Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

In viewing some of the photos from my ordination I’ve had several questions about my peculiar clerical garb.

For those interested in questions of clerical haberdashery, I wear an Anglican style cassock as a reminder of my former incarnation in that most venerable, but now faded and jaded denomination. With that I wear a Roman style cincture and over it all, the Benedictine scapular. I am an oblate of Downside Abbey in England, and oblates who are entitled to wear clerical dress may, with the permission of their abbot, wear the Benedictine scapular. Of course, since I’m not a professed monk, I don’t wear the full cowl.

I feel honored to wear the scapular, and on a practical note it makes me look much slimmer than I actually am…

In case you are wondering about the context of this shot, it was taken as I emerged from the woods after a forty day retreat where I lived in a wooden shack and fasted and kept total silence in preparation for my upcoming ordination…

I wish.

In fact, I’d just got home from church and was chasing my son around the yard.

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  • The scapular on top of the cassock makes the whole thing look like some Eastern Orthodox cassocks I’ve seen, further confusing things. :-)My Anglican Franciscan order had a dress habit (tunic and scapular) for formal occasions, which I miss…we Catholic Seculars are very plain, just a cross and pin.

  • Do you wear the cassock all the time? As an Orthodox Priest I usually wear the cassock for formal events at church and out and about but will wear the dog collar during the week for running around town and such. I carry a big stick to parish council meetings. They usually move right along.

  • I wear the cassock and scapular on Sundays and to school on Fridays when we have a whole school mass. Other days I wear clerical shirt with black trousers and jacket.

  • Interesting!I didn’t realise scapulars came in that shape. 🙂

  • Father Dwight, I’ve seen the picture of your son from your ordination – I think you need a bigger stick.:)

  • john, Ha ha. I get enough jokes about my 13 year old son being taller than me! I was chasing the 8 year old…