Seminarians in black rock for Pope Benedict
At a rock concert on Saturday in the grounds of a seminary in Yonkers, just north of New York City, thousands of young Catholics mixed with hundreds of seminarians dressed in long black cassocks or black suits. The mosh pit in front of the stage was a sea of clerical black as the young seminarians jumped, clapped and danced to the music in brilliant sunshine.
“I give them a lot of credit for being willing to wear them on such a hot day,” said Maggie Coyne, 18, a student at Albertus Magnus High School in Rockland County, NY, who was due to present a gift to Pope Benedict on stage.
“It is a little outdated but it shows that they deserve respect. They’re doing a tremendous thing,” she said.
Her friend Gabriella Fiorentino, 18, a student at the Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, said “A lot of people are worried that there’s not enough new priests coming in.”
“I think (their clothes) are a great way to show that there are, and that they are still interested,” she added.
There were also quite a few young nuns in light-coloured habits, nothing like the black the nuns used to wear.
Clerical styles in the Catholic Church changed after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and many priests and nuns started wearing civilian clothes more frequently. But cassocks have made a comeback, especially among more conservative young priests and seminarians. And there seem to be more nuns back in habits, but with more style.
Conor King and his friend Joe Federico, both 15 and from Livingston High School in New Jersey, don’t think priests’ outfits should be updated.
“They keep it on so we’re reminded that they’re clergy,” King said. “It’s part of the Church and I don’t think it should be changed.”
But Courtney Mooney, 13, a student at Nanuet Senior High School in Rockland County, NY, was less convinced: “Maybe if they created something respectful but less formal that would be good.”
What do you think? When they’re out in public, should priests wear cassocks and nuns wear habits like they used to? Or should they dress in lay clothes, maybe with a single outward sign (a cross lapel pin for priests and head covering for nuns?) that they are religious?