From a reader:
My friend’s ordination is coming up in a number of months, and I’d like to get him something meaningful and useful. I’m a little short on money, so I have to start planning and saving now.
He’s traditionally-minded (fully fluent in Latin too) and believes in the Sacrament of Confession. He speaks of spending a lot of time hearing confessions once he’s ordained, so I figured a beautiful confessional stole would be a good idea. (Personally, I think those long, wide modern purple stoles to be pretty hideous and they remind me of feel-good reconciliation rooms with stuffed lambs, etc which really isn’t my friend’s style.)
I found some really nice hand-made silk and gold embroidered reversible stoles (purple and white) made by some sisters some place that are within my price range, but I’m just wondering how practical the white side is. I know my confessor’s stole is reversible, but I only see him wearing the purple side. What’s the white side used for?
I am glad that this one you are talking about intends to hear confessions.
The reversible stole you are talking about is really not so much for the confessional as it is for rites which require a change of stole. The perfect example of this is the older form of baptism, using the older Rituale Romanum.
In the traditional form of baptism of children, for example, after the priest anoints with the Oil of Catechumens and as the rite moves from outside the baptistry to the inside, he changes his stole from purple to white.
If this priest is traditionally-minded, I think that would be a nice gift.