From a reader…
I was wondering what the rules are if any about wearing lace albs or cottas [surplices] by priests during Lent. Is there a prohibition on lace being worn during Lent?
I don’t think there is. I haven’t found any proscription – or prescription – of lace during Lent. However, it could be argued that it makes sense to back off with decorations of all kinds during Lent. If we don’t put flowers on altars, perhaps we should also back off on other decorations as well.
If it’s all lace all the time, you really have no where to go when Annunciation comes during Lent, or St. Joseph, or Holy Thursday and Easter. Right?
His scriptis, wearing lace in Lent wouldn’t be wrong, provided – as always – that it isn’t exaggerated (i.e., comprising too much of the alb or surplice), that it is in decent condition, etc.
On a personal note, I don’t use lace very often. If I am a guest and it is laid out for me, sure. When important feasts come along, great. I have some really nice albs and surplices with lace, but for most Sundays and weekdays, I use a plain alb with little or no decoration… except some wrinkles… linen is tough to keep smooth, a less ornate surplice.