QUAERITUR: “novus ordo” vestments without orphreys for TLM

A question came by e-mail:

Dear Fr Z,
 
I am hoping you can help me with a question about vestments.  Is it permissible for priests praying the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to wear "novus ordo" vestments, i.e., Gothic style WITHOUT ORPHREYS?  Is this spelled out anywhere?
 
Our pastor has given permission for First Saturday EFM, to be said by retired priests we can line up, not himself.  I am on the committee to prepare for it and to gather what the parish does not presently have available.  We have some not-outrageous gothic novus ordo chasubles & stoles.  If they do NOT need to have an orphrey, we could obtain just the maniple, burse, and chalice veil.

 

First, I don’t think there is any such thing as a "Novus Ordo" vestment.  No special style of vestments is designated for the Novus Ordo.   I think they ought to be in good taste and, to my mind, in continuity with tradition.

These are not.

Be sure the the vestments are of good material, tasteful, in good repair.

I did check Trimeloni and, on p. 255, found the comment (#269) that the chasuble should be what the Italians call a pianeta "in forma romana"… that is to say, the Roman chasuble.  This form is sometimes called a "fiddleback", though it isn’t.  The Roman-form has specific proportions and a specific pattern of "orphreys".

And Trimeloni also says that the Roman pianeta shouldn’t have the "forma primitiva", by which I think is mean the "Gothic style".  It permits the more ample style of the pianeta we sometimes call this the taglio filipino:

Of course outside Rome and Italy fuller "Gothic" vestments were in use everywhere.

The vestment Trimeloni doesn’t like at all is the actual "fiddleback".

I am just digressing:

In a pinch, you can use any decent style of vestment, though the Roman Rite really prefers the Roman vestment.

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31 Responses to QUAERITUR: “novus ordo” vestments without orphreys for TLM

  1. Dan says:

    I find the Roman style chausable that the Holy Father is wearing in that center photograph, I believe that its white and he is with the FSSP, is the most manly looking of the vestment styles that I have seen, for what that is worth.
    Easier access to weilding a broadsword, if needed.

  2. Jayna says:

    When and where did the Holy Father wear those ghastly blue and yellow vestments?

    On a similar line of questioning, I am in the process of requesting a TLM at my parish. Although it is highly unlikely (I don’t think I can put into words how unlikely it would be) that my request will even be considered, if they did decide to offer one there is one small problem; my parish does not own any vestments suitable for the celebration of the Mass. Frankly, I would be surprised if a single maniple was to be found in the sacristy. The only vestments we have look like this. Do you know if there is any chance of other parishes being likely to lend vestments to another parish for this purpose? Obviously you couldn’t judge my diocese in particular, but just in general.

  3. Deusdonat says:

    Father Z – that first picture of our blessed Pope Benedict (may God grant him 100 years!) is funny on so many levels : ) It’s almost like he was playing “dress up” and his character was JP II. Unfortunately, he had to do this for the initial period following his predecessor’s death, in order to tone down the wrath and rhetoric of the wayward factions who clung to JP II as if he were the only Pope ever, in the name of continuity. This also involved carrying around that hideous cross-bow crucifix. Gratefully, our blessed Pope has now been able to do away with the campy continuity-based trappings and return us to the magesty found in the traditions of our church (including fashion and art).

    Gotta love that Mitre!!!!!

  4. anon. seminarian says:

    First, those were from the Holy Father’s visit to Austria.

    Second, finding a maniple is highly un-likely in almost any parish. But priests who support the EF would generally be willing to lend them to the celebrant.

    Third, while the vestment pictured is not ideal, it would not preclude the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in either form.

  5. Fr. BJ says:

    Where does the term “fiddleback” come from? It always seemed to me that it would be more accurate to say “fiddlefront” than “fiddleback”, based on the shape of the front panel of the Roman chasuble.

  6. anon. seminarian says:

    I hate to post twice in a row. But I wish to caution Deusdonat, you are rather disrespectful and harsh towards our former Holy Father of happy memory, he was just as much successor of Peter as Benedict is.

