There is a truly bizarre story coming to me in email about a rumor that His Excellency Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison, is now requiring priests to use either violet or black vestments for funerals rather than white.
I wish! Wouldn’t that be great?
“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are bound to be asking, “What’s up? Is this true? I will move to Madison right away!”
Alas, no, it isn’t true.
Let’s get to the bottom of this so people can stop the sale of their houses.
First, as you know, with the Novus Ordo, three colors are possible options: white, violet/purple, or black.
I got in touch with a dependable source who was at the funeral in question and who heard and saw everything.
What happened is that Bp. Morlino used purple for a recent funeral of a priest. That means there were some priests there…. no doubt some of a certain age and proclivity.
At the end of the funeral, Morlino explained why he used purple. He also said that he, personally, was going to use purple or black at funerals when opportune. He explained that funerals are for prayer for the deceased. White, on the other hand, is the color of those clothed in glory in heaven. It is not charity to neglect prayer for the dead. He added that, if he makes it to Purgatory when he dies, he will need prayers.
I will add on my own that the more somber tone set by violet or black underscores our obligation to pray for the deceased. It seems to me that, from charity toward the deceased, black (or at least violet) would be the better choice.
My guess is that this all got started because some narrow-minded balloon-toting aging-hippie priest-gossip at the funeral, who thinks that everyone goes automatically to heaven, had a case of the vapors at the sight of the purple and tattled on Morlino in an attempt to cause him another irritation.
A bishop told me once, “There are old women of both sexes!”
In short, at this recent funeral, Morlino did not say anything about the legitimate options of others.
(Sadly), there isn’t any diocesan instruction for priests in the Diocese of Madison to use black or purple.
You can now stop asking me about this in email. Pretty please?
To distract you from writing me email, let’s have a poll! Actually, this is a repeat question but we are due for it again. The readership has grown and there are many new people visiting.
Give your answer and then add your reasons in the combox, below.