On Clericals

8 August 2008

The Lutheran Zephyr: Clerical Collar Etiquette

I’ve neither worn collar or cassock, but if things vocational continue as they might, I’ll be wearing them a bit and for a while.

I’ve wondered if I would be a collar-wearer: if I’d wear my collar more often than absolutely necessary.

On an unrelated note, I ran across this page. While I’m a fairly anarchistic fellow, I think that the clerical is not a particularly empowering article of clothing. My bow ties and hats are much more empowering than the clerical, I think.

I could be wrong, never having worn a clerical. But it does single the person out. If a regularly clothed person does something rude or unseemly, I’ll think less of it than if a person with a collar did it. I think most people would think as I do.

Not only is the collar a marker of service, but it holds its wearers to a higher standard.

I’m sure some would disagree with me, but that’s my bit. I’ll revisit this, no doubt, once I wear them regularly.

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3 Responses to “On Clericals”

  1. Tripp Says:

    Not that I count, but I think of clericals as liturgical garb. I only wear mine on Sunday for services…or other services as needed.

    I know. I’m Baptist. But it’s a matter of how you understand the bounds of the vocational office. Are you serving as priest? And in what moments?


  2. Traditionalist Orthodox hold that a priest can not appear in public without his clericals – in their case, a cassock, but some jurisdictions allow collars – exactly for the reasons described. It’s kinda of a catch 22: I think ALL CHRISTIANS should be in the world the way people expect clergy to be – as servants. But We’ve been failing for nearly 2K.

    Wearing a collar or a cassock or whatever, at least allows you to be what the rest of us are supposed to be.

    Maybe we should all wear a collar?


  3. Oh, Tripp, you most certainly count.

    I guess I have a slippery sense of vocation. What does it mean to “serve as a priest”? For me at least, there’s a very limited scope of exclusively priestly things: presiding at Eucharist, absolution . . . that might be it, off the top of my head at least.

    On the one hand, any ministry is part of the priestly office. On the other, there are only some things we conventionally call “priestly.”

    I think it’s just an interesting question for any in and around the Church.

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