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It shouldn't be merged in my view. The cilice is being discussed widely over the Da Vinci Code stuff - and it's good to have a link to this exact word. I work in religious journalism, and we've recently interviewed an Opus Dei priest over this who gives his views on the cilice . Likewise, it is true that it was a pretty common practice before Vatican II - including people like Pope Paul VI, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Frederick Ozanam and plenty of Catholic saints. Strange but true. It came out of an old theology of the body and matter - a bit Manichaen really- where disciplining the body was seen as a way to discipline the soul.(njamesdebien)


Sorry, I'm having trouble with getting the image to load, it seems. That's why I've edited twice. Yurfxrendenmein 19:13, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Is this article based on The Da Vinci Code? Please keep in mind that it's a work of fiction, and many of the statements in the book are untrue. Rhobite 19:20, Aug 12, 2004 (UTC)

No, this is based on information found from the Opus Dei Awareness Network, and other research sources. Yurfxrendenmein 19:21, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Actually, it used to be common practice in the Catholic Church. Dunno for today (apart from Opus Dei I think Religious Orders use it also). Pfortuny 09:38, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I know that it does exist, just wanted to remind people who are editing this article that Da Vinci Code isn't a reference source. Rhobite 15:50, Aug 15, 2004 (UTC)
I think it's good that you made the distinction, thank you. Yurfxrendenmein 01:47, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

peer review[edit]

In peer review you ask about the history paragraph. I can verify at least that the device is called "cilicium" in Latin and "cilicio" in Spanish. At least up to Vatican II it was very common in religious orders. Mpolo 13:18, Sep 15, 2004 (UTC)

There was a modification taht you can see at

- It has been customarily used in different institutions of the Catholic Church for centuries, and even by laity|lay people

+ This is a longstanding practice within parts of the Roman Catholic Church.

The replacement suggest that this is a fact, that nowadays it is in use. It's barely a fact (rather an aspersion) so I would change back to the original sentence, if there is no considered opinion to hold the current one. BTW It would be good to point the reference sources, who used and who not in the past, or nowadays. It would promote the scientific point of view of the topic. As I see, the current source is (picture), and other resources?? that Opus Dei members use this tool.

--I just came across this page and find the opening statement " is often work during Lent..." completely inaccurate. It possibly was often worn in previous times, but as a Roman Catholic who was raised in the Church and attended RC schools my whole childhood (beginning in the 1950s) I encountered NOBODY wearing the circe during Lent. We did often "give up" certain foods or pleasant activities during Lent, but never anything as extreme as this. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 14:54, 27 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The hairshirt article dupilicates a lot of this information. Benami 10:00, 8 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suggest Cilice be merged into hairshirt. Hairshirt is the form I come across when reading history texts anyway. The question is, which form is most commonly used in the English language. Google shows 34,000 hits for cilice and 82,000 for hairshirt. (book results) shows 525 for hairshirt, and 190 for cilice. I think this suggests hairshirt over cilice as the most commonly used. --Stbalbach 16:08, 8 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You're quite right - hairshirt is much more common. What about moving all of the information in Cilice to Hairshirt except that about the spiked metal band?Benami 17:51, 8 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Support the merger. Obviously, we need to merge the two. The only question is: which one remains the primary? It seems to me that if one term can be used for both items, it should be the main article.
Is it better to have an article entitled "Cilice" that contains all the information than two separate articles? --Chancemichaels 14:08, 5 April 2006 (UTC)ChancemichaelsReply[reply]
Merge to hairshirt. Flapdragon 14:29, 5 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Merge to hairshirt. Despite the attention the term Cilice has had from Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, the more common historical term is hairshirt. m0nde 15:47, 19 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oppose the Merger: The two articles could be more clearly distinguished, but there's no good reason for the merge. The two terms are not synonymous. A See Also link between the two should suffice. (And if, perchance, my position is overruled, I agree with m0nde, above, that Hairshirt is the better-known term; Cilice is an obscure word.) The Editrix 16:21, 15 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Da Vinci Code[edit]

It isn't the device of the cilice itself that is exaggerated by Brown's book (I haven't seen the movie, it may be exaggerated in that), but the character Silas who exaggerates his piety by cinching it far too tightly. --Purplezart 22:58, 21 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Anon, I compromised with you by leaving it in the article as a footnote, which is how you are supposed to link to external sites on Wikipedia. If you insist on violating the Manual of Style on the Wikipedia:Lead section (no footnotes in the lead), and violating the manual of style on how to link to external sites, violating standard practice of uploading images to Wikipedia directly instead of linking to them externally - I'll simply remove it entirely, there is already an image just like it, one we don't need another, in particular when it is copyright. I could come up with a dozen reasons to remove that link and image if you insist on making an issue over it. You obviously have some self-serving interest in having this image on the page. -- Stbalbach 18:03, 19 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I removed this image because it has a dubious source. It purports to be a cilice, though it shows a chain with hooks, whilst a cilice is generally a haircoat or similar cloth item (see the definition). The image comes from the "Opus Dei Awareness Network", a network with the aim to make this organization look bad, holding that such items are used as self-mortification. The description on the image states as much, then pleads: "However, the cilice is really used." — this sounds very odd to me. I think we should find another image without the source problems. Lostcaesar 17:45, 30 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Silas" and "cilice"[edit]

Hi all,

Just a small correction - I think. Actually, Silas and Cilice are not homonyms but paronyms. Two homonyms have exactly the same pronunciation, while paronyms' are very close to each other, which corresponds to our case.

