Clergy Advised to Remove Roman Colar for Safety

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: January 1, 1970

Members of the clergy were advised to take off their Roman collars when they are on their own, to reduce the risk of being attacked. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury should remove the collar outside church.

Some 12% of clergy have been violently attacked, according to one academic study. An initiative linked to an ecclesiastical insurance group has warned ministers to avoid wearing their dog collars when alone because wearing one may increase the risk of violent attack. Many church buildings have been vandalised and some have been firebombed. A number of these incidents of crime and violence are motivated by hostility to the Christian religion. ‘National Churchwatch’, an insurance-backed security adviser consulting the Anglican Church on safety, says vicars are attacked more often than professions such as GPs and probation officers. The group also produces security advice for all UK churches and church workers. In the ten years prior to 2007, five vicars were murdered. In a survey of 90 London clergy carried out in 2006, nearly half said they had been attacked in the previous twelve months. One vicar, from Willesden, North West London, said his vicarage had been machine-gunned. Sources: