Dress Us, O Lord: On Deacons and Clerical Attire

The Deacon's Bench | 6/29/2019 | Staff
boti (Posted by) Level 3
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On Facebook this morning, some deacons were discussing the wearing of “clerical garb.” A deacon wrote:

“We in the Archdiocese of San Francisco received official word from the archbishop’s office that at the recent USCCB meeting the National Directory for the Permanent Diaconate was revised and approved. The bishops decided to keep the prior decision that the proper dress of permanent deacons was “lay attire” (dress like the people whom they serve).

Archbishop - Collar - Ministries - Sunday - Masses

So whereas prior to this our archbishop encouraged us to wear the collar for our ministries and Sunday Masses we will now now longer be allowed to do so. It is reserved to a few restricted situations where the collar and GRAY shirt (not black) are to be worn. The now official clerical dress for deacon is stated as “the deacon lapel pin” (sounds to me like the1970’s Sisters shedding the habit for lay clothes and “identity pins”). For liturgical rites outside of Mass (including wakes & burials) we are to wear alb or cassock/surplice and stole.”

That prompted this response from the great Deacon Bill Ditewig, which I reprint here with his kind permission:

Policy - National - Directory - Prerogative - Bishop

1) There is NO new policy in the revised National Directory. It remains the prerogative of the diocesan bishop to establish whatever policy he determines best for his diocese. This has been the position of the USCCB since the very first “Guidelines” were published (the so-called “green book”) back in 1971.

At times, including during my tenure on the USCCB staff, attempts were made to made to establish either a regional or national policy on deacons and clerical attire; the full body of bishops voted such proposals down each and every time — and resoundingly! The reason was that each bishop wanted to retain autonomy over that decision. It was also brought out that there is no national...
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