Because we've done such a poor job of articulating the priestly role, we end up with priests clutching at birettas
and ever-present Roman collars as a way to express their identity.
A Passionist priest, interviewed for this historical snippet, recalled that his priestly ancestors wore their birettas at table, probably because the monastic dining room was unheated.
Then there are the Canons Regular of Premontre who, along with some Cistercian abbots, wore white birettas.
Austin's birettas and giving each other three Hail Marys for the sins we'd told each other.
I wonder, if the pastors put on their birettas some Sunday morning, how many more people would come to greet them as they worked the curb after Mass.
God forbid that those who want to move back to the past should view these thoughts on birettas as a plea to return to the joyless guilt of that era.
A recent communication from a faithful NCR subscriber sent me on a search for the lost biretta, the magical square cap with the three peaks on top that was once as much a symbol of priesthood as the portable purple stole.
The biretta represented ecclesiastical testosterone.
Altar boys in black cassocks and white surplices carry in the censers and candles and cross; three priests with folded hands wear birettas and green and gold brocade chasubles.
Seated and listening while the choir sings the Kyrie Eleison, priests doff their birettas at the mention of Jesus' name.
Patrick's Cathedral, the boys turned their heads left to acknowledge the cardinal and his clerical entourage, all of them grinning and blessing under those birettas
with the colored balls that signified their ranks.