details… details…

Here are a couple shots of a vestment used yesterday for All Souls.


A detail:


Contrast this with a vestment I saw recently:

No details of this one are needed. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Fr. D says:

    “One of these things is not like the others……”

  2. Jim says:

    I attended All Souls Day mass at a neighboring parish yesterday and, Voila! , the young hispanic priest who celebrated the mass was wearing (get this!), BLACK VESTMENTS!!!

  3. PNP, OP says:

    We have a few black vestments here at the priory…however, they were apparently made for some sort of strange dwarf priest.

    Fr. Philip, OP

  4. MSusa says:

    Hey Fr,
    Can priest celebrating N.O. mass wear that style of vestment?
    It is different than the style, like the bottom one, our priest wears.
    Boy is that beautiful or what! (first pics of course)

  5. Don Taylor says:

    Yes, MSusa, priests may wear either the Roman (fiddleback) style, as in the top picture, or the Gothic style, as in the bottom.

  6. Andy K. says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,

    I clearly can see the first came from the Catholic Church, but is the second in a Catholic or in an Episcopalian building? After seeing some from both, it’s hard to tell.

  7. benedict ambrose says:

    Well, I’m in an internet cafe and I literally “laughed out loud” when I scrolled down to the lower “vestment”… The contrast! My throat still hurts.

  8. Bernard says:

    Thats “Gothic” as in “Horror”, right?

  9. Maureen says:

    A hart chained and gorged (chained around the neck), with a crown around its neck, was the personal device of King Richard II. (But it was apparently couchant, which the vestment hart decidedly isn’t.) It must have been popular back then as a motif, because Cardinal Beaufort apparently bore a similar chained hart as a device.
    Corbels decorated with Richard II’s hart and the royal crest and helm of the Plantagenets.

    I don’t get the symbolism (unless it’s canting, and the point is the obvious pun), but obviously there is some.

  10. MSusa says:

    Thanks, One more question. If we buy one for father, does it stay at our parish or is it his personally, to take with him? Of course, there is the chance that he would NEVER wear it.

  11. Maureen says:

    I should say that a hart often symbolizes Christ, but there are multiple struggling harts here. So probably it\’s the souls still needing release from purgatory being symbolized. Or something.

  12. Bill says:

    Gah! Please, Father, post a warning next time! That was like a slap in the face. What’s the symbolism of the pastel vestments? ;^)

  13. EJ says:

    MSusa – It depends on your parish’s priests. One young tradition-minded associate at our parish took virtually all of the parish’s old vestments because he thought that nobody would ever use them there. He probably had the pastor of the time’s permission to take them – but regardless, he did our 60 year old parish a disservice, as several tradition-minded young priests have come and gone since, all without much money to acquire expensive beautiful vestments (who can easily afford a $2,000 chasuble set?). I still remember the rose vestments that were taken, very very old, beautiful and expensive, and frankly irreplaceable. Be sure to make an agreement in writing if you and other parishoners are thinking of donating vestments to your parish, as some inconsiderate priests have sticky fingers!

  14. Yes, I have the same question to ask as Bill.

    The fine black chasuble with that extraordinary embroidery of the Crucifixion speaks for itself.

    But what is that other garment trying to say ?

  15. Berolinensis says:

    The hart with crown and chain is decidedly English heraldry. But generally, a hart is a symbol of the Christian soul, because of the verse from Psalm 41:
    “Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum ita desiderat anima mea ad Te, Deus.” (“As the hart panteth after the fountains of water; so my soul panteth after thee, O God.”) Thus, the cloth may have been made for another purpose, but it still is a very fitting chasuble for All Souls.

  16. Anon. says:

    EJ and MSUsa,

    If it is given as a gift to the PRIEST, of course he can take it with him. If it is given as a donation to the PARISH, it should stay there. You should just make sure he knows which you are intending.

  17. Tim Ferguson says:

    While EJ is correct that some priests have sticky fingers, a number of priests are also well aware of their responsibility of preserving the heritage of the Church. While it is likely that young associate who took the parish’s vestments did so due to “sticky fingers,” it’s also true (and I have seen and heard this with my own eyes) that some pastors will not just give “old things” away, but throw them away, or even destroy them.

