During the reign of Elizabeth I, the surplice was established as the standard garment of the Anglican clergy, and for the sake of decency a black cassock was traditionally worn beneath the surplice. Although many churchmen believed the retention of these garments to be an unacceptable concession to corrupt Romish custom, the intervention of the Queen put an end to all questioning and the cassock and surplice were worn throughout the English church. Among loyal churchmen there is some dispute as to whether these garments should still be retained; some believe that their use remains obligatory, while others argue that, a decent interval since Her Majesty’s death now having passed, it is permissible to officiate at divine service in a smart tweed jacket and matching trousers. All are agreed, however, that the church should not tolerate the use of any unapproved vestments or “accessories,” including but not limited to: copes, the so-called “Eucharistic vestments” (chasubles, albs and the like), any headgear, organ shoes, jewelry, artificial limbs, papal slippers, brightly-coloured stockings, coloured contact lenses, and cigarette holders.
The late Queen’s instructions should be perfectly clear: a minister of the church is to don the cassock and surplice before service and remove them afterwards. But observe the daily routine of a Ritualist priest: he walks to his parish in the morning: he arrives at his church, unlocks the doors, puts on a cassock and surplice to say Morning Prayer and then - in a sinister twist - removes his surplice but not the cassock. The dedicated ritualist will continue to wear his cassock while meeting with parishioners, writing his Sunday sermon, changing light bulbs. washing dishes, cleaning the furnace, or planting tree saplings. For the loyal churchman, this is deeply alarming: it gives the impression (doubtless intentional) that some sort of Ritualistic service might begin at any moment.
For research purposes, one of our agents attempted to complete his daily tasks while wearing a cassock. The experiment nearly ended in disaster, since the cassock is an exceptionally dangerous garment; its folds can easily be caught underfoot or tangled in one’s clothing, so that one is in constant danger of tripping on the sidewalk or being knocked down by a passing tram. That ritualists seem to negotiate their cassocks without serious incident is further proof, if proof were needed, that their activities are aided by demonic agencies.
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Courtesy of Fr. David Bechill, we have received this hilarious but telling piece on "Wearing Cassocks" (The Low churchman's Guide to the Solemn High Mass, August 13, 2013):