    And second while I believe in lex orandi, lex credendi and see the vital importance of good and reverent liturgy. An undue focus on vestments etc. can distract us from our true reason for going to Mass: Christ Jesus

  7. Dan says:

    anon. seminarian,
    Go to the website: The New Liturgical Movement.com to see how important vestments are to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Church.
    God bless you.

  8. Deusdonat says:

    But I wish to caution Deusdonat, you are rather disrespectful and harsh towards our former Holy Father of happy memory,

    Read it again. I was refering to Catholics who (and I have heard this even on this blog) mistakenly thought and felt JP II WAS the papacy, since he was “the only pope we [they] ever knew”. I didn’t say anything harsh about the pontif himself.

    he was just as much successor of Peter as Benedict is.

    Not in dispute.

    And second while I believe in lex orandi, lex credendi and see the vital importance of good and reverent liturgy. An undue focus on vestments etc. can distract us from our true reason for going to Mass: Christ Jesus

    An undue focus on ANYTHING can distract us. That’s logic. But vestments have until very recent times always been very important to the liturgy. Discussing the matter is not undue focus, anymore than discussing liturgical music, brands of incense, stained glass windows etc. All are a part of our rich liturgical tradition. If you feel such discussions are an occasion for you to give undue focus which will distract from Jesus Christ, then by all means desist.

  9. Geoffrey says:

    Deusdonat said: “It’s almost like he was playing ‘dress up’ and his character was JP II. Unfortunately, he had to do this for the initial period following his predecessor’s death, in order to tone down the wrath and rhetoric of the *wayward factions* who clung to JP II as if he were the only Pope ever, in the name of continuity. This also involved carrying around that *hideous* cross-bow crucifix.”

    That’s more than just a bit over-the-top.

  10. Deusdonat says:

    Geoffrey – it is wayward to believe JP II was the only pope ever. And as I said, saddly, I have heard people say they felt this way.

    And the crucifix is absolutely hideous. How anyone with shred of aesthetics or understanding of church iconography could debate this.

  11. Geoffrey says:

    Deusdonat,

    Being born in 1979, I can agree. It did “feel” like Pope John Paul the Great was the only pope, as he was the only pope ever known for a whole generation of us. But notice the difference between “feeling” and actuality. Many of us who had only known JPII felt like orphans, and yet suddenly we had a Holy Father again on that glorious Tuesday in April.

    Speaking of continuity, I think the “absolutely hideous” crucifix shows a more recent continuity. I felt such a sense of relief when I saw Pope Benedict XVI with it. I thought “Hey! Continuity! Habemus Papam!” Of course that is why reaching further back into the history of the papacy is important, but everyone should remember that some “newer” items can and do show continuity as well.

    And I am uneasy refering to any image of Our Lord as “absolutely hideous”. But I suppose “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” as they say!

  12. Aesthetics, in the final analysis, means ‘feelings.’ And, sadly, like taste, feelings are difficult to dispute.

    I’m in favor of orthodoxy over orthofroxy – especially bearing in mind that the best got-up clerics in the world are smells’n’bells Anglicans. Orthofrox without being orthodox.

  13. The use of Gothic rather than Roman shaped vestments is now left to the discretion of the local ordinary:

    “Following the decision of the [Sacred Congregation of Rites] [banning innovation, even archeological in the shape of vestments without permission] there has been for many years a sharp controversy as to the exact form of the true “Roman” chasuble, and concerning the lawfulness of the so-called “Gothic” chasuble, a term that includes the very full conical chasuble, the medieval-style ample chasuble, and the modern Gothic-revival type. An end was put to this long dispute by this declaration of the S.R.C. (August 20, 1957):
    “‘Since many bishops and other ecclesiastics have frequently–in accordance with the reply of S.R.C. of December 9, 1925–petitioned the Holy See for leave to make and use vestments for the sacrifice of the Mass and sacred functions made according to an old pattern (prisca concinnata forma), this Sacred Congregation of Rites has decided it should be left to the prudent judgment of Ordinaries as to whether, in view of special local circumstances, they may allow these vestments, but diligently forbid such changes as may cause disquiet or create astonishment among the faithful.'” (The Rev. J.B. O’Connell, “The Celebration of Mass” pg 173.)

