I heard about the following on Colin Donovan’s show on EWTN’s Open Line.
On November 18, 1998, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 284 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.
The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated September 29, 1999.
Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 284, hereby decrees that without prejudice to the provisions of canon 288, clerics are to dress in conformity with their sacred calling.
In liturgical rites, clerics shall wear the vesture prescribed in the proper liturgical books. Outside liturgical functions, a black suit and Roman collar are the usual attire for priests. The use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric.
In the case of religious clerics, the determinations of their proper institutes or societies are to be observed with regard to wearing the religious habit.
As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be December 1, 1999.
Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on November 1, 1999. [USCCB]
This applies to all diocesan priests. Priests of religious orders come under the norm for their specific order. Would someone tell Fr. Richard P. McBrien that it is now after Nov 1, 1999.
You can listen/download past shows of EWTN’s Open Line here. They rotate hosts from Monday through Friday with John Martignoni, Barbara McGuigan, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J, Marcus Grodi, and Colin Donovan. Hopefully one day they will podcast the shows.
Update: A reader informs me that EWTN does have a podcast which you can subscribe to with http://www.ewtn.com/rss/RSS_daily_av.xml. The feed subscribes you to the daily homily, Open Line, The Journey Home, Sunday Night Live (Fr. Groeschel), EWTN Live, and Mother Angelica Classic. Though I guess I will still complain that they need to have specific feeds for the programs you want instead of one giant feed.
Update: One of my readers got a reply from Fr. McBrien on the subject.
It is the custom for most priests teaching in Catholic colleges and universities not to wear the clerical uniform in academic settings. That was the case at Boston College, where I taught until 1980, and it is also the case here at Notre Dame. For the most part, the only priests who wear their Roman collars during the course of the day are the president of the university and other officers of the university, such as the Vice President for Student Affairs. As you may know, the Roman collar is simply a custom that is of recent historical origin. If you were to examine photographs from the early history of the United States, you would see not only priests but bishops in secular dress, not Roman collars. I do wear the clerical uniform at liturgical functions and whenever requested, as, for example, when I appear on television.
Well not exactly surprising in his answer. Typical McBrien some alleged custom overrides Canon 284 and the norms of the USCCB. I wonder what his excuse will be now that more and more Notre Dame priests are back to wearing their clerical clothes under the leadership of their new president.