ITALIAN priests have been ordered to resume wearing official clerical garb — either a black cassock or a dark suit with a clerical collar — from January 23, when a nationwide ban on casual wear comes into effect.
The ban forms part of the new code of canon law promulgated in November'. But it will not affect England and Wales unless the Bishops' Conference decides to bring it into force. The Italian bishops decided on the ban some time ago, but it has only just been approved by the Vatican.
Priests w ho do not comply with the order face suspension a divinis. banning them from carrying out religious functions.
There have, however, been sonic rumblings of discontent about the new rule. One priest. Rome-based Fr Giovanni Gennari, said last week: "lt is a piece of paper that many of my colleague% will try to ignore.