I deem it necessary to draw attention to a problem that is becoming increasingly important: that of ecclesiastical dress. […] In fact, we are witnessing the greatest decadence in ecclesiastical dress. […]Clothes strongly condition and sometimes even forge the psychology of those who wear them. (Ecclesiastical) clothing, in fact, is a commitment at the taking of the habit, for its conservation and for its substitution. It is the first thing that is seen and the last thing that is laid aside. It is a reminder of commitment, of belonging, decorum, union, team spirit and dignity! It does this continuously. It consequently creates limits in action, calls to mind these limits incessantly, instigates the barrier of modesty, of a good name, of one’s own duties, of public resonance, and of the consequences of malicious interpretations. […]It is not the habit that makes the monk (at least not 100%) but it does so in a noticeable way; mostly according to (the way) an individual grows with his temperamental weaknesses. […] For this reason, the question of a uniform is magnified in ecclesiastical spheres and imposes awareness on the ones who want to save their vocations and persevere in the duties they have accepted, in discipline, in piety and in holiness! […]In some Italian cities(we are obviously not going to mention the names, but we are certain of what we are saying), with the absence of enforcement regarding the “holy uniform”, some have arrived at participating in entertainment still prohibited by the  Code of Canon Law: night-clubs, places of ill-fame and worse. We know of round-ups of seminarians in ill-reputed cinemas and other unsuitable premises. All this because the religious habit has been betrayed! […]Here is the outcome that results:*disesteem;*distrust;*insinuations, some of which are grave;*priests who, begin with the dismantling of their religious habits and of their first humble defense, end up where these end up…;*priestly crises, for which those responsible are at fault, because they were started by rejecting the necessary prudence, demanded by Canon Law and the counsel of the Bishops… with displaced and heartbreaking results…;*seminaries that are emptying and that are not surviving; while around the world, in Europe as well as in America, seminaries are overflowing, when organized according to their authentic origins, with the rigorous wearing of ecclesiastical dress, in true obedience to the conciliar Decree Optatam totius;*souls that are dragged along lacking any capacity in decision-making, after their contamination with the world.I believe it is difficult for the ecclesiastical spirit to exist in our times, because of its characteristics, if the desire and respect for the ecclesiastical habit is absent. […] It is not only with “ecclesiastical dress” that we are concerned here, but with the cassock itself.And let us face reality, without any fear of what can be said about it. […] Some, in order to boycott the use of the cassock or to justify giving in to the current fashion against it, affirm: “Anyway, the cassock is a liturgical garment” - with this, they want to reduce the cassock to liturgical use only. This is openly false and insidiously hypocritical! […] Frankly, it is clear that the clergyman's suit […] is not the most desirable solution. Will he who does not love his cassock be able to resist and love his service to God? Our neighbor does not substitute God! He who does not love his uniform is no soldier. […]The line to take is the following:*Even if the law admits the clergyman's suit, among the people, it does not represent the ideal solution;
*Those who mean to have an intact ecclesiastic spirit must love their cassock; […]
*That the defense of the cassock be the defense of vocation and vocations.My duty as Pastor obliges me to look at things very much from afar. I had to reproach the introduction of the clergyman's suit above the law, and the degradation of ecclesiastical dress are a cause, probably the primary one, of the serious decay in ecclesiastical discipline in Italy. Those who love the priesthood do not play around with the uniform!
(Excerpts of “A Te Sacerdote [To you, Priest], vol. II” by Cardinal Giuseppe Siri. Casa Mariana, Frigento, 1987, pp 67 -73 - Source: Cordialiter; translation: contributor Francesca Romana; image: Eugenio Pacelli, Seminarian)