THE FOLLOWING is from a blog article written by Bishop René H. Gracida—a veteran of the Second World War who has lived a remarkable life—posted on 5 September 2015:
T IS RARE THESE DAYS to see a priest dressed in a cassock. That is especially true here in South Texas where wearing a cassock outside of an airconditioned space during the months of May, June, July, August, September, and October would be the same as sitting in a sauna in a suit and tie. But it is sad that in those months when the climate would permit the wearing of a cassock outdoors it is now rarely done. Why?
I suppose the main reason is the general trend in our society since the mid-Twentieth Century to informality. We see it every Sunday in our Churches, where—unless the pastor has inveighed against the practice—people come to Mass dressed as informally as possible, even shorts and tank tops.
In my former Diocese of Pennsacola-Tallahassee a priest I ordained always wore a cassock everywhere, and still does I am told. Needless to say, he is considered by the other priests of the Diocese to be something of an oddball, yet he is not; he is a holy, zealous, faithful priest. Until last year we had a similar priest, ordained by me, here in the Diocese of Corpus Christi.
This article by Tom Chiarella, a layman, says something important to every priest (and bishop) about self-identity. I think that all of us clerics should rethink our choice of clothing and unless the weather and climate rules against it we should seek more opportunities to wear the cassock. Last year I gave the invocation at a state-wide celebration in Houston and, like other clergy before me I wore a suit. I have been invited to give the invocation again this year and this year I am going to wear a cassock, which come to think of it, is the proper protocol prescribed by the Church for such occasions.
You can also read my article: “Priests Embarrassed To Wear Distinctive Garb.”