    Arguably, these rules about the form of vestments still apply to the newer form of the Mass as well… [Hmm… probably not.] but I don’t think many Bishops are going to forbid Gothic vestments…

  14. Deusdonat says:

    Geoffry – without knowing or acknowledging it, you confirmed everything I said. When you saw our blessed Pope Benedict (may God grant him 100 years) carrying around the cross most associated with the papacy of JP II (although in reality it is a hand-me-down from Pope Paul IV) that made you feel there was continuity which comforted you. That’s a good thing in your case, and the point was made and now you’re a happy camper. Great! Terrific! Praise be to God! But the papacy is more than just one man/one personality. So, if it took you awhile to feel comfortable with this concept, then you are not alone. And if that cross helped you arrive at this conclusion, then our blessed Pope hit it right on the mark.

    Incidently, there have been unfortunately far too many images of Our Lord in the past few decades which go beyond “absolutely hideous”. Several ended up in avant-guard museum shows. I won’t diginfy them with links or descriptions. Suffice it to say, they were not at all depictions which are in keeping with the artistic legacy and tradition of the church. And neither is the crossbow crucifix. Without taking this thread down a rabbit hole (as I unfortunately I am prone to doing today : ) [But, happily, you won’t be doing that much longer, particularly when you do it with increasingly irritating negativity. – Fr. Z] ask yourself this: do you see any human characteristics on the representation of Christ on that cross? Do you see any details of his ordeal (wounds, thorns etc)? Can you tell if the figure is male or female? If you were not Christian and never heard the story, would you even know what was happening if you saw it?

    Dan – thank you for the kind words. God bless you as well.

  15. dcs says:

    Third, while the vestment pictured is not ideal, it would not preclude the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in either form.

    It would in areas where blue vestments are not permitted!

  16. Jayna says:

    “Third, while the vestment pictured is not ideal, it would not preclude the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in either form.”

    I figured as much, but if I got them to do it, I’d want to help them do it right cause I’ll never get another chance at it. It is possible that we have better vestments hidden away somewhere from times gone past, but he wears that chasuble week in and week out, so if we do have them, they’re not in use and haven’t been in some time (I’ve seen pictures of parish celebrations from 10-15 years ago and the priests are wearing the same exact vestments).

  17. Antiquarian says:

    I am curious whether orphreys themselves are a factor in the suitability of vestments for the EF. While it’s true most older vestments had them, I wasn’t aware that they were regarded as necessary.

    (And while I’m glad His Holiness is now using Pius IX’s cross, I do not find the one used by Paul VI and John Pauls I and II to be “hideous,” and I find it to be in line with accepted iconography from many periods in the past.

    The ability to judge artistic quality that conflicts with one’s personal taste is an enlightened one, and the inability to do so often is cloaked in charges of inappropriateness or historical inaccuracy.)

  18. Gregory DiPippo says:

    Purely as a point of historical interest, and not IN ANY WAY as an exhortation to disobedience: the 1957 decree on vestments was probably the first time the S.R.C. said anything on the subject to which people paid any attention at all. Two examples: blue chasubles were used regularly and legally in Spain, from which they spread to the Spanish-controlled kingdom of Naples, and were then picked up in Tuscany. The S.R.C. issued several decrees over the years prohibiting their use in Italy, to which the Italians (no surprise here) paid no attention whatsoever. The Cathedral Museum of Arezzo has a really amazing complete set of blue vestments, everything for Solemn Mass and seven copes.

    In pre-revolutionary France, it was very common to decorate vestments for Requiem Masses with skulls and bones. The S.R.C. repeatedly forbade the practice (they are permitted officially only on the pall thrown over the coffin), and the French repeatedly ignored them.

