Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


The Uncinctured Priest

August 23rd, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Be warned. This post may be more explicit than polite. But it really needs to be said.

cinctures 3Dear Father,

If you refuse to wear God’s cincture, you will wear the other one.

No priest goes uncinctured, no matter what he may think.

There is always one waiting to tie him up quickly, given the invitation.

What is the invitation? One such invitation is given by a priest’s deliberately leaving off part of his vesting, the cincture, and thus leaving off one of the specific protections of his vocation, the related prayers and his promises to God.

The current issue

Last October, I posted a lament: “Whatever happened to full vesting?”

At the time, the complaint was more about the lack of obedience among some priests, and about noticing that sloppy vesting often accompanies sloppy celebration of the Mass. Only dimly was I aware of the larger issue, one of much greater concern, which now has come to recognition due to the ramifications of the recent sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

Bur, first, for those who don’t know, let us review a particular element of vesting. For centuries, the vestments worn by a Catholic priest at Mass have included the cincture, a rope-like device, usually white, tied at the waist. After donning an amice and alb, the cincture is tied. For more information on the requirements, please see Vatican text and footnotes below. Just a little reading of the Old Testament, Leviticus in particular, will shed light on how important vesting is to God. After all, He personally designed what he wanted those priests to wear.

Each vestment worn by the priest at Mass has its own symbolism, and a prayer specified to be said while vesting.  When the priest ties the cincture he prays for sexual purity: “….Gird me, O Lord, with the cincture of purity, and quench in my heart the fire of concupiscence, that the virtue of continence and chastity may abide in me.” Or, in Latin: “Praecinge me, Domine, cingulo puritatis, et exstingue in lumbis meis humorem libidinis; ut maneat inme virtus continentia et castitatis.”  The priest, about to bring the Body and Blood of the Son of God to the altar, prays for the virtue of continence and chastity.


Now, let’s be practical. Does a mother want her son to be an altar boy to a priest who refuses to wear the symbol of sexual purity? Should a parishioner accept advice from a priest who can’t obey the Church? Should a parish put financial resources into the hands of a priest who seems to flaunt his disinterest in keeping his ordination promises? The answers are easy.

Beyond the immediate warning to the parish, one must ask “WHY” doesn’t a priest deeply desire to invoke the prayer for purity, unless he is advertising that in some way he is sexually available. Regarding the disordered subculture of homosexuality, can one not ask if there is some kind of signal being given? In this time of such gross sexual corruption, reported from seminarians to Cardinals, which ultimately will have great cost to the Church, its patrimony and the souls of many members, what priest can afford to visibly denigrate the public perception of his faithfulness to his promise of celibacy?  To whom is he sending a message by his disobedience?  To be even more frank, for whose attention is he trolling?

In a different arena, does an insurance company continue to offer insurance to priest defendants against future accusations of sexual abuse if those defendants have a history of refusing to wear the Church’s symbol of sexual purity? Plaintiff attorneys would have a field day against such defendants in a court of law.  It is easy to imagine a one-act Kafkaesque play on the antics of such cross-examination.


Personally, I have walked away from attending any further Masses with a priest who regularly wears only the vestments of uncintured alb and free flowing stole (with some rather strange colors thereon). His look reminds me of the Protestant women ministers who dress to make a statement of sorts. So, if one has a parish priest regularly vesting poorly for the Lord, accompanied by an unknown, even mysterious, meaning behind his neglect, we can’t say we haven’t been warned. And, especially, parents should look for such signs as a caution regarding their trust.

There is more to say about cinctures, which I will probably do in a future post. But for now, perhaps, some can’t bear very much more on this issue. Pray for our priests, all of them.

Additional Information: Liturgical Vestments and Vesting Prayers:

The Vatican Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff states the requirements in paragraph 4, and in FOOTNOTES 4 and 5 regarding possible exceptions:




6 Responses to “The Uncinctured Priest”

  1. avatar Ginger says:

    “We were in an incontrovertible controversy between what the state is expecting that we would be without prejudice, foster and adopt with couples that are same-sex and the Catholic Church teaching that this is not a marital couple and that a child is better served to be with a man and a woman who are married,” said Sister Mary McCarrick, Catholic Charities Diocesan Director.”

    How did we get to this point? I’d ask again. Really? Tell me exactly why now? Game over? You think you win?

    The gay agenda holds firm ground in both camps and has for years…obviously.

    Nine years ago, a social worker from Catholic Family Center in Rochester, NY gave me the assurance that her agency adopted out without prejudice.

    I’ll look for the cincture. I believe discernment of sanctity must be divine in nature…Grace. Obedience in vesting is a start.

  2. avatar Ginger says:

    Obedience in vesting is ONLY a start.
    Putting on running shoes does not mean I will run…ever.

  3. avatar TL says:

    “Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much.” – Our Lady of Fatima, 1917

  4. avatar christian says:

    There is full vesting at the Fellowship of St. Alban, a community of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in North America. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is a personal ordinariate of the Catholic Church which allows former Anglicans to retain elements of their Anglican Patrimony after entering the Catholic Church. Their Missal, Divine Worship, approved by the Vatican, is a variation of the Roman Rite. There is a significant number of cradle Catholics who attend this Mass because of orthodoxy, and beauty and reverence in worship.

    All Catholics fulfill their Sunday and holy day obligations by attending Mass at the Fellowship at St. Alban. Currently, the Fellowship of St. Alban is housed at St. Cecilia Church (of the St. Katera Tekakwitha Parish) at 2272 Culver Road in Irondequoit, N.Y. Sunday Mass is at 11:30 A.M. and Holy Days of Obligation are at 7 P.M.

    This Sunday, August 26th, 2018, at 11:30 A.M., we are having a Pontificate Mass. Bishop Steven Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter of North America will be offering the 11:30 A.M. Mass. He will be joined by Bishop Salvatore Matano of the Diocese of Rochester. Fr. Evan Simington, our pastor, will be present as well.

    There is a reception directly following Mass in the adjoining Newcomb Friendship Center.

    All Are Welcome!

  5. avatar raymondfrice says:

    In the 50s and 60s, bishops wore rings with an amethyst stone in them. I was told it symbolized the protection of celibacy for the hierarchy. I think they went the way of the cincture.

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