Wednesday, August 22, 2018

THE ROMAN COLLAR OR HABIT AS HAIRCLOTH, ASHES AND FLAGELLUM

In 2002 I lived in Augusta during the first media scrutiny of the abuse scandal. I never experienced any negativity, evil looks or shouts when I walked in public in our primarily non Catholic community.

Yesterday one of the South Carolina priests told us that last week as he was in public, two men riding by him rolled down their window and shouted PEDOPHILE!  At Publix he said a women saw him and drew her child closer to herself.

Of course bishops and priests should be making reparation for this grave evil. Ascetic always practices such as prayer and fasting should be prescribed.

For the first time I find it very, very, very uncomfortable wearing my clerics.

We bishops and priests should wear our clerics all the more now, as “haircloth, ashes and flagellum” despite any “buffets and spitting” that might be directed towards us.

What do you think?

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Praying, praying, praying...
Here is the problem: Evil begets evil. The protective bubble has popped, and now the good ones are suffering with the bad.
One has to do the next right thing; and you are. Wear your clerics sacrificially for your brother priests, in reparation for all the victims, but most of all for yourself. You have nothing to hide, so wear your clerics with pride.

Dan said...

Yes, and I wish nuns wore habits. I think it helped vocations.

Joseph Johnson said...

My former pastor, now assigned to a neighboring parish, has stated the same reservations about wearing his clericals now. He also revealed that he had been a victim of abuse, which we never knew.

rcg said...

I think it is because in 2002 you had faith in the heirarchy to do the right thing and now you are not as confident in them.

Gene said...

Flagellum? I don't think you need sperm on your clerics.

TJM said...

Please continue to wear them. It is a sign of witness.

Henry said...

"two men riding by him rolled down their window and shouted PEDOPHILE! At Publix he said a women saw him and drew her child closer to herself."

He might have pointed out to them that the Catholic Church is remarkably free of pedophila, compared with other institutions in our society--perhaps nowhere else are pre-pubescent children safer.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking also that would be a way of offering reparation...but it might be too much to ask?. One thing all priests should do however, is to turn ad orientem when saying Mass. The change to facing east is a less proud, more penitential posture. I would announce it and explain the change just that way. Who could object? Furthermore, it may inspire the congregation also to be more prayerful and less preoccupied with watching the priest perform.

It would be a small thing but still a reminder to the folks that the Catholic clergy is aware of the pain among us. I am convinced this gesture as small as it is might be a way to mark a beginning of our mutual reconciliation with each other and with Jesus Christ the Eternal Priest.

ByzRC said...

Wear your clerics but, at the same time, exercise common sense while doing so. In other words, if you have concerns about wearing them to a particular destination, perhaps err on the side of caution and don't. Getting injured or worse, over clothing and despite the symbolism of that clothing, is unnecessary and counterproductive.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I can't recall ever being "attacked" because I was wearing clerical attire. And I don't feel disinclined to do so in our present circumstances.

That being said, clerical attire does draw attention, good and, I suppose, bad. When I took part in the Atlanta "March for Science" in 2017, I wore my clerical black and a white lab coat. (I majored in biology, so the lab coat was a relic from my past.)

The sign I carried was this quote from St. Pope John Paul II: "Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes." - LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II TO REVEREND GEORGE V. COYNE, S.J. DIRECTOR OF THE VATICAN OBSERVATORY, 1 June 1988.

I had lots of conversations with other participants about the quote, about why I was there, and about why I was dressed as I was. "Are you really a priest?" was often how the conversations started. It provided an opportunity for some good exchanges with some who, I suspect, didn't think they shared much in common with "organized religion."

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, clerics may have to use caution out in public for a while...CNN reported a story of a priest attacked in Indiana by someone invoking the scandals. Probably gives fodder to fundamentalists...we tend these days to associate anti-Catholicism with the Left, but in days of past you could count on some of that from the Right, like in Georgia 100 years ago when Tom Watson was inflaming racial and religious tensions and wanting convents "inspected" to ensure no women were supposedly being held there against their will. Heck, even Episcopal clergy may have to beware as they dress similarly to Roman priests (though Episcopal priests and bishops tend to wear the "dog collars", where the collar is completely visible around the neck, unlike Roman ones who typically only wear a "partial" collar).

