Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


The Clothes Make The Man

December 22nd, 2010, Promulgated by Abaccio

Which of these fellows looks like a Catholic Bishop to you?

Bishop Clark

Archbishop Dolan

Both of these images come from recent (past 10 days) visits to parishes within their respective Dioceses.

Notice the only thing besides his ring that hints that Bishop Clark is a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church is his collar, whereas Archbishop Dolan is wearing a Cassock, pectoral cross, and Zucchetto.

Dress like a Bishop, your excellency!

To our priests: Dress the part!

To our nuns: Dress the part!

How can you expect people to know your vocation and commitment to Christ if you dress like a layperson?

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21 Responses to “The Clothes Make The Man”

  1. avatar jetscubs86 says:


  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    Notice also that Archbishop Dolan is holding a child while no one is near Bishop Clark.

  3. avatar Persis says:

    I do not necessarily disagree with the position that clothes can make the man.
    That said, I have had experiences with many people, not just clergy, who may be able to “dress the part” impecibly, but really have no business being in their vocation, whatever that may be. Remember that old adage, “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover”. 😉

    I do think though, that the “nit-picking” of Bishop Clark is a little petty.
    It looks as though that this picture is of him at a “book launch” event at St. Mary’s. It was not a liturgical or even “ministerial” function in any real sense of the words.
    We do not know where AB Dolan was and it what context he was there by the picture alone.
    When I met AB Dolan, when he was here in June, he was dressed much the same way that Bishop Clark is, no cassock, no pectoral cross, no zucchetto, so I do not think that he dresses this way all the time either.

  4. avatar Diane Elizabeth says:

    The empty can rattles the most.

    If you want to see real opulance go to OLV/SJ…Father Ron will put on his white mink stoll for you and give you that opulant feeling you are obviously striving for.

    I’m just sayin’

  5. avatar bob says:

    one shepherd one historian ?

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    It’s practically an excommunicable offense for Bishop Clark to be out in public without a cappa magna, fiddleback chasuble, and maniple!

  7. avatar Bill B. says:

    I don’t understand wandering away from legiitimate issues to target the Bishops clothes. He is in clerical garb. If he plays handball, he would wear the appropriate garb.

  8. avatar Abaccio says:

    When was the last time you saw Bishop Clark in a cassock?

  9. avatar Abaccio says:

    my dearest sarcastic anon:

    Since fiddlebacks and maniples are vestments intended for Mass, I’d be a touch alarmed to see him sporting them outside their proper context. Since a book opening is not of particular solemnity, I would consider a Cappa Magna to be out-of-place.

    1) Is it too much to call priests Fr. (Last Name)?
    2) The words you’re trying to use are spelled stole, opulence, and opulent. Pompous sarcasm works much better with proper spelling.
    3) It also works better if you don’t make things up. Stoles are generally silk, not mink.

  10. avatar Persis says:

    Last I knew a cassock was not a “required” garment for ay memeber of the “secular clergy”.

  11. avatar Persis says:

    While I understand the feeling of some that members of the clergy/religious should be in clerical garb/habits 24/7, I think that one must be very careful of ones expectations of another.
    Is a doctor any less a doctor because he chooses not to wear the “white coat”? And what about the detective who wears a suit & tie or other street clothes to work, is he any less a cop?
    IMHO, we have so much more to worry about that whether or not the Bishop wears a cassock or not.

  12. avatar Anonymous says:

    Sorry, folks. Even though I’m a huge fan, I have to agree with Persis and a few others. Had these two men been at the same event, then I think the comparison would be fair. However, they are in entirely different places.
    In the spirit of Christmas charity, I would suggest removing the picture of Bishop Clark and all references to him. Rather, make this piece into a compliment of Archbishop Dolan and his courage to “dress the part” in public.

  13. avatar verdi says:

    I know that I stayed up all night worrying about what these two are wearing.

  14. avatar A Catholic says:

    There are enough bigger issues (closing of schools, parishes, dissent) to deal with concerning the diocese of Rochester, why distract with this? It’s not like Bishop Clark is wearing a suit and tie. I’m as bothered as anyone by the what I see as the nonsense going on in this diocese, but you’re going to undercut your credibility when you seem to imply that Bishop Clark in clericals is dressing like a layperson. I’ve been directing people to this website and I think that most everything on Cleansing Fire is right-on and accurate and fairminded criticism that is needed after 30+ years of dissent. But this time you’ve missed the mark and gotten too personal.

  15. avatar benanderson says:

    this time you’ve missed the mark and gotten too personal


  16. avatar Bernie says:

    The only time I’ve ever seen Bishop Clark wearing a cassock, pectoral cross, and zucchetto is in photos of him in Rome on the day he meets with the pope. You just don’t think of Bishop Clark wearing those but it is appropriate for him to wear those items whenever he makes any public appearance, religious or otherwise, but I don’t think he ever does. It’s his personal choice, of course, but it’s unfortunate, really, as it’s a way to evangelize. Priests who wear their collars and black suits are witnessing to Christ in a way that is unique; same with our nuns and sisters. It seems that today you are more likely to see protestant clergy in Roman collars, especially clergy from our predominantly African American churches. They aren’t afraid to witness to Christ in Wegman’s.

  17. avatar Abaccio says:

    Bernie, you just touched upon my very point:

    Bishop Clark is easily mistaken for a Protestant clergyman, rather than a Catholic Bishop. There’s pretty much no mistaking Archbishop Dolan. A friend was telling me the other day about his home parish whose lone remaining cassock is hidden in the Parish archives!

  18. avatar benanderson says:

    I take back my earlier comment. I re-read the post and don’t see anything wrong w/ it. It’s a public appearance – what’s wrong with asking priests and bishops to dress the part?

    sorry for my rush to judgment abaccio.

  19. avatar Bernie says:

    When a bishop attends a civic/secular function as a participant on the dais, and he is dressed as a bishop with skull cap, cross and ribbed cassock it reminds everyone present that he not only is the shepherd of a local flock of the Catholic Church but that he is also the local flock’s connection to the world-wide Catholic Church –he is a successor to the Apostles. It’s not about him, personally (an image of personal humility is not important in this instance) it’s about his unique ability to proclaim without words that Christ is in the world and operates through His Church.

  20. avatar Anonnymouse says:

    Kudos to Bishop Clark – at least he’s ditched the gray wool sports coat he’s so fond of.

  21. avatar Dr. K says:

    I will say that when I have seen the bishop at the local book stores he is in priestly clerics, not street clothes.

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