From a reader…
Is a priest required to wear an alb when saying Mass? I’ve seen on two separate occasions where Franciscan priests would just wear the chasuble and stole over their habit without putting on an alb.
While I was interred in the re-education by hard labor camp run by Hillary Democrats and Communists (redundant, I know), I excluded putting on an alb for celebration of Mass using the tiny fragments of bread hidden from the guards and wine fermented from raisins in the twist off top of an old water bottle squirreled away in the crack of my cell’s wall.
Other than that, I can’t find any good reason – or permission – to exclude wearing the alb.
As a matter of fact, the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum says:
“123. The vestment proper to the Priest celebrant at Mass, and in other sacred actions directly connected with Mass unless otherwise indicated, is the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole.’ Likewise the Priest, in putting on the chasuble according to the rubrics, is not to omit the stole. All Ordinaries should be vigilant in order that all usage to the contrary be eradicated.”
“126. The abuse is reprobated whereby the sacred ministers celebrate Holy Mass or other rites without sacred vestments or with only a stole over the monastic cowl or the common habit of religious or ordinary clothes, contrary to the prescriptions of the liturgical books, even when there is only one minister participating. In order that such abuses be corrected as quickly as possible, Ordinaries should take care that in all churches and oratories subject to their jurisdiction there is present an adequate supply of liturgical vestments made in accordance with the norms.”
Hence, the alb is necessary for Holy Mass. Religious may not omit using the alb, even if they, like Dominicans, have a white habit. If they do this because they are too warm with the alb over the habit, they can remove some of their habit, but they may not neglect the alb.
That said, may I suggest, Fathers, that you memorize one or two Mass formularies, such as that for Mary on Saturday or the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit? When you are interred in the camp, you won’t have a book… or an alb.