    While it’s unfortunate that your parish has lost an essential part of its patrimony, you can take comfort in the fact that some priest is actually using the vestments. In some cases I’ve heard of, old vestments – many still useful, many very beautiful and even priceless, were consigned to the fires.

    Frankly, I think it a bit wiser, in these times, to donate vestments directly to a priest, rather than to a parish (particularly a diocesan parish). It may mean saying goodbye to the vestment when Father goes to a new assignment, but at least one has the assurance that the gift will continue to be used in the service of God, rather than merely collecting dust in a closet (or worse) when the new pastor comes in with different ideas of beauty.

  18. Henry Edwards says:

    MSusa: Can priest celebrating N.O. mass wear that style of vestment?

    The crazy thing is that this is a perfectly natural question for a Catholic to ask nowadays. When for so long those \”earlier generations\” Pope Benedict mentioned thought it obvious that the greater the beauty the greater the glory offered to God.

    The parish priest wore a black fiddleback at the ad orientem Latin Novus Ordo Mass for All Souls that I attended yesterday evening.

    The Latin-English booklet that the congregation used contained only the Roman Canon (and not EP I, II, III), an excellent non-ICEL English translation of the Ordinary, and had a inside-cover note that said

    This booklet is entitled The Mass of Vatican II because it contains the Novus Ordo Missae (New Order of Mass) as promulgated by Pope Paul VI on Holy Thursday, April 3rd, 1969–but in the form clearly envisioned by the Fathers of the Council in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium).

    An older person commented after this beautiful and moving Mass for the Souls in purgatory, \”I\’ve been attending the Novus Ordo for almost 40 years, and never had any idea this was how it was intended to be.\”

  19. Henry Edwards says:

    Of course I meant to say the Roman Canon — which is EP I — (and not EP II, III, IV). Incidentally, this nice Latin-English Mass booklet is available from Ignatius Press — go to and search under Books for the title The Mass of Vatican II.

  20. TNCath says:

    That blue and gold vestment reminds me of those terrible chasubles worn by the Holy Father and concelebrants in Austria. Horrors! I certainly hope that the new papal Master of Ceremonies does a cleanout of the Papal sacristy closets.

  21. MSusa says:

    Ok. So, if we were wanting to make a donation to the parish, to donate a vestments, the priest may or may not wear it and the coming priests could do the same as it sits in the closet collecting dust? Maybe we will ask if he even likes that style. It does make more sense to give it to the priest because then we at least know it is not in a closet.
    They are beautiful…but expensive!

  22. Wow, that first one is beautiful, but it does beg the question: is that a black vestment with gold, or a gold vestment with black? Amazing material though.

    In the Novus Ordo, is the round red rubber nose optional with the second vestment?
    (Sorry, couldn’t resist, that second, blue and whatever vestment looks like something a clown would wear).

  23. Matthew Mattingly says:

    The second photo reminds me of vestments that Archbishop Piero Marini, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI favor.

    It’s also the kind of cheap vestments most frequently seen in yhe Episcopal Church. Why must we always copy from them? If we don’t choose to use our own tradition, How about copy from the Greek Orthodox for a change….

  24. Dan J. Howell says:

    I went to an extraordinary mass at St. Vincent De Paul in NYC and the priest was an member of the Institute of Christ the King and he wore a beautiful black and silver fiddleback. The mass was beautiful and it was hard to take your eyes away from the vestment. I wish I took pictures of it though.

  25. Matthew Mattingly says:

    OOOPS, I meant the third photo reminds me of the style favored by Piero Marini, John Paul II and Benedict XVI and which is more frequently seen in the Episcopal Church. Not photo #2.

  26. fxavier says:

    3 thoughts:

    1. How about conical (the original form) chasubles? Are they too bothersome and heavy for priests? Even for traditionally minded priests? They are far more aesthetic than gothic because of their folds, and more “house”-like than the “Roman”. In fact, the original Roman was the conical.

