27 August 2009

Buttons

Can someone with an historical turn of mind explain to me why popish priests, on the rare occasions when they don a cassock, do not have the correct number of buttons down their soutane?

16 comments:

Arch Anglo-Catholic said...

Dear Father
what is the correct number?

Joshua said...

I believe you refer to having 39 buttons?

These allude, do they not, to the Forty Stripes Less One that are the atrocious Thirty-Nine Articles: "doctrines so horrible no one would want to believe them" as they are described in "The Towers of Trebizond", as I recall.

(Yes, I know they can be read in all manner of Jesuitical ways, but really! As a bishop told me, he's only perjured himself once - when he had to swear to the Articles.)

I once reduced two Catholic priests (both ex-Anglicans) to helpless hysterics, when I alluded to these 39, and how one should only have done up the buttons corresponding to which of the Articles one actually agreed with!

Arch Anglo-Catholic said...

Most Catholic Priests known to me wear either the 'Jesuit' pattern with a covered front, or 33 buttons to remember the years of Our Lord's earthly life, with the usual 5 pleats for the Holy Wounds, although a friend of mine has the anglican 39 false buttons, over a concealed 12 large buttons, which he says are to reflect his view that whilst he is required outwardly to conform to the Articles, inwardly his faith is founded on the Apostles, being 12 in number, but knowing him well, I am quite certain that the convenience and look of the cassock was the deciding factor and the symbolism is a convenient, and later, addition!

Patricius said...

33 Buttons I believe, for each of the 33 years of Our Lord's earthly life.

Malcolm Kemp said...

I wonder whether Our Bleesed Lord, or anyone else for that matter, is really bothered how many buttons anyone has on their cassock.

rev'd up said...

I hope not Malcolm, my faded old cassock has only 12 - one of which I added.

Christian said...

I am afraid to say that there is not rule as to how many buttons a Roman cassock must have. Indeed, there are no rules as to how it should be cut. The old Jesuit habit was merely standard 17th century Spanish clerical dress ossified. This is also the case with Redemptorists whose habit is also just 18th century Italian clerical dress ossified. The most obvious example is the double breasted Oratorian habit; 17th century Roman clerical dress ossified. Milan also has an unusual cut as a result of St Charles Borremeo's insistence that all clerics of his diocese should dress conservatively in the 16th century.

Pastor in Valle said...

Do you know?— I have never counted how many buttons my cassock has. Is it important?

Pastor in Valle said...

p.s. I am 'Popish', and I almost always wear the cassock when celebrating Mass.

Sue Sims said...

Malcolm Kemp:

While I grant that our Lord never actually mentioned buttons on cassocks, may I refer you to the OT? The symbolism of Hezekiah 4: 17 is very clear.

rev'd up said...

Help me out - I didn't know there was a "Hezekiah 4: 17."

Independent said...

I would much rather have a person who actually believed the 39 Articles, as High Churchmen up to the time of the Tractarians did, than any modernist whether Catholic or Angican. There is at the heart of the Articles a solid core of belief in Our Blessed Lord, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Blessed Trinity, which is often lacking among modern Catholics and Anglicans. I think of a catholic church where the preacher in simple terms had to stress that Our Lord was not just a good man and speculate that most of his congregation might benefit from reading some pf the articles'. Was it Fr Bouyer who wrote "The Catholicity of Protestantism"? No one reading his book could regard the 39 Articles as atrocious.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Pastor in Valle,
I too have never counted them, I have always left the number of my buttons to my tailor.
Button counting is a very below stairs activity.
I presume it is important to have enough to fill the buttonholes.

Malcolm Kemp said...

Well said, Father Ray. A friend of mine (now deceased) used to get his cassocks made at a shop opposite your house. At that time the shop was owned by a former chorister of mine but he then became an Anglican Priest. The shop still trades under his name but I know not whether he still owns it.

Perhaps it could appropriately be said that we now have this topic well and truly buttoned up?

Fr William said...

Just checked my Gammarelli. Thirty. What's that supposed to signify? Judas' wages? Or perhaps - in an ironic Papist reference to the subservience of the CofE's religious authority to secular power - the age at which Joseph entered Pharaoh's service?

Or could it just be my height from neck to ankle divided by a convenient interbuttonic interval?

Little Black Sambo said...

Who was it who preached at Pusey House on the Exodus 28.33?
"And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about". We need his advice now.