Combined and Reordered[edit]

I ran across this article while reading about Thomas Becket. I noticed that the "construction" paragraph said nearly the same things as the "usage" paragraph (and mentioned nothing about how a hairshirt is constructed). So, I combined the two paragraphs (I don't believe I deleted anything, just moved it). Since "construction" was not about construction I renamed it "modern usage" as it's talking about a metal belt.Estreya 16:28, 29 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Plural of Cilice[edit]

I might have missed it, but the article doesn't give the plural of cilice 06:33, 12 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Paola Binetti removal[edit]

Why remove this from Modern Usage?

"In 2007, Italian Conservative Senator and Opus Dei member Paola Binetti admitted wearing a celice[3] in order to recreate the sufferings of Christ." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Boldautomatic (talkcontribs) 20:44, 12 March 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]


Yo, I don't know how to edit articles properly, so I hope someone can do it for me. This entry I thought could be useful under the section entitled "Usage"; as follows:

'The legendary Sir Lancelot wore an hairshirt as a token of faith in the quest for the Holy Grail.'

Reference: Sir Thomas Malory, "La Morte D'Arthur", Book XV

"Sackcloth and ashes"[edit]

I've come across this phrase somewhere as an advanced form of humble pie, so I've created Sackcloth and ashes as a redirect to this article. If someone knows more, could they create a section with this title? --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 13:35, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've had a go. Improvements welcome. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 17:20, 14 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The current version of this section reads in part "Jesus expected people to repent using sackcloth and ashes:". Could someone knowledgeable about Christian doctrine comment on whether this is widely accepted? --Jarsyl (talk) 02:29, 13 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thomas More[edit]

Holbein's portrait of Thomas More
Sir Thomas Elyot

I have just removed this from the article. There was a statement that what appears to be a hairshirt is visible at the neck and wrists, under his robe of office. This material is unsourced.

It appears to me that what More is wearing is fine white linen, as one would expect. Sir Thomas Elyot, on the other hand, is obviously wearing something hairy inside his shirt.

Amandajm (talk) 23:01, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suggestions for improvements[edit]

Hello! I just stumbled across this article while trying to document a paper on the history of christian practice, and found the wording and arrangement a bit wanting. If nobody complains, I'll make some deep changes in the next few days, including:

  • The metal belt may date back to the 17th century, so it is not as recent as it seems.
  • It was fairly accepted (even recommended) prior to 1965.
  • There is too much emphasis on recent events (the Da Vinci code and the italian discussion), and Wikipedia is not a blog.
  • There are two merges that need to be reconsidered (to/from sackcloth and hairshirt).

Those come to mind at the moment. Louie (talk) 23:37, 25 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I'm not sure that the reference to Jesus is neutral. The 'quote' is presented as fact - i.e. Jesus did say those words. This is clearly not the case. He may have said something similar, but to include a quote in this manner is not appropriate. Grimerking (talk) 16:44, 17 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thomas a Beckett (Arch Bishop of Canterbury'[edit]

According to the British documentary 'History of Britain', when Thomas a Beckett was assassinated it was discovered that he was wearing a hair shirt under his robes. Should this be included? Grimerking (talk) 16:44, 17 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Construction of hairshirt[edit]

How was the cloth made? "Woven like other textiles" or what? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:51, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

have i missed something?[edit]

Was "Catalhöyük culturoritual" untranslated in the quote or not translated from another language. It appears to say "catholic culturo-ritual" or, the culture of Catholic ritual. Just asking, Manytexts (talk) 07:21, 16 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, you've missed something. Çatalhöyük (see article) is a very well known archaeological site. The city uncovered at the site predates Christianity and Catholicism by several thousand years. It has nothing to do with either. "Culturo-ritual," on the other hand, is just unnecessary anthropological jargon that turns "cultural ritual" into an adjective. (talk) 11:29, 6 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"In popular culture"[edit]

These trivia-type sections are generally deprecated. It used to have an {{In popular culture}} tag, but someone removed it without explanation. I am restoring the tag, though a few of the references (e.g. T S Eliot, Molière, Flaubert, and Tristan and Iseult) hardly count as "popular culture". Vilĉjo (talk) 16:47, 23 November 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Opposition to cilice[edit]

The article mentions opposition to the cilice, but it doesn't say what these opponents say. There don't appear to be any link to opposition. Only the response to the opposition is mentioned. It would be better if we knew specifically what the opponents say. Tgiesler (talk) 14:00, 2 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Sounds ridiculous stupid, but why not add Dominic Savio here?! Edward Zeke Rivera (talk) 16:40, 15 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]