    2. Talking about 1970’s iconoclasm, how feasible is the idea of setting up a beneficial trust to protect the patrimony of a parish. This would mean, for example, that vestments are legally owned by a trustee, but beneficial ownership and use given to the parish. If the pastor doesn’t want the vestments, the trustee, and not the pastor, decides what to do with them. The trustee can be any group of people.

    3. “but in the form clearly envisioned by the Fathers of the Council…(Sacrosanctum Concilium)”

    Sacrosanctum Concilium asked for an organic reform, not a new rite.

  27. RichR says:

    and people wonder why we young people are returning to traditional things……….

    frankly, I find the last one very dull and uninspiring.

  28. Tim Davies says:

    I just wanted to report that a beautiful and moving Requiem according to the traditional rite was celebrated at the Church of SS John and Stephen at the Minimes here in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday. Monseigneur’s chasuble did not resemble the last picture!

  29. Picture 3 – absolutely scandalous! I can only imagine Our Lord, remembering with fondness the magnificent cloth of gold vestments that he wore at the Last Supper – remember, when the table was fronted by a magnificent antipendium (after being pushed against the wall of course) – and weeping tears of anguish at the quality of the prayers and sentiments that must have accompanied any Mass at which these vestments are used!

    O Men, How long will your hearts be hardened, will you love what is futile….

  30. It is a fallacy to imagine that at the Last Supper, our Lord used “everyday” things. Everything about the meal was specially prepared for the sacred. The bread was (unusually) unleavened, prepared with wheat specially cut while prayers were said, the grains were milled prayerfully and the householders had a ritual search to check for any traces of the old leaven. The water used in preparing it was kept overnight. The participants drank wine: not a daily custom at that time in Palestine but something reserved for special occasions. The posture for eating was unusual – reclining as men who have been set free. Jermias in “The Eucharistic Words of Jesus” gives many other details. This was not an “ordinary meal”. (Oh, and he was not “facing the people”.)

    BTW – my bedspread at the seminary is cheerful in its way but I wish people would stop using it as a pattern for vestments.

  31. Here are some great funeral vestments from the 17th century with a wonderful “Tempus Fugit” death-head motif (which I am sure many of you have already seen, but, hey, ’tis the season):


  32. Berolinensis says:

    Exactly, Fr. Finigan. Also, holy Mass is not only, nor even foremost, a “reenactment” of the Last Supper, but above all an unbloody re-present-ation, a making present of the holy sacrifice of Calvary. Therefore, all arguments in the vein of “but at the Last Supper …” are mistaken from the beginning.

  33. OK. Let’s cut to the chase. As splendid as vestments, rubrics etc. are, do they in any way make a difference to the essentials of the ‘re-presentation’ that Berolinensis speaks of?

    Fr Finigan speaks of the uniqueness of the occasion; was it any different from any other Passover celebration that evening? If so, how do we know? Was Jermias there?

    In addition, Fr Tim, exactly what direction was Our Lord facing?

    Again, Gentlemen…

    O Men, How long will your hearts be hardened, will you love what is futile…

    What really matters?

  34. Monica says:

    I love lots of pretty colors; especially when they resemble the colors of a rainbow. We can use different colors to make political statements during Mass. It’s absolutely beautiful!

  35. Tommaso says:

    I see that the bishop of Paterson, NJ has instructed his priests not to wear the stole on top!

  36. Guy Power says:

    Maureen, “A hart chained and gorged (chained around the neck), with a crown around its neck…

    In heraldic terms gorged means “collared around the neck” and refers to the crown. I suspect the blazon reads,”A hart Argent chained and gorged of an ancient crown Or”. Argent = silver; Or = gold and refers to both chain and crown in my example. Of course if the hart is actually Argent/silver, a gold chain and gold crown violate the “rule of color” in that you may not place metal upon metal, or tincture upon tincture … and yes, there are some exceptions, especially in Ecclesiastical heraldry (the arms of Jerusalem, for example, immediately come to mind: Argent, a cross potent between four crosses Or).

