What are (presumably) Catholic priests doing wearing robes in shades of
July 28, 2013 6:51 PM Subscribe
While on facebook, I saw a group photo of Catholic priests in India at St. Alphonsa's Tomb and Chapel, Bharananganam, Pala. While I am aware that it is the norm for Catholic priests in India (and some other countries considered tropical) to wear white cassocks as their street dress, and indeed, a number of the priests in the photograph were wearing them, there was something that was truly puzzling to me in spite of growing up Catholic and having attended mass and otherwise had contact with the Catholic church in two Asian countries, Japan and Thailand. In the picture of these priests gathered at this saint's tomb in southern India, there were some among them who were wearing robes or cassocks in shades of peach or puce, and light goldenrod. I have never seen priests dressed this way in any country, and I want to know if there is some special meaning to this. (For those who don't know about Catholicism, there is a lot of symbolic meaning attached to what priests and other members of the Catholic hierarchy wear, and why. There is actually a webforum devoted to people discussing what then-Pope Benedict was photographed wearing on public occasions and the philosophical and political implications of same).
posted by bunky to Religion & Philosophy (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are the priests sporting pinkish robes Eastern Rite (such as Mar Thoma) while the ones in white are Latin Rite? Are they Orthodox instead of Catholic? Are the priests wearing white diocesan priests ("just priests") while the ones in the pastel-colored raiment are members of religious orders, such as Carmelites or Franciscans, who would ordinarily wear heavier and dark brown robes in more temperate climates? Perhaps they are religious brothers (monks) rather than priests? Or perhaps inculturation has gone too far, and the ones wearing light yellowish robes are trying to emulate Buddhist clergy, while the ones wearing puce or pinkish are emulating the Hindus holy men/Hare Krishnas?