Dear Editor: While I applaud Deacon Ritchie for his service and time he devotes to our Roman Catholic Church, I would like to share some pros and cons to the wearing of a “priest collar” (“Permanent Deacons and Clergy Apparel,” Readers’ Forum, Sept 21).
In Florida, we had one deacon in our parish who wore a collar and a black suit. This particular deacon was mistakenly called “father” by many people. While visiting hospitals, however, when a patient addressed him, thanked him for coming and asked him to “Please, hear my confession” that was a problem. Only a priest could hear it and administer the absolution. I found his collar confusing and wish to protect the integrity of
Truly, deacons have been gifted with a special mission and we pray and thank God they received and accepted their calling. They were ordained to the diaconate, not the priesthood.
Deacons do not take the same vows as priests. The collar is a sign. We are all guided by signs. Please do not confuse the laity! Most of us love our priests and we want to know when a priest or even a seminarian is in our presence. Yes, we do have respect for them and should be praying for them everyday.
Editor’s note: According to the norms of the Diocese of Brooklyn, permanent deacons do not wear a Roman collar. Not all dioceses in the United States follow the same guidelines about this issue.