    –Guy Power

  37. Maureen says:

    Thanks for the heraldry info! It’s been a while since I read up on heraldry. I don’t own any reference books that I could check against what I read on the Web when I did a quick search… and that is perilous.

  38. Karen says:

    Good to see you back at St. Agnes! We’ve missed you!

  39. Tim says:


    Fr. Z was at St. Agnes yesterday? i hope we see him tomorrow.


  40. Daniel Muller says:

    We have a few black vestments here at the priory…however, they were apparently made for some sort of [very short] priest.

    Those may well have belonged to Monsignor Brady, pastor of St. Edward’s, who in fact requested black for his own funeral.

  41. JML says:

    The 3rd picture, was that the 3rd jersey of Chelsea FC?

  42. canon1753 says:

    The amazing thing is that the third chasuble is quite expensive too, because the different colors are not added to a base white chasuble it is made that way on a loom. I remember looking at something like that chasuble that looked almost like a tie-dyed chasuble, but it was made that way so it was one piece of fabric. It was hideous, but I appreciated the quality of the work. It was about 10 years ago and it was $1500. My beautiful set of 4 poly/damask and brocade chasubles, stoles and chalice veils was only 100 more for 4 in the same time frame…

  43. Anthony says:

    I think my eyes jumped out of their sockets when they saw that.

  44. Mark Curley says:

    This example is a lot like the modern church building use of colored window tiles instead of true stained glass with pictures of saints, etc. You get a colorful ambiance, but it’s at best a charicature of true stained glass, and the richness of churches of the past.

  45. Tim H says:

    Wow! Archeologism, Iconoclasticism, Nominalism, Reductionism, and Minimalism all in a mere 175 words! I salute your efficiency! However, be advised that these precise metnal rubrics that you apply to the question of orthopraxis are ahistorical, non-apostolic, and trace directly back to certain proto-protestant thinkers sch as William of Ockham. But of what avail are the Fathers of the Church or the Apostolic Tradition against an intellectual fancy buttressed by a private interpretation of scripture? Your line of reasoning was unknown in the West until the reformation, and extirpated in the east with the end of the icon wars. However, you should know that this precise lien of reasoning is what makes the modern Western church the alternate object of pity and derision by the Easterners. I pray you study the Church Fathers, and receive proper spiritual guidance, preferably from an Easterner, to rid yourself of Iconoclasm. Left untreated, it will destroy your faith. Catholic worship is to be organoleptic, encompassing all the senses. IF to be deep in history is to cease to be protestant, then to be bereft of images and sensations beyond the aural and intellective is to cease to be Catholic.
    As for “was it any different from any other Passover celebration that evening? ” with regard to the Last Supper, is a statement of such sublime ignorance and imbecility as to call you very Christianity into doubt.

  46. Diane says:

    Those first two make me want to get into making traditional vestmets. Simply beautiful, and catechetical at the same time.

  47. Fr. Tim,

    And you forgot to mention that at that Last Supper the prayers
    were, as they still are in observant Jewish households, in the
    liturgical language, Hebrew, not in the daily Aramaic.

    As for the direction Our Lord faced, he would have faced the same
    direction as all those present. The other side of the table had
    to be free for those serving (imagine the problem if there were
    couches all around the table? And remember the Apostle who
    leaned his head on our Lord’s breast–hard to do that accross the
    table . . .

  48. andrew says:

    You are a holy and good priest–we need you at St. Agnes–please do whatever it takes to become incardinated in St. Paul, MN

    God Bless You

  49. Henry Edwards says:

    LoF: n addition, Fr Tim, exactly what direction was Our Lord facing?

    To simplify Father’s answer above … Since everyone was sitting (or reclining) on the same time of the table, Jesus was facing in the same direction as his disciples … just as priests at the altar down through the ages have faced the same direction as their congregations.

    But perhaps you had some more subtle point? As to what posture while eating at table has to do with posture at altar while offering sacrifice. What am I missing?

  50. Bernard says:

    LOF, While Our Lord may not have worn cloth of gold remember His seamless robe was of such high quality the soldiers cast lots for it.

