Vatican II Verifications
Putting on the Garment of God
There have many misconceptions that Vatican II changed many things in the Church and "we don't do it that way anymore" has become the refrain in all too many parishes throughout the world. However, surprise! It hasn't changed that much! To prove this, we go to the source: the Vatican Council Postconciliar Documents, expertly compiled by the revered Dominican Austin P. Flannery in two volumes.
Our fourth "bone to pick" with dissenters is on the misconception that Vatican II made wide-ranging changes encouraging and authorizing through the documents that religious, especially nuns, were to strive to be more modern and thus modernize the habit, even discard it in favor of the lay uniform to foster more of an ecumenical role. Wrong! In fact, Vatican II said very little about habits and wearing apparel of religious. The mandate did not come from Rome but was insidiously planted by liberal bishops and heads of orders who wanted to modernize on their own and used Vatican II as an excuse to forge their agenda on their fellow religious. The interesting fact today is that those orders who maintained their traditions in rule and habit, are still thriving, while those who forsook their garments of God for the modern apparel are on life-support. Below are the few paragraphs on this subject, taken from VATICAN COUNCIL II, VOLUME I, Conciliar and Postconciliar Documents; General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. Costello Publishing Company, page 621 on the Decree on the up-to-date renewal of Religious lifePerfectae Caritatis, October 28, 1965.
Decree on the up-to-date renewal of religious life, Chapter 47, no. 17:
The religious habit, as a symbol of consecration, must be simple and
modest, at once poor and becoming. In addition, it must be in keeping with
the requirements of health and itmust be suited to the times and place and
to the needs of the apostolate. The habits, both of men and of women,
which are not in conformity with these norms ought to be changed.
The following is taken from VATICAN COUNCIL II, VOLUME II, More Postconciliar Documents; General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. Costello Publishing Company, page 198 on Acts of Special Chapters S.C.R.S.I. Par une lettre, July 10, 1972.
Special General Chapters, Chapter 88, paragraph 3 on Common LIfe
3. Religious dress:
"While we recognize that certain situations can justify the abandonment of
a religious type of dress, we cannot omit to mention that it is fitting
that the dress of religious men and women should be, as the Council wishes,
a sign of their consecration and that it should be in some way different
from the forms that are clearly secular.’ (Evangelica testificatio, no. 22)
To strengthen Vatican II's resolve not to change anything regarding the habits, we cite the Code of Canon Law below:
Canon 669: Religious are to wear the habit of the institute made according
to the norm of proper law as a sign of their consecration and as a
testimony of poverty. Clerical religious of an institute which does not have its own habit are
to wear clerical dress according to the norm of canon 284.
Canon 284: Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb in accord with the norms issued by the conference of bishops and in accord with legitimate local custom.
November 28, 1997 volume 8, no. 41   Vatican II Verifications