A pretty thorough and original response can be found here:
It was written by a Catholic priest and seems like a balanced and informed response.
It should be noted that many ministers of various Protestant denominations also wear a clerical collar. Also very popular with ministers of smaller, inderendent African American churches. It is a symbol of them being pastors.
pagan customs of purity
wow thomas is a dork!
According to the Church of England's Enquiry Centre (citing the Glasgow Herald of December 6, 1894), the detachable clerical collar was invented by the Rev Dr Donald Mcleod, a Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) minister in Glasgow.
By 1840, the Anglican clergyman developed a sense of separation between himself and the secular world. One outward symbol of this was the adoption of distinctive clerical dress. This had started with the black coat and white necktie which had been worn for some decades. By the 1880s it had been transmuted into the clerical collar, which was worn almost constantly by the majority of clergy for the rest of the period.
Reverend Henry McCloud stated that the collar "was nothing else than the shirt collar turned down over the cleric's everyday common dress in compliance with a fashion that began toward the end of the sixteenth century. For when the laity began to turn down their collars, the clergy also took up the mode."
In the Reformed tradition, which stresses preaching as a central concern, pastors often donned preaching tabs, which projected from their clerical collar.
Invented in the Presbyterian Church, the clerical collar was adopted by other Christian denominations, including Anglican Church, Methodist churches, Eastern Orthodox Church, Baptist churches, Lutheran churches, and the Roman Catholic Church. In 1967, the Roman Catholic Church adopted the clerical collar after the abandonment of the cassock, which was discouraged in the public. Anglican clergy generally wear the collar so that it is visible all the way round, but the Roman collar differs in that it is a black band of the cloth revealing the white collar centre front.
it was a way to establish the difference AND is worn by many various denominations.