Hat Club For Priests

This morning, Seabury’s first-years reminded me that it’s customary that they wear cassocks to classes on the day after Matriculation. They all looked charming, and today was a good day for wearing an extra layer because the heat isn’t fully reliable yet. One among them impressed me by sporting a biretta, an ecclesiastical cap distinguished by its absolute lack of any conceivable practical basis. It’s an item I’ve been casting sidelong glances at whenever the liturgical haberdashers spread their wares at Seabury, but they run more than a hundred bucks a pop, and I wouldn’t have occasion to wear one nearly enough to make it worthwhile.
What burned my toast, though, was that the first-year in question allowed that it wasn’t her own biretta, but belonged to a middler who is possibly the lowest of the low-churchmen presently studying at Seabury. The biretta was given him as a joke (!), and he had simply offered to share it with his friend.
So there we are — I, the arch-Anglo-Catholic, notorious hat-wearer, without a biretta — and he, the whale’s-belly-low-church seminarian, maybe puts on a baseball cap and probably wears it backwards, having a gift biretta. God hath indeed a rich sense of irony and poetic justice.
Pictures were taken of me wearing the doubly-borrowed biretta, and my esteeemed colleague Ellen Wondra wearing a Canterbury cap (Archbishop Laud example here), but they’re safe behind a password-protected barrier.

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