I wonder too if we should worry about "copycat accusations", unsavory people claiming they may have been inappropriately touched years ago (without evidence), and it becomes a "he said/he said" battle? Folks do lie, you know. I am not saying that is the cast in Pennsylvania---seems pretty well documented up there---but unsavory people sometimes like to take advantage of a situation...

Anonymous said...

Fr. MJK, we often saw you without clerics around town in Augusta when you were here. In fact, when the Augusta Chronicle ran an article on you soon after you were “installed” at MHT, your picture showed you in the sanctuary pews in a sweater (a lovely one as I recall). Sooo, I’m sure you often escaped notice as a RC priest out in public at least here in Augusta. I don’t know about your time elsewhere. You are of scientistic bent, I’m sure, given your undergraduate degree. Not an advanced degree, yet one that shows your interest. But I would reiterate that question you’ve quoted from Atlanta: “Are you really a priest?”? I was never really sure in the short time you were here.

TJM said...

Kavanaugh,

I ask that question often: Are you really a priest?

Mark Thomas said...

I have explored their initial responses from supposed "leading" "traditional" Catholic bloggers/Twitter folks to the then-breaking news in regard to the McCarrick Scandal.

Said folks assured us that "everybody" had known for decades that homosexual predators had dominated the Church.

Just a few weeks ago, said folks, who today have insisted that they are "SHOCKED...STUNNED" in regard to the McCarrick Scandal, as well as the Pennsylvania Report, were not "SHOCKED...STUNNED" in regard to the reality of predator priests.

Example:

Rorate Caeli said:

"Uncle Ted", as he asked the boys, young men, and priests he abused to call him, is unfortunately not alone.

"His is just the latest in a long line of homosexual predators who dominated for decades the U.S. Church...And, even worse, all this perversion is fully known to bishops around the country and around the world who are not only complicit in the abuse machine, but, as McCarrick, are themselves members of this clan."

==================================================================================

A long line of homosexual predators" has existed within the Church for decades. That "fact" has been "fully known" around "the country and world."

But fast-forward to today. Everyone is shocked suddenly in regard to the scandals in question.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

Memories of newspaper photos can be such unreliable things, don't you think?

http://www.augustachronicle.com/stories/2010/01/23/rel_564352.shtml

Anonymous said...

Gene,

Was that necessary;
Was that fair?

That sweeping, nasty insult says more about you than any Catholic priest.

If even 50% of priests had molested children how many countless priests would there still be who are chaste, holy men?

The main cause of this disaster is that over past 40 odd years most Catholic bishops , the clear majority ,have been weak, pathetic cowards.

Personally, looking ahead I see a possible solution as a return to the more ancient Eastern tradition; let diocesan priests marry and have children any just let monks strive to live lives of chaste celibacy.

AJP.

Joseph Johnson said...

Anonymous at 6:03,
Regarding your observation about Episcopal clerics in their "dog collars" and Catholic priests in their "partial" collars:

If you look at pictures of Roman Catholic priests from the late 1800's into the 1940's or so (when detachable shirt collars were more common in the general wardrobes of men) you will often see them wearing plain white clerical collars with their black suits. It was only when they wore a special clerical vest or a cassock that the black "military" collar of those outer garments covered the sides of the white clerical collar. Somewhere along the line, the black "collarette" came into use which could be used with a black clerical neckband or tunic shirt (a shirt made for detachable collars). The collarette attached to the white full clerical collar to cover the sides, leaving that familiar white square in the front. Later than that (about 1960) the "Gleason" or tab collar shirt was introduced (a shirt with an attached black collar and a white plastic front insert, simulating the gap showing a square of white collar on a cassock, clerical vest or collarette).
Today, we see both styles (full white collar with cassock, collarette or vest) being worn by Catholic priests or the later, and easier to use, tab collar style). It has been my observation that the full clerical collar (called the rabat style) is a more formal style and is generally favored by more conservative or tradition-minded priests and is also (for some reason not known to me) more often worn by bishops.

