26 April 2010

Marathon: Soon

Apologies for the light posting lately -- I'll get back on track soon.

6 days out of the marathon and I'm feeling good.  Weather looks to be alright.  Mid-70s as a high and possible thunderstorms during the day.  Not terrific, but I'll take it.


Anonymous said...

Aren't some Franciscans and other Orders besides the Carmelites considered "discalced?" Is it that some communities are and others are not? I remember years ago in the 50's and 60's friars wearing sandals quite often even not in the most clement weather. Now most of them don't seem to wear sandals very often, if at all. Is it now or was it always a matter of choice or was it part of the Rule or a tradition that changed? Part of modernization? I remember reading in an online history of religious orders that there had been a long standing controversey among Franciscans whether having to wear sandals discouraged vocations and was unfair to friars in colder climes like Britain and Northern Europe. So have wondered whether it was an "official" change or a drift from tradition.

mtjofmcap said...

Discalced means "without shoes." Other than the Carmelites, I've never heard of another order that actually used the term "discalced" to describe a branch. I'm rather deficient in my Carmelite history, but there are branches/communities of Carmelites who are are either Carmelites or Discalced Carmelites. I get the impression that the Discalced take a more monastic approach to their charism.

As for Franciscans, Francis wrote that brothers should go without shoes if they were able, but to wear sandals if they were not able to do so.

I'm not particuarly sure when such matters were no longer legislated in the Capuchin constitutions. My guess is that revisions of the 20the century changed this.

I can tell you that there is no current legislation in the Capuchin Constitutions regarding sandals. Similiarly, the beard, a long-time Capuchin requirement, is no longer mandatory, but subject to the principle of pluriformity.

As for my own humble opinion, I find friars of any stripe not wearing sandals to be neither something officially legislated nor necessarily a drift from tradition, if one uses the word "drift" in the normal perjorative sense.

Friars wearing comfortable, durable and low-profile brown shoes due to weather, medical needs or safety seems to be sensible. I, myself, wear sandals often -- whenever it gets over 50 degrees or so, but that's just more.

On a slightly ironic note, I find the wearing of white socks with sandals to be more of a problem (just kidding, but only sort of!).

I hope this answers your question, as paltry as my facts might be.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reponse. I had wondere about it because back in the 50's and 60's I lied near a Franciscan friary. Except in wintry weather it was rare to see most of the friars wearing shoes or even socks with their sandals (don't recall seeing white socks.)However there were a couple firars who always wore shoes even then,but they were a notable exception and it was thought to be a medical reason. Their footwear was always noticed since at that time sandals were not seen on men unlike today in the flip-flop age.

There are far fewer friars today, and I seldom see one wearing sandals, so I wondered why there had been the change. Now that I think of it,there may well have been a temperature point at which shoes were worn outdoors as you mentioned. We never knew if the sandals were mandatory or a matter of choice.

Although I'm a nonbeliever and I certainly have my differences with the Catholic Church, I've always admired the friars for their good works and kindness, their obvious dedication to their beliefs. This piqued my interest and prompted some reading about the Order and its Rule and traditions, but there was not much information about any changes in the recent past.

Thanks again for the information and best wishes.

Anonymous said...

I noticed in your resposne to the sandal question, you stated: "I, myslf, wear sandals often----" From this I would assume that you wear your habit often or else,not likely, you wear sandals with your clerical suit and "civvies."

The sandal writer mentioned a controversey among Franciscans over the wearing of sandals, but isn't there a present ontroversey over the wearing of the habit when not "on duty" or not performing an official function? It seems many friars only wear their habits occasionally, and when not "on duty" dress casually in jeans, khackis, pullover shirts, athletic or casual shoes as do diocesean priests.

Also one sees often blue jeans under the robe and sneakers on the feet. (Not to mention those white socks with sandals, LOL) Other than the instances you mention, aren't sandals the appropriate footwear with the habit? And when "should" the habit be worn? I suppose one wouldn't necessarly want to be seen as a priest at all times and in every situation, but it just seems that seeing priests in the black suits and collars and the Franciscans, et al., in their traditional habits more often would be a good thing.

I noticed when in Italy that I was much more aware of the prescence of priests and friars in the community whether a small town or Rome.It actually felt reassuring to see them in some numbers because it made the Church seem less moribund and withdrawn from daily life than it does in North America. Even in Los Angeles, with the most Catholics of any U.S. city and the largest archdiocese in the nation, one can go quite a while without seeing a recognizable priest or friar. I don't know if this is a result of "modernization" of the church as an attempt to have the clergy seem less removed and more like the laity or just similiar decisions being made by individual clergy. I've heard it suggested that it might be due to the recent scandals, but I discount this because the phenomenon preceded the public awareness of the scandals by a significant period.

Today in any big city one is certainly aware of the Muslim population due to the fact that so many cling to their traditional styles of dress. Since Catholics or Christians don't have a particular style of dress they adhere to and since the Catholic and Christion clergy seem to have eschewed clercal attire for normal wear, the faith seems more remote from daily life.

A few weeks ago on the UCLA campus I saw two "full fledged" friars (robes, knotted cords, open sandals on bare feet)walking across a busy area of the campus. This was during one of the media blitzes on the scandals and the Hierarchy. Yet I observed or heard no insulting gestures or comments to or about the two men as they made their way through the crowds of students, faculty, and visitors. However, there were a couple "Hi, Fathers. several respectful nods, and a couple teasing comments about where they got their pedicures. They may have been just visitors to the campus and the city. I say this because it's hard to imagine local priests or friars doing it because I certainly hadn't seen it before.

Like I said, it's understandable not to want be indentified as a priest or friar every minute, but I think it's unfortunate that the community isn't a bit more aware of their presence in our midst. These two were also relatively young men in their late 20s/early 30s which was also a refreshing sight. There are still vocations among young men and even to the more rigorous life of a friar.

As a young man yourself, where do you stand on the question? More wearing of clerical attire or tradtional religious habits in "everday" situations? Less of it? Status quo?


Luke C.

mtjofmcap said...


Those are quite a few points you brought up there and I'm going to need a little bit of time to chew over them.

As my grandmother always said, "Never try to shoot the gun without bullets."

Look for a new post on this in the near future. Promise.