Anglican Clerical Attire

In a fascinating posting by Deborah Gyapong, From a comment threat over at Fr. Smuts’ blog, a suggestion is made:

And I wonder, too, if the TAC bishops will stop wearing Roman Catholic ecclesial attire? Maybe Fr. Anthony can do a post on his blog about what Anglican priestly and episcopal attire should look like.

Nothing is simpler, since the clergy of the Church of England for the most part continue to wear traditional English attire for Mattins, Evensong and assisting in choir at services of other Churches. I have occasionally been invited to assist in choir at baptism and wedding services of my family-in-law here in France, so I dress in this fashion.

And here is the bishop’s choir habit:

Here is the so-called Sarum cassock:

Of course, for Mass, a priest would wear an amice, alb, girdle, maniple, stole and chasuble. I prefer plain albs with no lace and a sober gothic or fiddleback chasuble depending on what the church has in its vestry.

Update: This posting and the posting by Deborah Gyapong that inspired it have been commented upon by Fr Smuts, Will ‘the TAC bishops will stop wearing Roman Catholic ecclesial attire?’. Is the real issue knowing whether I “support” Deborah Gyapong or the TAC bishops in their intent to inculpate Archbishop Hepworth and exonerate themselves? It may be a surprise to some, but I am not interested in the way TAC bishops dress.

In the end of the day, I don’t care what bishops and priests of any church wear. Someone is always copying someone, whatever you do. Each to his own…

Another form of clerical dress, to crew in a regatta for Aid to the Church in Need (I’m standing on the weather beam of the boat holding a shroud). By the way, I’m not in a woman’s skirt but in a pair of bermuda shorts! 🙂

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11 Responses to Anglican Clerical Attire

  1. Pingback: Will ‘the TAC bishops will stop wearing Roman Catholic ecclesial attire?’ « Fr Stephen Smuts

  2. Stephen says:

    How about the Canterbury Cap or clerical coif? I always thought they looked far superior to the biretta.

  3. ed pacht says:

    “In the end of the day, I don’t care what bishops and priests of any church wear. Someone is always copying someone, whatever you do. Each to his own…”

    Couldn’t agree more as a matter of principle, but in practice I do have preferences. I’ve never liked the rather Italianate over-elaboration that has permeated the Roman Church, and I wish Anglicans could somehow manage to stick to the heritage we claim to be following with the simple and dignified choir dress that we inherited from pre-reformation days, without lace, without the persnickety details of garb for each “rank” of the priesthood, and with fullness and gracefulness of cut.

    It’s no big deal, and I will (and do) put up with all sorts of exotic garb imported from elsewhere, but I cannot manage to like it. There’s a beauty and a dignity in traditional Anglican vesture that is rarely seen elsewhere.

  4. Is there a parallel in the form and prayers of the Ordinariate Mass? I have attended “Newby” Ordinariate Masses where the Book of Common Prayer is almost absent and I miss its Poetic cadences and its economy of words.Wasn’t Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict indicating that they want the BCP and that its part of the heritage of England’s contribution to the English-speaking Catholic Church? Instead I’m attending a very high and long medieval affair that has zilch in common with the BCP… Just Sayin’

    • William Tighe says:

      “Wasn’t Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict indicating that they want the BCP and that its part of the heritage of England’s contribution to the English-speaking Catholic Church?”

      Not to my knowledge, no; and likewise I have no idea how such an idea could have arisen, given the Protestant/Reformed ideas underlying the 1552 and 1662 BCPs.

    • MP says:

      Yes, I saw something similar on the Internet, about two years ago. Pope Benedict had been an admirer of certain elements in the BCP. He was said to appreciate a copy of the Anglican Breviary as well. I don’t recall coming across anything about Pope John Paul II. I understood his command of English was not as secure as Pope Benedict’s.

  5. Pingback: In case you did not see this post over at Fr. Chadwick’s site | Foolishness to the world

  6. Steve Olsen says:

    Traditionally, I understand, the white robe of faith & forgiveness covers the black robe of sin and death. The long scarf should be in the color of the church season.
    As ever,
    Steve O.

    • Many allegorical interpretations of liturgical ceremonies, vestments and clerical dress came out in the middle ages. The origin was invariably Roman civil dress and more prosaic explanations. As we want and whatever we find useful in our spiritual life.

      However, the black scarf is an article of choir dress, a variant of the almuce. This was a furry scarf carried on the left arms of canons. Its origin was a hood and shoulder cape. In Anglican usage, it is worn like a priest’s stole (the reason for the confusion) and in conjunction with the academic hood from the cleric’s university. The Church of England allows lay readers to wear a scarf, but blue instead of black.

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