  51. pjsandstrom says:

    Vestments (especially Mass Vestments) should be and look like clothes, not sandwich boards (however beautifully decorated)!

  52. pjsandstrom says:

    Vestments (especially Mass Vestments) should be and look like clothes, not sandwich boards (however beautifully decorated)! Conical
    vestments do look like clothes if they are sparing with the decoration. Think of the vestments of St. Thomas Becket at Sens and Tournai, and the many in the Medieval manuscripts.

  53. Timothy James says:

    I am surprised no one sees the rich symbolism of the third garment! Clearly the blue symbolizes the “spirit of Vatican II.” The gold represents “liturgical creativity.” The bland off-white represents bland and boring Liturgies with no sense of the Sacred.
    *Please note my sarcasm.

    And a non-sarcastic note: The closet it is in represents exactly where this garment belongs, and should stay!

  54. Stu says:

    I’m fairly certain I saw that last vestment in a Power Rangers movie.

  55. Athanasius says:

    O Men, How long will your hearts be hardened, will you love what is futile…

    What really matters?

    Giving to Jesus Christ the most sacred liturgy possible, not some goofy, half @%$$#, sloppy garbage with cheap vestments and wine cups that bear a striking resemblance to the $5.00 set in my cupboard.

    I mock glass chalices but at one time in the church glass was used frequently, in the 2-3rd centuries. The reason was glass was considered too precious for drinking in most parts of the Roman World and as such was applied to different purposes. Because of their precious value, glass was utilized, not something cheap and easily obtainable like wood. Furthermore the early Church used gold chalices. Gasp, all that vanity amongst saintly deacons who died rather than tell the emperors where all the gold was! Because the gold was consecrated set apart.

    That is the core of the argument is what has been consecrated, made holy, and set apart for worship. Do you give God the best or the worst? When God demanded a sacrifice of those who would uphold His honor, certain people like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses etc. he did not say “well, don’t get all worked up over finding that fatted calf, don’t worry about that unblemished lamb, just whatever you’ve got is okay.” On the contrary, offering anything but the best to almighty God was an insult and a sin, and in Leviticus Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abiu were struck dead because they didn’t offer a worthy sacrifice: “taking their censers they put fire therein, and incense on it, offering before the Lord strange fire; which was not commanded them. And fire coming out from the Lord destroyed them, and they died before the Lord.” Leviticus X:1-2
    Unless you are a Marcionite that is our God, the same God who brought us salvation through Jesus Christ. God takes what we do in the liturgy seriously. If the Mass is not offered worthily we do in fact sin. The priests sins and we are complicit for tolerating it instead of walking out that instant.
    Moreover, you argument presumes man was just a spirit. Man is a body soul unity, that means the manner the sacraments are presented affects the manner in which we understand them and receive graces from them. Beautiful liturgy maximizes grace, ugly liturgy with chasubles like photo #3 minimizes grace. Sacred things, things set apart, vessels made of gold, or silver, vestments which are beautiful, high altars, candles, sacramentals lift the mind to God. Ugly ones distract us and leave us here. Beautiful things are so because beauty is one of God’s perfections, and true beauty participates in God’s nature. Ugly things are a privation thereof, like photo #3.
    So yes, it does matter, blind and hard of heart, who will take any cheap thing and not accept the glorious gifts of God!

  56. Calleva says:

    The first thing I reacted to with horror was the fabric of the modern chasuble – it’s just so disgusting: cheap polyester cack that would be rejected by a tracksuit manufacturer. And the design on it looks like the upended flag of some newly independent third world state.

    Hold a lighted taper too close to that thing and it will go up in flames and melt.

  57. Tinlin says:

    I tend to think traditional vestments, and traditional church buildings, are a lot like the latin language; they don’t change with times and don’t get caught up with the flavour of the day. I know that it’s still a matter of taste, but boy, do I really dislike some of our diocese’s parishes that were built in the 70s, the shag carpeting and the wooden walls go well with the polyester vestments.

