August 09, 2007

The "fumes" of men in the priesthood and religious orders

I HATE to smell cologne or aftershave on a priest or a member of a religious order.

If you were to assemble a collage of the newspaper and magazine advertisements for men's fragrances, what kind of impression would you get from the words and pictures?

Sexy, luxurious, opulent, fashionable. I think any man in the priesthood or religious life who chooses to give that kind of impression is terribly confused in his values, to say the least.

I'm sad and irritated to be able to say I've smelled a few of those in recent days, and a lot more over the years. One of them is a priest who's been visiting my monastery at least since the year I entered (1981). He's now and old man.


Blogger gemoftheocean said...

'cept "Old Spice" doesn't count!

3:37 PM  
Blogger tara said...

Since I get migraine headaches when exposed to certain purfumes and aftershaves--I think we should ban them for everyone--they may like the smell--but why do they have to bathe in the smell--and impose the odor onto others--if you like the smell so much just use it in your home--please don't share.

Most times these smells are used for attracting others to themselves--I find them repulsive. I just "fume when they touch you or kiss you on the face or hands, and then the smell permeates your brain for hours--or until you can find the nearest restroom to wash off the foul odors--I feel contaminated.

A priest should NEVER wear any odor--except clean. What are they thinking?

Sorry for the rant--this just really gets me "fuming."

8:29 PM  
Blogger Thursday said...

Obviously you haven't seen their new ad campaign.

9:06 PM  
Blogger beez said...

I even use unscented hygiene products, when available.

However, sometimes it's just the fact that there is very little choice, in soap and shampoo, not to have some scent.

However, I agree that using colognes and (heaven forbid) those "body sprays" for Catholic priests and religious shows some conflict of purpose.

3:01 AM  
Blogger Fr Justin said...

Didn't St Josemaria use a particular variety of cologne which many of his admirers use also in his memory?

4:13 AM  
Blogger Ellen said...

We had a pastor who would douse himself in Polo Cologne. When the second grade students were preparing for their first penance, the sister who was prepaing them showed them the confessional. When she opened the center door to show them where thr priest sits, Sister told them that this is where Fr. J sits. One of the children took a deep breathe and declard that the smell gave that fact away.

I enjoy your blog.

6:35 AM  
Anonymous Jeron said...

I don't know if I agree. Diocesan priests don't take vows of poverty, and if they really need a good after shave I don't see the problem. I have really sensitive skin, and sometimes if I spritz my CK One lightly, it helps w/the bleeding. I bleed no matter how sharp my blade is. I don't think "opulence" or "sexy" when I smell after shave or cologne. I think "oh, that's citrusy" or "praise God, he's hygienic!"

11:05 AM  
Blogger Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...


7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like people who smell good. When a person smokes or has a "particular' body odor, I appreciate the effort they take to have a pleasing scent. Granted, cheap scent rarely smells good, but a modest amount of a good quality scent is something I find pleasing. To me, it demonstrates a concern for cleanliness and an effort not to offend others.

(Smothering oneself in scent to mask poor hygiene is obviously in poor taste, though.)

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

If monastic wore cologne, I'd find it odd. Any other type of priest, I think it would be wrong to make any assumptions as to why he was wearing it.

If a priest goes to a barbershop and gets a haircut for $10 instead of running a #2 combed clipper over his head himself, would that mean he was trying to be sexy, luxurious, opulent, or fashionable?

Some men wear cologne as a normal part of personal hygiene and nothing more.

(For the record, I never wear cologne and I cut my own hair with a #2 combed clipper)

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"CK" = "Calvin Klein" a fashion designer. That's definitely not an impression I want to smell coming off a priest.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Paul Hargadon said...

I agree, but what if they wore the Pope's Cologne?

6:10 AM  
Blogger DilexitPrior said...

I must admit, it can be distracting (if nothing else, simply trying not to sneeze) when you go up to receive communion and you are overwhelmed by the smell of the priest's cologne.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

The worst occasions are when you merely pass by persons without any touching, but their cologne, perfume, or aftershave is in such quantity that you can actually taste it on your own lips right off the air.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Saul said...

Just a couple of points:

- Rubbing alcohol does better than aftershave in reducing skin problems, plus it doesn't leave one with a saccharin odour on one's nostrils throughout the day.

- Perfumed products are being more and more recognized as causing health problems, for example, they are discouraged in many workplaces. Hopefully the same will happen in churches.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Pope's Cologne has a fresh, clean and exalting fragrance. God gave us the sense of smell both to protect us but also for us to enjoy pleasing fragrances.

8:47 PM  

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