Clergy and Rings?

Q. Please explain who among the clergy should, or may, wear a ring. I've noticed some parish priests wear what looks like a wedding band on the right hand. Is this allowed? Is this proper?

A.L., Vienna, Va.

A. Here is a reply from Father Francis Hoffman, J.C.D.:

A bishop wears a ring as a sign of his jurisdiction. Other clerics are not prohibited from wearing rings and may do so for a sufficient reason. If a parish priest chooses to wear what looks like a wedding band on the right hand as a sign of commitment to Christ and service to the Church, that is fine.

The Code of Canon Law makes no mention of rings for priests. It indicates only that priests must wear "suitable ecclesiastical dress" and "shun completely everything that is unbecoming to their state" (see Canons 284-285).