  58. Athanasius et al

    Get off your high horse and don’t presume to know my heart.

    The line I quote is from the Psalms so it must have some provenance – and some purpose!

    Yes, beautiful things enhance liturgy, however I would suggest that what God really seeks is the riches that dwell within each one of us, not what is on the surface.

    There are plenty of instances within the Gospels where Our Lord points to the example/seeks the company of the poor and despised (today’s Gospel for example) and rejects the grandeurs that others demand he should avail of.

    Is a Mass offered with a glass chalice or indeed a wooden one any less of a Mass than one with a chalice crafted from precious metals?

  59. Henry Edwards says:

    L o F: Is a Mass offered with a glass chalice or indeed a wooden one any less of a Mass than one with a chalice crafted from precious metals?

    Such a Mass is surely less pleasing to God, because it so explicitly violates the law of his Church as to be offered in willful disobedience:

    Redemptionis sacramentum [117] … Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. …

    Not merely condemned, not merely forbidden, but reprobated!

  60. Tim H says:

    I repeat my warning, your belief is wholly unscriptural when read by the analogy of the apostolic faith, and contrary to the teaching and example of even the most ascetic of the desert fathers. Your stated beliefs are dangerously iconoclastic and reductionist and based on nothing but your own personal notions coupled with a private interpretation of scripture. I pray you contact your local Byzantine Catholic, or even Eastern Orthodox, priest to receive a more unified and holistic view of the theological reality of Iconography and the central, primary, and organic role of liturgy and iconography in the Christian life. You are in great danger.

  61. Athanasius says:

    That\’s ridiculous. God wants both. You purposely ignored my argument from Sacred Scripture to isolate another aspect out of context (and out of the liturgical context). God wants both our hearts and beautiful liturgy. There is no dichotomy between them. If the Liturgy is reverent and our hearts are lacking we lose grace, if our hearts are there and the liturgy is lacking we lose grace, if both are in the right place we gain them.

    Is a Mass offered with a glass chalice or indeed a wooden one any less of a Mass than one with a chalice crafted from precious metals?

    As someone else pointed out, anything that goes against explicit Church law is inherently offensive to God and unCatholic. If you want to persist in this protestant argument I can\’t stop you.

  62. Henry Edwards

    Unwittingly – I presume – you make my point exactly. These are regulations, rules made by man not God. The law of his Church? I would be grateful if you could point me to the places where these rules were expounded by the Almighty.

    Tim H

    ‘I repeat my warning, your belief is wholly unscriptural when read by the analogy of the apostolic faith, and contrary to the teaching and example of even the most ascetic of the desert fathers. Your stated beliefs are dangerously iconoclastic and reductionist and based on nothing but your own personal notions coupled with a private interpretation of scripture.’

    I might be worried if – I could actually understand what you mean. Perhaps you could put it in simple words that I could understand.

  63. JML says:


    Be careful or the referee is going to issue a 2 minute penalty for Hijacking of Thread.

  64. Sean says:

    Lover of Futility. You are a protestant and I claim my £5.

  65. Athanasius says:

    Unwittingly – I presume – you make my point exactly. These are regulations, rules made by man not God. The law of his Church? I would be grateful if you could point me to the places where these rules were expounded by the Almighty.

    Did you go to CCD with nuns in clown costumes or what? The Church speaks for the Almighty! “He who hears you, hears ME.(!) Luke X:16.
    Your arguments are inherently protestant. If you applied your logic universally, you could not accept the Trinity, Marian devotion and dogma, Lent, intercession of the saints, wearing of any vestments or clerical vesture because none of them are explicitly mentioned in the Bible. They are expounded by the Almighty in as much as they are expounded by the Church which He commissioned to speak for Him. The only one making your case is Martin Luther.

  66. PMcGrath says:

    Isn’t that third vestment actually a Vancouver Canucks hockey jersey from the 1980s?

  67. Athanasius says:

    Actually it looks like the choir vestments of a Cathedral a friend of mine used to sing at.

