Goofy Clerical Dress

female-clergy-blouseI found this via Fr Smuts’ blog, and here is the commercial site advertising feminine clerical garments.

I get quite bored with blogs and commenters who poke fun at the Church of England about women clergy, and I don’t usually bother. That doesn’t mean I approve of them – I cannot as an Anglican Catholic and on theological grounds. All the same, this is worth a comment.

I never dreamed I would ever see such a thing. Of course, as a seminarian and deacon in a parish, I was always in a cassock and collar in public. I wear the cassock at clergy meetings and in parish situations in England. There is also the formal and informal way of dressing without the cassock: in a black suit with either a clerical shirt and slip-in collar or a full collar stock, and with black socks and shoes. A less formal attire is a pair of black trousers and a clerical shirt with slip-in collar.

In private or in purely secular surroundings, many of us priests dress in “civvies”, which can be of any appropriate style from casual to a suit with shirt and tie. Many priests have secular work, so we dress appropriately for that.

I belong to a Church that does not have a female clergy. I am no expert on feminine dress apart from seeing what my wife likes to wear for various occasions, but she is a lay woman. In those Churches that have female clergy, I would expect to see them in a cassock or the simple kind of dress a lady wears for going to work in an office, a tailleur or a simple skirt below the knees and blouse similar to a man’s clerical shirt. Sobriety is the key notion for both men and women clerics if we have any idea of a serious religious commitment.

This kind of fantasy dress seems to be quite unnecessary and provocative. We might enjoy making fun of it. Inventive fashion designers could be making money out of it – business is supply to meet a demand. Some of those fashion-conscious pétasse priestesses must be buying the stuff!

Quite frankly, I find these particular examples pretentious and vulgar.

It takes all sorts…

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4 Responses to Goofy Clerical Dress

  1. Patricius says:

    I’d like to hear a theological argument against the ordination of women.

  2. William Tighe says:

    Another essay by Mascall (as well as other essays on the subject) can be found in Man, Woman, and Priesthood ed. Peter Moore (London, SPCK, 1978), cheap copies of which can easily be had through and

  3. Rdr. James Morgan says:

    From the picure it looks like something from Lovecraft

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