1. Is Our Collar a "Roman Collar?"—2. A Practical Remark. — 3. Sign of Prelacy. — 4. Colors.
1. Ecclesiastics who have lived or studied in Borne may have noticed that what we usually call a "Roman Collar" is a collar indeed, but not Roman.
Our Roman Collar, so-called, consists of two parts, a starched circle of white linen—the collar, and a« piece of cloth or silk, to which the collar itself is fastened by means of buttons, hooks, etc., and has been given the somewhat strange name of "rabbi."
Now, it may be a surprise to many, but it is none the less true, that what is familiar to us under the name of "rabbi" is the true Roman collar, called in Rome collaro.
The Roman collaro is made up of a loose breast-piece and of a rigid circle of the same material. The rigid part is properly the collar, and is maintained stiff by slipping into it a piece of light cardboard or leather. In order to keep the collar clean, a changeable band of white linen (collarino) is placed over it and fixed behind with two silver clips. It is that small band of linen which has grown into the stiff affair now worn, and has usurped among us the name of "Roman collar."
And so well has it succeeded in its usurpation, that it has been adopted almost universally, not only in this country, but elsewhere, and even in Italy, as the new form of the Roman collar. In Rome now nobody objects to its use. And if we consider that this new form of the "Roman collar" renders it easier to wear as a part of the civilian dress of ecclesiastics, we have every reason not to change what may be regarded as the universal custom on this point. The only change that might be suggested to ecclesiastics and tailors would be to do away with that peculiar Jewish word "rabbi," which is certainly out of place here, and could be advantageously replaced by the Italian word collaro. (a)
2. Though treating exclusively of the prelatial costume, it may not be useless to remark here that the collaro, for priests and: for other members of the inferior clergy, must be made entirely of woolen material, silk being reserved for the collaro of Prelates and of such dignitaries as have received a special indult to that effect. A fortiori, velvet is never allowed, nor even conceded.
Therefore, good sisters and pious ladies who, at Christmas time, overwhelm priests and seminarians with gifts of "rabbis," should take notice of this rule and offer only woolen collari.
3. The collaro is essentially a sign of Prelacy, when it is made of another color than black. (b)Those who wear the red or purple cassock by privilege or custom, without being Prelates, should never wear a red or purple collaro, unless it is expressly granted by an Apostolic indult. The same rule applies to all who wear a purple cassock as a livery dress.
4. The Pope's collaro is white, like the main parts of his official dress. That of the Cardinals is scarlet; of Bishops and other Prelates, purple. (c) When a Chapter have received the privilege of wearing red or purple collari, they are not allowed to wear them outside the limits of their diocese. (d)
(a) The "single band Roman collar'' which seems to be In favor In some parts of the country, and is advertised as a "speciality" by certain clerical tailors, should be left to the clergymen of the "Episcopal Church."
(b) Cong, of Bps. and Beg., 1848. Amalphitan.—Gregory XVI.'s Brief, Eccleisiasticos viros, Nov. 17, 1848.
(c) Religious Prelates should wear a collaro of the same color as the cassock.
(d) Decrees quoted above.