Skip to Content

Stock photo from Pixabay

Young French priests want return of the cassock

It has not been compulsory since 1962, but the traditional dress is increasingly worn by young Catholic priests, eager to "fully assume" their identity.

Published: July 8, 2019, 10:42 am

    At a time when many young women choose to wear the veil to express their membership in the Ummah, or the Muslim community, Catholic priests are also experiencing a strengthening of their sense of ecclesiastical belonging.

    The cassock has been linked to Catholic fundamentalists. Photo: Pixabay

    Also, young priests opt more for the wearing of the cassock, not only in the church but also in public, reported Le Parisien.

    The priests, whose number has halved since 1995, have found a solution to remain visible in the French secular landscape: wearing their cassocks outside the church. On Sunday, July 7, a few hundred French priests, of the 11 000 present in France, have chosen to wear the Catholic religious dress deemed most traditionalist, even ostentatious.

    In an effort to promote priestly identity, the Vatican Secretary of State under Pope Benedict XVI had issued a letter in 2012 asking clerics and religious at the Vatican to dress as befits their identity as priests conformed to Christ. But Pope Francis has warned of the dangers of “rigid religiosity” and “fundamentalism”.


    It is a sartorial choice that does not reflect strict religious convictions, says Parisian priest Simon Chouanard, 44, of the parish of the Cœur-Eucharistique-de-Jésus in Paris, who describes himself as “a perfectly ordinary priest” and “not traditional”.

    After almost disappearing, the black dress had become the distinctive sign of the most fundamentalist priests. These have however now been joined by young priests eager to “fully assume” their “identity,” said Brigitte Hamon, manufacturer of liturgical clothing.

    She sold 160 cassocks in 2018, against 110 ten years ago. The French religious historian Jean-François Colosimo, sees it as “a restoration of the verticality of the priesthood,” a renunciation of their secularization or “the mark of a border between the Church and the world”.

    Stéphane Duteurtre, superior of the Séminaire de Paris, confirmed the trend. He mentioned “about twenty priests generally under 40 years old out of a total of 450” who now wear the cassock.

    “In a secular society, we need more signs, to clearly show who we are. The ecclesiastical cloth helps to say who I am, helps me to be the one I am called to be,” he explained to the Paris daily. However, the cassock can be “very controversial” among older clerics, who fought to get rid of it.

    “It’s a question of generation,” says Father Stanislas Briard, 28, who was ordained in 2016. “If you want to live, you have to be visible”. The religious cloth is also, according to him, a formidable “tool for evangelization”.

    “It’s a very simple way to connect with people. We are stopped in the street. We can have a very deep exchange, a request for confession in the middle of a supermarket … ” he rejoiced. Moreover, “anticlerical insults” are rare, says Simon Chouanard.


    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.


    French Senator wants to ban Algerian flags on French soil

    MarseilleA French Senator has deplored the many Algerian flags seen in the streets of France after Algeria's victory in the CAN semi-final as well as the absence of the French flag.

    Macron loudly booed at Bastille Day parade

    ParisDuring the the Bastille Day military parade in France, President Emmanuel Macron was loudly booed as he was coming down the Champs-Élysées aboard a military command car.

    Génération Identitaire members risk imprisonment

    GapThree members of the movement were summoned by the French criminal court of Gap, Thursday, July 11, after an anti-immigrantion action organised in the spring of 2018, on the Franco-Italian border.

    German intel classify Identitarians as ‘right-wing extremist’

    The German domestic intelligence service, known as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, has classified the Identitarian Movement (IB) as "right-wing extremist".

    Number of British Christians at a record low

    LondonA survey to gauge British Social Attitudes (BSA) has revealed that the number of Christian believers in the country are at a record low.

    Hungary highlights weight of Visegrad and Baltic voters against immigration

    BudapestHungarian cabinet chief Antal Rogan told public radio on Sunday that the European Commission needs a leader who respected countries in Central Europe. Rogan was interviewed on Kossuth Radio.

    French police station attacked by youths shouting ‘Allah Akbar’

    A police station in the Eure was attacked by youths shouting "Allah Akbar".

    French aid workers refuse to hand over list of people in emergency accommodation

    Forty French aid associations called on the government to "give up" the measure requiring homeless shelters to send lists of refugees and asylum seekers to the authorities.

    Trouble in Tbilisi

    TsibilisiSince June 20, protests have swept Georgia. The unannounced start of the protests was done as a provocation. The consequences however, are utterly painful, especially for the average citizen of Georgia.

    Dutch parliament adopts motion against ‘racially-based land expropriation in South Africa’

    The Dutch parliament or Tweede Kamer at The Hague, has become the first elected body in Europe to express its opposition to the policy of "expropriation without compensation" adopted by South Africa's ANC regime against white Afrikaner farmers.

    Go to archive