The Year of the Priest

Albs and fiddlebacks

From the 13th century, the list of liturgical vestments was more or less complete, and what followed was a more detailed regulation of their use.


Chasubles and dalmatics

Between the 9th and 13th centuries, the range of vestments became fully developed, the details for their use codified, and symbolic meanings applied to them.


Religious vestments

The history of religious vestments in its totality is enormously complicated, but it sheds much light upon the changing understanding of the priesthood through the ages.


Summing up

As we come to the end of our historical survey, it is time to do some summing up. The idea of priesthood has gone through many changes in the course of human history, and there are tensions between the different interpretations.


Vatican II

The Second Vatican Council (1962-5), Blessed Pope John XXIII’s “flinging open the windows to let in some fresh air”, sought to redress the balance, especially by looking again at the Scriptures and at the whole history of the Church.


John Henry Newman

In the 19th Century the Church and the world both pulled apart, and drew together. At the same time, some in the Church were taking stock of their historic roots in order to engage better with the modern world. A leading light among these is John Henry Cardinal Newman.


The Romantic Movement

The 19th century was the great age of the so-called ‘Romantic movement’, re-establishing the link between humanity and nature, which was seen to be broken by the Industrial Revolution.


Jesuits vs Dominicans

The French clergy were passive witnesses of the most vitriolic debate on the subject of God’s Grace between the Jesuits and the Dominicans


The Blessed Sacrament

In the 17th century, the new St Peter’s was completed, including Bernini’s Sacrament Chapel, where the ornate tabernacle replicated the “Little Temple” on the Esquiline Hill, on the site of the Apostle’s martyrdom.


The Council of Trent

The Council Fathers took fright at Luther’s belief that the priesthood was a service rather than an ‘indelible mark’, and could not bring itself to say that it is in both.