30 May 2010

What's a friar to wear?

Question:  Just curious, is there any regulation regarding what Dominican friars wear under the habit? 

Answer:  Nope.  The specifics of the habit itself are spelled out in the constitution, but what we wear underneath the habit is not.  I wear shorts and a tee-shirt (even in winter) b/c of my tendency to overheat.  I've seen jeans, black dress pants, PJ's, undertunics, khakis, clerics.  Traditionally, we wear white socks and black shoes.  However, you will see friars wearing everything from sandals to cowboy boots.  By tradition, the habit is not to be decorated with pins, buttons, etc.  Dominican bishops may wear the habit with their pectoral cross over the capuce.  In Europe, you will sometimes see friars wearing the black skull cap.  Jewelry is not forbidden, but you rarely see anything too conspicuous.  Younger friars have taken to wearing a simple metal band on their left ring finger as a sign of consecration.  Earrings would be frowned on!  Before 1968, friars had to have permission to wear a beard.  Since I'm headed back to Texas in a few weeks, I may test the waters on wearing a pistol on my belt. . .   ;-)

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  1. I remember as a novice wearing a hole-y (not holy) green t-shirt with purple shorts under the habit and thinking to myself, "Freedom!"

  2. Anonymous12:52 PM

    I doubt you are allowed to wear a holster with you habit.

    Not to worry. TX is a concealed carry state. You can obtain whatever the sheriff's perimt may be and carry a "peace maker" up your sleeve.

    "God created man. Sam Colt made all men equal."

  3. You've seen PJ's under the habit? Haha!

    I've been distressed to learn that some orders of nuns wear pantyhose under their religious habits. These are long traditional habits, so the legs don't show-- so WHY ON EARTH wear something modern and uncomfortable??

  4. Paladins: Lawful Good and violent about it!

  5. Anonymous1:48 AM

    Whereas I learned that we can wear anything we want under the beautiful Dominican habit (although plaid shirt sleeves or a colored shirt collar or colored pants sticking out from under the habit make the habit seem like a costume for recreational wear rather than s sign of religious consecration), one principle about our under-clothing that I learned we were strict about was that we were not to discuss our under-clothing with seculars!

  6. Anon., there's a diff. btw discussing our "underwear" in the secular sense and what we wear under the habit. I know of no one who wears the habit w/o some sort of secular clothing underneath.

    And I'm not all that interested in trying to make religious life some sort of super-secret, only Those on the Inside are to Know club. We're just guys who happen to also be religious...we aren't wizards or elves or paladins or any other sort of elevated caste that has to guard its secrets against contamination by "seculars."