Joseph Johnson said...

Anonymous at 6:03,
The rabat was/is a black piece of cloth that attaches to the front of the white collar to bridge the gap between the bottom of the collar and the front opening of a suit vest or the front collar opening of a cassock or clerical vest (to hide a white shirt front). Additionally, I'm quite sure that in the late 1800's--early 1900's a priest could simply go into any men's clothing or dry goods store and purchase what was then a regular layman's white starched collar and simple wear it in reverse as a clerical collar--it wasn't necessarily a specialty item in say, 1920.

John Nolan said...

By the way, its 'clericals' when referring to clerical garments. 'Clerics' are the men who wear them.

Kudos to Fr Kavanaugh for publicly demonstrating that science and religion are not incompatible.

Anonymous said...

How about this Friday prayer and fasting includes abstaining from www blog and all social media etc for 24 hours.

My daughter last Lent at a private Catholic high school, where she is largely taught proven failed theological garbage, abstained from all social media and iphone use etc for 40 days;
unashamedly claiming: see you after Lent......

And such a child could have been betrayed !!

Farewell RC Western Church, I am now seeking an Eastern Church which has legitimate links to the Church of Rome but how tenuous or miniscule I no longer care.

EFC.

Anonymous said...

How about this Friday prayer and fasting includes abstaining from www blog and all social media etc for 24 hours.

My daughter last Lent at a private Catholic high school, where she is largely taught proven failed theological garbage, abstained from all social media and iphone use etc for 40 days;
unashamedly claiming: see you after Lent......

And such a child could have been betrayed !!

Farewell RC Western Church, I am now seeking an Eastern Church which has legitimate links to the Church of Rome but how tenuous or miniscule I no longer care.

EFC.

Anonymous said...

Thunder from down under.

I am not a company man but a mere soldier, retired.

I am 99% certain some recent comments on this blog are definitely not from Fr Kavanagh, who deserves to have his priesthood respected if not his opinions on most things, but from a relative's friend..... I introduced that relative to this blog and he is a highly educated lapsed Catholic who may know XYZ but does not know enough theology to package in a match box.
Some recent comments have the whiff of a certain type of ex priest or someone from Manly or CIS who is still a priest but who abandoned true teaching not on principle but as a result of following a fad which bought more popularity on earth .......but it is being popular with God that matters. Their days are numbered, like all of us, thank God......

Please pray tonight for a fine priest and chaplain, Fr Mark of Wollongong. Educated, orthodox, brave and......a true priest.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the truest words are, from all faiths...

"The character of a man is judged by the health and wealth of his wife."

After supporting the traditional view regarding the celibacy of Catholic priests, for past and recent decades, enough is enough !!

Let Catholic priests marry and even have children BEFORE ordination.

Dennis M.

TJM said...

MT,

You are now becoming an apologist for gays in the priesthood because your Golden Calf has often looked the other way and is now trying to lay some of the blame off on to the laity, even though we didn't insert our penis' into the boys' rectums.Grow uo

Anonymous said...

Memories of newspaper photographs can be peculiar, don't you think?

http://www.augustachronicle.com/stories/2010/01/23/rel_564352.shtml

Looks pretty recognizable to me....!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Fr. MJK, we often saw you without clerics around town in Augusta when you were here."

Yes, I'm sure you did.

"Sooo, I’m sure you often escaped notice as a RC priest out in public at least here in Augusta."

Only when I was out in public without clerical attire, as when I was working in the yard, going to/from the gym, attending a movie, etc.

"You are of scientistic bent, I’m sure, given your undergraduate degree. Not an advanced degree, yet one that shows your interest."

