08 September 2010

A Response to a Comment (From May)

A while back, a commenter referenced my own comments on sandals, wearing the religious habit and clerical dress in general.  His entire comment can be found here.

His question was this:

Like I said, it's understandable not to want be identified 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 traditional religious habits in "everyday" situations? Less of it? Status quo?

I know that I promised a response a long time ago, but I decided with good reasons, I think, not to respond.   First of all, the novitiate is a highly charged ideological atmosphere.  I didn't find myself to be in an appropriate space to make comments on an issue that can bring out the worst (and best) of religious.  I also felt uncomfortable not being in vows, nor having any real world experience of wearing the habit and making a comment on whether or not Capuchins should be wearing it in this setting or that.

That being said...


I've come to believe that wearing the habit in ministerial settings, prayerful settings or institutional settings provide a positive Gospel witness to those around you.  I've also come to believe that wearing the habit in these situations also reminds me that I am to be a witness to Christ at all times.  When I'm wearing the habit (either publicly or just around the friary), I find myself to be more aware of how my actions reflect upon the the friars, the church and yes, Jesus.

That being said, I'm still working out the idea of wearing the habit in "everyday" situations.  If I need to run to CVS, should I put on the habit specifically for the trip?  I'm not sure, but I don't think so.  I'm not particularly sure why not.  Is it my own discomfort with standing out?  Is it a worry that my purchase of a food item makes me feel guilty when the clerk ringing up my item can't afford it?  

These are the questions to which I do not yet have answers.  In the meantime, I'll keep thinking.

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