  68. David2 says:

    Lover of Futility, can I suggest that you read the sections in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on “The Transmission of Divine Revelation”, and “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church”.

    Your statements about “rules made by man not God” are profoundly un-Catholic; do you not understand the Church’s ancient teaching on the divine origin of Sacred Tradition and the Teaching of the Magesterium?

    I pray for you that our Lord and God would be pleased to rescue you from your errors; and recall you to our holy mother the Catholic and Apostolic Church. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui salvas omnes, et neminem vis perire: respice ad animas diabolica fraude deceptas; ut, omni hæretica pravitate deposita, errantium corda resipiscant, et ad veritatis tuæ redeant unitatem. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

  69. Rose says:

    The third design reminded me of Pocahontas. It looked very much like an aboriginal native design.

  70. Tim H says:

    “Unwittingly – I presume – you make my point exactly. These are regulations, rules made by man not God. The law of his Church? I would be grateful if you could point me to the places where these rules were expounded by the Almighty.”

    You are indeed in great danger. You are now applying Sola Scriptua formulation against the authority of the Church in disciplinary matters binding on the faithful. “rules made by man not God” indicates that you deny the divine nature and origin of the Church.
    A veritable cornucopia of liturgical rules were propounded by the Almighty in Exodus and Leviticus. As for the new covenant, this is governed by the apostolic tradition which clearly teaches that beauty is itself divine, and therefore, the more beautiful the liturgy, the more truly it expresses the divine reality. You are trying to lead yourself by your own light. That is not Catholic.

  71. Athanasius says:

    Now the fiddleback was more or less ubiquitous before VII, except for the monasteries which tended to use gothic chasubles. Can anyone speculate how #3 became prevalent? Was it introduced by think tanks and progressive committees or was it spontaneously developed by liturgical outfitters? How did it replace the fiddleback by 1970? Perhaps those priests who lived through it have some thoughts?

  72. Patrick says:

    Lots of interesting comment, but if someone can answer this question I would appreciate it.
    I remember the Roman vestments from when I was a boy, and now that I see them at TLMs the memories flood back. My question is about the Gothic vestments. How long have they been around? I have seen pictures that were painted hundreds of years ago that seemingly depict such vestments, did they fall out of use during the Renaissance and after? Does anyone have a timeline on liturgical dress they can share?


  73. As for the “it’s what’s inside that counts” attitude:

    Our external actions reflect our internal attitude.

    So if you had a date with someone you really loved and you wanted to fix them dinner, would you not make something fancy, make sure the house was clean, make sure everything was perfect, to show them that you really cared about them? Or would you just throw some TV dinners in the oven, and invite them over to messy house, and think, “they’ll understand.”?
    They might be “understanding” once or twice, but I would guess pretty soon, they would get a pretty good impression you really didn’t care enough to do something really nice for them.

    I usually find that when you really love or care about someone, you’ll go all out for them. And isn’t that what Jesus Christ did?

  74. Matthew Chapter 23 verse 5.

  75. Athanasius says:

    You are not reading the verse correctly. There was nothing wrong with what the Pharisees did, it was why they did them that was sinful. Glorifying God is good, but they wanted to glorify themselves while making it look like God is glorified. IF THE PRIEST FACES THE PEOPLE HE IS MORE LIKELY TO GLORIFY HIMSELF THAN IF HE IS TURNED AWAY FROM THE PEOPLE, THEN HE LET’S CHRIST TAKE OVER. Moreover, the fact that the Church is beautiful, the liturgy is beautiful, and that the priest wears dignified vestments point to God and to Christ, not to himself. When the priest walks out of the sanctuary in a polyester vestment to talk about the weather, he is calling your attention to himself, not to the gifts of God.

