap to help keep the sun out of my eyes while driving. I do have two wide brim hats for occasions that demand it, but when such hats disappeared from common use so did convenient ways to stow them.

Joseph Johnson said...

I wore one of those flat military caps (like Fr. McDonald's school picture) in the Boy Scouts but my personal favorite was the then (and still now) optional long-time traditional hat of Scouting, the felt campaign hat. I remember mowing yards to get the money I needed to buy that fine, Stetson-made Boy Scout hat.

I wore a felt fedora to work today, as well. Of course, I think the use of birettas, saturnos (or any other kind of long-time historical headwear being continued or revived in current day use) is just cool!.

My cancer surgery on August 13 went very well and I have worked part of this week. I ask for your continued prayers as I begin six weeks of follow-up radiation and a low level of chemotherapy next week.

Jdj said...

Joseph, so good to hear from you--I have indeed been praying for you and will continue to!