I recently visited the Carmelite website for the Province of Rome.www.carmelitaniroma.it.Seeing a group photo of the friars- about 40 men with an average age of 60 all slumming around in layclothes, it's not hard to figure out why the sight of Carmelites has all but disappeared in Rome. It was a disgrace to see them like that.I've visited many sites for religious Orders doing research for a project, and even visited the Rome website for many large and small Orders. Except for a few, even the smaller Orders have pictures of their members in layclothes....and not in the distinctive habits of their Orders.Photos usually depict the same demographics....a bunch of aged men, 60+.The Novus Ordo and all the other "reforms" of Vatican II, especially regarding religious life have wrecked the Church. Fortunatly young people below 40 love the traditions of the CHurch are are bringing them back slowly...but don't look for these Carmelites, or any other Order in Rome (save for those that are traditional) to return in any numbers wearing their habits until all the "old guard" Vatican II cheerleading crew are gone to their eternal reward.Which considering the age of most members of the major religious Orders of priests and nuns...isn't too long.
While it is wonderful to see priests and religious in their traditional habits, this habit is not quite right. I will be a bit of a stickler, again, and suggest that these Carmelites, while in dress habit, are not strictly maintaining the look of the "white friars". This is a rather Franciscan looking outer garment. Carmelites have traditionally worn a much different looking outer cowl, which I can't exactly describe, but this is not it. Perhaps they have forgotten what it looks like.
I like the Carmelites and their habit is really beautiful. Sadly, not many of them, even nuns actually treasure this habit any longer. Have they forgotten that eventhough the habit does not make up a good religious, but doesn't the habit actually bear a sign and reminds them to strive to be a good religious?People think that it is the heart that counts, the habit is just a symbol. If this is so, then nowonder religious vocation no longer has the attraction anymore because people feel it is no longer important to be priest, you just live a good catholic life, thats it!!! Sometimes it is really sad to see all the traditions being dumped as though they were useless just because we have to be similar to the world fashion.I don't blame the reform of Vat II, but I think we should examine again the meaning of religious habit.From what I know, many peoples have been turned away from religious vocation because there is no longer the kind of original religious fervour in these orders.
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