I'd say "scientific." No, after a year of graduate studies in freshwater biology with an emphasis on freshwater insects, I was accepted as a seminarian for our diocese. I do keep up with the debate between Evolution/Creationism and am grateful to have had serious education on both sides. Nowadays I don't read science journal articles, but I do enjoy good histories of science. Some are "The Ghost Map," "A Guinea Pig's History of Biology," "The Emperor of All Maladies," and "The Gene - An Intimate History."

Anonymous said...

What punishing puns.

What pods from what ponds would you or could you have completed your doctored ate?

If a scuba suit could be found in a clerical cut, would you be interested ?

Spiked Mulligan.

Marc said...

FRMJK, you might be interested in a recent book published by an SSPX seminary professor who has a background in science and philosophy: https://therealistguide.com/.

I'm not being sarcastic -- you might actually be interested in it since you mentioned your interest in the creationism/evolution debate. While I haven't made much headway with it, yet, I understand this priest has drawn some ire amongst traditionalists for some of his positions in this book.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

From a Q&A with the author: "Answer: It is true that it is part of Catholic belief that Adam was created directly by God,..."

Fr. Robinson believes that humans did not evolve and that Catholic must believe that humans did not evolve. I disagree with him on both points.

Thanks for the suggestion, though.

Anonymous said...

Joe Johnson, Anonymous at 603 appreciates your explanation of the collar--I wasn't around in the 1940s so the history lesson was useful.

I like the purple shirts Episcopal bishops wear---maybe Catholic bishops should consider the same, showing distinction with priests. And the variety of suits---black, gray, khaki, etc.

In any event, whatever type of collar worn, I hope we don't have lots of clergy accosted by folks with uncharitable attitudes, whether from the secular Left or Fundamentalist Right!

Marc said...

Of course he believes those things, he's a Catholic priest.

Gene said...

I really do not see that some kind of evolutionary process is inconsistent with Christian theology. Augustine was certainly aware of the issue when he posited his idea of "rationalis seminalis," or rational seeds. Scripture does not purport to explain scientifically just how God arranged everything. At some point, there was a first couple and God created them. That is sufficient. Far too much time is wasted on the evolutionary debate which, to me, is a false issue. There are far more important moral and theological issues that need consideration and about which the flock needs education and guidance. Abortion, sexual sins (both heterosexual and homosexual), our culture's obsession with sex, drugs, and violence, and the anti-life spirit abroad in the world that is supported, inadvertently or knowingly, by both political parties. Be reminded, once again that, when Satan offered Jesus possession of and control over all the kingdoms of the world, Christ never questioned Satan's ownership or his right to offer them. So much for politics, conservative or liberal, as having solutions to our problems.

Anonymous said...

With company men we have to be aware of the, at times, method in their madness. Sorry about that pun, Gene. For years you and John N have been my favourite commentators here.

Any Yale or Cambridge graduates here tonight?

FX.

PS:

The skull and cross bones were originally pirates.
And the real 12 apostles all died almost 2,000 years ago.

Thanks, Gene, please stick around here occasionally.
"Christ never questioned Satan's ownership.....of the kingdoms of THIS world".

So true.

Again, regards,

FX

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"I really do not see that some kind of evolutionary process is inconsistent with Christian theology."

Gene, neither does the Catholic Church. There are certainly matters that are of theological importance - the doctrine of Original Sin being, maybe, the most notable - that have to be taken into account when considering the analogy of faith and Darwinian evolution.

The "debate" is not entirely a waste of time, especially if one has a scientific inclination and a desire to see kids get sound education in science classes.

TJM said...

People have forgotten that one of the world's finest scientists, Gregor Mendel, was an Augustinian monk and the father of modern genetics. Fauth and science are not mutually exclusive.

Anonymous said...

Small point, but Augustinians are friars, not monks.

"Friars are different from monks in that they are called to live the evangelical counsels (vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience) in service to society, rather than through cloistered asceticism and devotion. Whereas monks live in a self-sufficient community, friars work among laypeople and are supported by donations or other charitable support. A monk or nun makes their vows and commits to a particular community in a particular place. Friars commit to a community spread across a wider geographical area known as a province, and so they will typically move around, spending time in different houses of the community within their province."