Can Priests Wear Perfume?

I was recently preparing a class on the Iconoclastic Controversy and the Second Council of Nicea (AD 787) for the New Saint Thomas Institute and while reading the canons of Nicea II, I came across this peculiar canon about “bishop bling” and “priestly perfume”:

All indulgence and adornment bestowed on the body is alien to the priestly order . Therefore all those bishops and clerics who deck themselves out in brilliant and showy clothes should be called to order, and if they persist let them be punished. The same holds for those who use perfumes. (Canon 16 of Second Council of Nicea of 787)

I’m aware that there is a cologne on the market which is allegedly a reproduction of the one worn by Pope Pius IX, but let’s be honest:


A) Men wear cologne for women – and aspiring to smell like a 19th century Pope is not going to win you points with the ladies at the next YCP function.

B) Technically, an infallible council put the kibosh down on priestly perfumes. So priests, just say no.

Question: Has anyone heard of this priestly perfume canon or smelled the “Pope’s Cologne”? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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