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Daily Catholic Question

What's behind religious habits and black clergy garb?

Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590) ordered the cassock for sacred and public functions. In the United States the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1884) determined that clerics were to wear the Roman collar and cassock at home and in the church.

Outside, the Roman collar and a coat of black or somber color reaching to the knees were to be worn. This prescription was never formally revoked, but it has always been interpreted to mean clerics should conform to the style of conservative laymen.

In many instances religious habits and dress reflect the common clothing of people in the founder's time. The current Code of Canon Law rules, "Religious are to wear the habit of the institute made according to the norm of proper law as a sign of their consecration and as a testimony of poverty" (Canon 669). Each order's constitution or rule approved by Rome will describe that order's habit.

In 1972 a letter from the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes said secular clothes are permitted when wearing a habit would impede the normal activities of the religious.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 4/16/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 4/18/2013


Louis of France: At his coronation as king of France, Louis IX bound himself by oath to behave as God’s anointed, as the father of his people and feudal lord of the King of Peace. Other kings had done the same, of course. Louis was different in that he actually interpreted his kingly duties in the light of faith. After the violence of two previous reigns, he brought peace and justice. 
<p>He was crowned king at 12, at his father’s death. His mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled during his minority. When he was 19 and his bride 12, he was married to Marguerite of Provence. It was a loving marriage, though not without challenge. They had 11 children. </p><p>Louis “took the cross” for a Crusade when he was 30. His army seized Damietta ini Egypt but not long after, weakened by dysentery and without support, they were surrounded and captured. Louis obtained the release of the army by giving up the city of Damietta in addition to paying a ransom. He stayed in Syria four years. </p><p>He deserves credit for extending justice in civil administration. His regulations for royal officials became the first of a series of reform laws. He replaced trial by battle with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the use of written records in court. </p><p>Louis was always respectful of the papacy, but defended royal interests against the popes and refused to acknowledge Innocent IV’s sentence against Emperor Frederick II. </p><p>Louis was devoted to his people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick and, like his patron St. Francis (October 4), caring even for people with leprosy. (He is one of the patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order.) Louis united France—lords and townsfolk, peasants and priests and knights—by the force of his personality and holiness. For many years the nation was at peace. </p><p>Every day Louis had 13 special guests from among the poor to eat with him, and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal, and Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion. </p><p>Disturbed by new Muslim advances in Syria, he led another crusade in 1267, at the age of 41. His crusade was diverted to Tunis for his brother’s sake. The army was decimated by disease within a month, and Louis himself died on foreign soil at the age of 44. He was canonized 27 years later.</p> American Catholic Blog God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty. <br />–St. John of the Cross

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