With over 50 million Americans living in poverty

A Reflection on What it Costs to Dress a Bishop


Start with the miter, a pointy hat the bishop wears whenever he does rituals.  He should have two kinds for a pontifical high mass: a precious and plain gold.

Under the miter he wears a zucchetto, a little purple beanie.

Moving on we start with the bottom layer….a purple cassock with a matching sash.  Although bishops get to wear black cassocks with purple trim, the proper one for saying Mass is the purple one.

Around his neck he wears a pectoral cross with a special braided cord.

Over the cassock for mass he starts with an amice, a rectangular  piece of linen, a remnant of a hood.  Then comes the alb, the long white robe.  The bishops gets to wear ones trimmed with lace at the cuffs and at the bottom half.  The cincture is a braided rope worn around the waist, sort of like a belt. 

The stole is worn around the neck and extends down below the waist.  It matches the outer vestment in color and material.  On the right arm he wears a maniple, a narrow strip of the same material as the stole.  It looks like the napkin a waiter has over his arm.

Next comes the tunic, the outer vestment proper to the subdeacon.  Over that he wears a dalmatic which is identical in basic style and cut but which has a distinguishing bar that differentiates it from the tunic .  This is the outer vestment proper to the deacon.  The bishop wears both because he has the “fullness of the holy orders.”

Finally the top garment is the chasuble, the vestment proper to the celebrant of the Mass.

A sampling of prices for the basic outfit:

This lovely hat is a bargain at $20,000

But then in cost-conscious days it might be better to buy this one for only $10,000.  I made the picture larger to encourage buying this one…..

For the penny-pinching bishop you can get a zuchetto for about $30. This one costs $60.

      This zuchetto is my favorite. Colorful, light-weight, and you can wash and spin-dry.

Another good buy is this smart-looking cassock for just over $800. (tax and shipping not included).

Under the cassock of course you should have episcopal socks and episcopal slippers……I guess bishops wear normal underwear.

These socks which every bishop must have are only $320. If you buy more than one pair, you get a discount.

They go nicely with these slippers…….guaranteed to make no embarrassing noise in processions. These are a steal at $1500 and they last just about forever…..They do need to be aired-out after long services.

If you are a cardinal, you should have a simple cardinal’s hat for colorful walks outside…a delightful view in autumn visits to the forest. 

This one — I would love to have one if I were a cardinal — comes to $800. But again, if you don’t wear it in the rain it will last for years!


Well you do  have to have a ring. This humble-looking one is about $300 in cheap silver and $1800 in episcopal gold.

Then you must have a pectoral cross. Here there is a great range of prices. My favorite is this one. In sterling it is just under $1000 but heck if you made it to bishop why not go gold all the way. This one in gold is now just $5000.

I will not wear you out with more clothes and accessories. BUT….you have to have a cozier!

Here you can get a simple-looking cheap one for about $600. But they look VERY CHEAP.

When it comes to croziers — traditionalist that I am — I prefer the neo-con look. This one is about $3000.

Well friends, this is enough for this week. I have my catalog and adding machine next to me

and just realized that when Cardinal Raymond Burke (nothing unkind meant here)  dresses-up for a Pontifical High Mass

it costs about $30,000 to outfit him……… But on the other hand, plain old bishops are much less expensive…….

Next week back to the serious stuff…………

20 thoughts on “For Cost-Conscious Bishops : Autumn Fashions

  1. Rich man to jesus. How do I enter the kingdom. Of God? Jesus replies sell all of your posessions. Give the procedies to the poor
    Put on hopsack and come follow me.what don’t they get!!!

  2. Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.

  3. I laughed to suppress my anger and frustration. When will theses boys learn?
    Unrelated (except for the arrogance that pervails throughtout), did you hear Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix has decided to do away with Communion wine at all Masses throughout the diocese?

    1. That’s probably because Olmstead understands the Latin proverb, In vino veritas. He doesn’t want authentic Gospel truth to get out. Might be a challenge for him?

  4. 30 grand is still less than what our good buddy Rembert paid to hush up an ex-boy toy. How much did he waste destroying the cathedral in Milwaukee?

  5. Where can I get one of those Caddy Catholic Catalogs ? Do you think Saks(next to St Pats) may have a catalog in their woman’s department?

    Thanks for the laugh. It is good to laugh, especially during these dark times.


  6. How can or do they reconcile such regalia with the words of Jesus “It must NOT be that way with you”?
    Words spoken to the Apostles and Disciples and that apply to everyone…

    Pax. Aristophilos

  7. If it were not so sad, and so true, I would have laughed out loud. Could we please have one on how much it costs to outfit the pope, including the popemobile? Maybe they think that if they dress like this they will be above the law. Ah well, the reality is that the emperor has no clothes.

  8. This should not come as a surprise to anyone with an historical view, after all this is the Roman-Catholic Church. I don’t remember reading of any Roman Emperor who was fiscally or in dress a conservative.

    And they do look so pretty when they line up in their matching robes and shoes and hats. Sort of like the purple hat organisation….but not!

    If Jesus were in his grave he would be turning over!

  9. I say strip them naked for another fitting baptism, or make them swim with all that stuff on. If they stay afloat, they stay in office! If they sink, let the crabs eat them!

  10. This is further proof that the church needs to start over…as in the days of St. Francis of Assissi. He threw all his parents’ riches out of the window to the poor below. He then ran naked through the streets, declared himself humble before God and exampled it to the people who were his true flock, the poor. He then put on itchy sackcloth and shaved most of his hair off, again to demonstrate humility. He then built a church STONE by STONE. It still stands today in Assissi, Italy. Stuff leads to corruption and the decay of not only the body, but the soul as well. God help us all if we focus on stuff and not people. I cringe to think of standing before Jesus trying to get the U-Haul trailer into Heaven with me.

  11. Does the Hierarchy at least practice recycling these expensive outfits, so that new Bishops & Cardinals can get used ceremonial religious clothes???

    Let them shop at St Vincent’s and Goodwill, like so many of their flock!!

  12. Power corrupts, the church hierarchy loves to judge, condemn and be especially nasty with their prejudices and bigotries. The greatest shall be the least and the least the greatest. We need shepherds with less expensive tastes and more concern for showing good example. They are spoiled by blind Catholics and even by civil authorities who have granted them special treatment.
    Mother Theresa of Calcutta should have been a bishop

  13. No one has worn such get up and go since the late 1940’s. I do admit the cost of choir and house cassocks aren’t cheap, nor or the other appointments such as skullcaps and sashes or formal capes. There is a reasonable expense to be expected, but most of the items above went out with Pius 12th.

    I know when I was named up the ranks of the monsignori, I found the correct materials, a good pattern and a skilled tailor, and had most of my things make for a good deal less. I even found the sash ends and make the sash as well. The only things I bought were the skullcaps and the cape. I even kept my biretta and only changed the pompons from black to violet and finally, to red.

  14. Jesus also said, “Judge not lest ye be judged for with what measure you measure, so shall you be measured and with what judgement you judge, so shall you be judged. What I want is mercy not sacrifice.” Shame on all of you…even those claiming to be clergy.

  15. When I saw the headline I came here looking for inexpensive stuff. I’m glad to hear my heart is in the right place, but where do I look for the inexpensive stuff?

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