    The same is true with the story of the publican and the pharisee. The Pharisee was right about all the things he said, all of those things were good and required by the law, and the Publican was indeed a sinner for not conducting himself according to the law. The Pharisee was stupid because instead of saying Lord, help this Publican to follow the law and be upstanding in your eyes, he used his pride and presumption to take away all the good from the things he did right and glorify himself instead of Almighty God. Thus God would have mercy on the publican because the Publican understands what he is, and humbly asks for mercy. That doesn’t change that he is a sinner or mean that he didn’t have to fulfill the law, that is why he is asking for forgiveness! It is as I said before, we need to have both things right, dignified and beautiful in accordance with the Church law and the appropriate disposition of heart to receive the sacraments. There is no in between on that, and requiring that things are glorious and beautiful does not diminish the interior disposition in any way. You are continuing to set up a false contradiction that doesn’t exist in fact.

  76. ‘When the priest walks out of the sanctuary in a polyester vestment to talk about the weather, he is calling your attention to himself, not to the gifts of God.’

    That may be true for some, but it is a massive generalisation that you have no way of proving.

    Equally, you cannot prove that someone who dons what you see as more appropriate vestments – which in themselves are likely to be visually magnificent – is not doing that to glorify himself.

    We cannot know the motives of others.


    Again, a massive and unproveable generalisation.

  77. Athanasius says:

    Nonsense. It is easily provable. Ask any priest if it is harder to concentrate when he is facing the faithful or if he is facing the altar.
    Second, how many “do it yourself Masses” existed before 1965? How many priests felt the need to change the rubrics at will, to create their own ideas and expressions, and to make themselves the center of the liturgy? None.

    And again, if a priest is wearing some ugly vestment, and preaching about mundane subjects, or challenging the Church’s perennial teaching, yes he is attracting all attention to Himself. If he faces the people, the people look at what: his face, his mannerisms, his demeanor, none of which are governed by rubrics in the 1970 missal. In the Traditional Missal there is nothing for the faithful to see apart from the back of the chasuble, the crucifix, the sacred art. The rubrics govern the priest’s every action so that he must surrender his will as Christ on the cross. The faithful do not see his personality, neither do they get caught up in his expressions as in the Novus Ordo where he faces the people. These are not generalizations, these are facts easily verifiable and attested to by the current Pope, who has advocated placing a large Crucifix at the center of the altar as a reference point for the faithful and the priest, which suggests exactly what I claim that the people put attention on the priest and not on Christ when he faces them.

    Again you are arguing as if man was merely a spirit, and not a body and soul unity. The outside reflects the inside. Things done on the outside affect the inside. Even minor details like crappy polyester chasubles affect the sensus liturgicus of the faithful. The fact that anyone would wear such vestments demonstrates how little they are attuned to the issue of reverence. It is just as if I were to meet the President. I seriously dislike the current president and personally think he should be impeached. Nevertheless I would show dignity and respect to his office by dressing respectfully, shaving, etc., even though I can’t stand Bush. If that is so for someone I don’t particularly care for, how much more so should it be to the One I should love with my heart, mind and soul? And again, if the same president comes to your house, and asks for a drink, do you get the old and worn glass out of your cupboard, or do you open up your china cabinet to get the nice glass? If we do these things for men, why not do them for God? And if God is so, by His Divine nature requiring true worship, being the most amazing and powerful being in the universe who we have offended by our sins (we fear to offend the street punk around the corner but we think nothing of offending God?) shouldn’t we offer Him the very best?

    So yes, while it is true that a priest could wish to glorify himself, how can he do so when he is not permitted to allow his personality to come through in the liturgy, when he faces the same direction with the faithful (namely to the altar)? Even if he was the most vain being on the planet, if he celebrated the Traditional Mass according to the prescribed rubrics, no one would ever know it.

    And lastly, we can know the motives of others when their actions make it manifestly clear what their motives are. By their fruits you will know them (Matthew VII:16). If the most vane priest in existence offered the Traditional Mass, and squandered the graces he received from his sacred ordination and the representation of the Sacrifice on Calvary, but nevertheless offers a reverent and dignified liturgy, then he effectively makes it his own problem, because know one else will ever know. What will be made manifest is the priest’s obedience to the Church. In the Novus Ordo on the other hand, the way is opened wide to all these problems. So while the externals are not the be all and end all, they are important and protect the be all and end all, which is the right worship and glory of Jesus Christ our God.

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