  19. Dominican says:

    “Roman Rite prefers the Roman Vestment” I grew up in the ’70’s and 80’s going to the TLM and Father never wore Roman style vestments. Also, monastic orders and orders such as the Dominicans mostly wore gothic.
    I think it really is a matter of taste. I don’t believe that Roman vestments aren’t more traditional or better or more sacred and we should be careful not to get into the strict mindset of the old days that made things that were a matter of personal choice become almost legislation. Like you said, Father, there is no such thing as NO vestments just as there is no such thing as Tridentine vestments. Both should be equally of beauty. (Of course, what beauty means is up for debate, too!)

  20. W. Schrift says:

    Concerning the iconographical precedent for Pope John Paul II’s cross – it has always reminded me of the dramatic, disconcerting realism of Grunewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece. Nothing very iconoclastic about that.

    ( http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4f/Mathis_Gothart_Gr%C3%BCnewald_022.jpg )

  21. Joe says:

    Father, your correspondent shouldn’t need to get a chalice veil separately; it was always required by the General Instruction (although I don’t know about the new edition the Americans rejoice in)

  22. MPod says:

    “Do you see any human characteristics on the representation of Christ on that cross? Do you see any details of his ordeal (wounds, thorns etc)? Can you tell if the figure is male or female? If you were not Christian and never heard the story, would you even know what was happening if you saw it?”

    As one who has twice had the honor of seeing this cross up close, and also posessing an exact replica of it (and not just an imitation miniature like the ones mass-produced and available in religious good stores), I would answer “yes” to these questions. It is quite a moving piece.

    I also like the antique cross which His Holiness carries today.

  23. Adam says:

    Whilst not directly on vestments, I want to make an observation on the episcopal ordination of two new auxiliary bishops in Notre Dame last night. It was a great event, but did you notice –
    NO ALTAR CANDLESTICKS and NO CENTRAL CRUCIFIX. Why? Well fascinating eh?
    But the music, the celebration was wonderful as usual with the great liturgical music of
    Notre Dame led by the cardinal archbishop and many French bishops.
    But it was interesting about the candlesticks and cross.
    So just how important are these?
    Besides there is so much huff and puff about vestments these days, the style, the colour etc etc
    and yet the great liturgy of the Church of Christ carries on.
    Amazing isn’t it?
    semper fidelis

  24. Re: “that hideous cross-bow crucifix”

    Crucifixion is hideous. It’s no eye-candy.

    “There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him.” (Is 53:2)

  25. Limbo says:

    Praise God for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and praise God for Pietro Marini.

    The days of novelty are over.

  26. Gregory DiPippo says:

    Dear Limbo,
    I assume, since you seem to be glad that the “days of novelty are over”,
    that you mean “praise God for GUIDO Marini.” Pietro is his precedecessor.
    His middle name is “novelty”.

  27. Adam says:

    Sorry to correct you Gregory D.
    But Archbishop Marini’s first name is PIERO, not Pietro.
    Why can’t people just check first on names before they make mistakes. [Moderate your tone around here. Typos are common.]
    Simple thing to do !!!

  28. B Knotts says:

    Fr.,

    Can you explain the difference between the Roman chasuble and the actual “fiddleback?”

  29. Dr.herbert r. says:

    When we started our TLM here in Bicol, Philippines, we do not have the candelabras, no fiddle back chasuble, no maniple, instead for a start our chaplain used the modern day type of vestment used for the Novus Ordo. There were no candelabras, we simply use the ordinary candles that were available and currently used. But now little by little we are able to procure these things. For a start the most important is that the Priest-celebrant is knowledgeable of the rubrics of the TLM. The rest will follow. These altar furnishings are not the essence of the Mass, they simply high light the beauty and profundity of the mysteries being celebrated. The most important is the willingness to say the Mass and the willingness to conform to the rubrics. Please our blog http://instaurareperomniachristo.blogspot.com/

  30. Gregory DiPippo says:

    Blesed ar the hastie, for their typos shal be corectd by the oficious.
    Blesed ar the oficious, for they shal b castigated.

  31. Limbo says:

    mea culpa,
    mea culpa,
    mea maxima culpa. !!

    I expect a very severe penance PLEASE, and please do not tell Msgr. Guido Marini of my error in tiredness ! He suffers enough.
    …Praise God for Msgr. Guido Marini !