QUAERITUR: keeping maniples on your arm

I got a question via e-mail:

I have recently noticed that when maniples are in use at my church, they are fastened to the alb by binder clips.  I assume that there is a more appropriate device for accomplishing this task, perhaps originating before the days of Office Depot.  Do you know of such a device?  What do you use?  Does it have a technical name?  Where could I find some for my pastor?


Binder clip?

I am fond of blinder clips.  As a matter of fact in my Roman house, in the refectory, I would sometimes use one for my napkin, depending on what we were eating.

I don’t think I would use one for a maniple.

Sometimes maniples have little cloth tabs sewn into the center, where it folds over the forearm.

This one has a safety pin, because the fabric is precious.  When you use a straight pin, be sure to tuck the point under somewhere, so you don’t snag something.

Otherwise, the "classic" way, is to tie them on, which the way I prefer.

Here, by the way, is a shot of a "normal" maniple, more in the French style, together with a maniple of the taglio filipino, to show you a difference in size.

But I digress.  Behold the tie, method.

It helps to have a server help you with this. 

I have gotten pretty good at tying one by myself, but sometimes I just leave it tied.

Some people find the tying to be trying. 

Thus, they opt for the less "classic" elastic band.

It ain’t elegant, but hey, it works. 

This one I made a knot in to shorten it a bit.  It was slipping around.

There is a brief foray into maniplology.

I encourage priests and deacons to use the maniple whenever one is available with the set of vestments you are using, regardless of which Missale Romanum you are using.   The maniple is not obligatory in the Novus Ordo, but neither is it forbidden.  

My practice is simple.  If the maniple is available, I put it on.  If it isn’t, no big deal.  But if they are available, I really think they ought to be used.  First, that completes the set as the set was intended to be used.  Second, it provides continuity.  Third, it is thought provoking.  Maniples took on their own meaning, apart from the rather practical aetiology. 

When the priest puts on the mainple, he would recite the prayer:

Merear, Domine, portare manipulum fletus et doloris; ut cum exsultatione recipiam mercedem laboris.  Grant, O Lord, that I may bear the maniple of weeping and sorrow, so that I may receive the reward for my labors with rejoicing.

If someone should think that the priesthood is a bed of roses, he might reflect on this prayer.

So, in regard to maniples, if you are in Holy Orders…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I know that you recieve lots of emails, but would you be so kind as to respond to my email whose subject is Novus Ordo question? I need to begin making preparations. Thank you for this wonderful blog and all the other work that you do.

  2. Fr. A says:

    :-) Good post. Gotta love the maniple. Some of mine from Rome have ties, one of mine has elastic (which I don’t like or use), and with all the others I use a pin.

    But a binder clip? Yikes!

  3. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    I have re-invented the wheel.

    I have a complete set for red only, and so when saying the OF Vigil Mass of Pentecost yesterday evening and the elastic was slipping a bit I knew I had to do something. Today I figured out that before the invention of elastic and vulcanised rubber these things had to have been tied on in a similar fashion to the Roman chasuble.

    Thanks for posting these pics, they are exactly what I had visualised.

  4. Ottaviani says:

    I think Fr Z has joined coined another Zuhlsdorfie-ism!

    “Tie one on”

    Although I do like to say: “NO MANIPLE – NO MASS!” I just wonder whether it will be rather confusing to see some priests using a maniple for the Novus Ordo, whilst the majority won’t. Uniformity might be a bit better here.

  5. Tomás López says:

    As Psalm 125 states, “Venientes autem venient cum exsultatione, portantes manipulos suos.”

    That is, “but coming they shall come with joyfulness, wearing their maniples,” right Fr Z?

  6. Ed Casey says:


    Is it ever licit for a Deacon, who has also received Holy Orders, either transitional or permanent, to wear a maniple?

  7. Matt says:

    Fr. Z are you saying a permanent Deacon can wear the maniple? What else?

  8. flabellum says:

    The maniple imposes a degree of care and concentration, otherwise it becomes the vestment specifically designed to knock over chalices!

  9. Former Altar Boy says:

    On a related subject…Father, I noticed a priest removed the maniple when he came to the ambo for the readings in English and the sermon(he puts in back on when he returns to the altar for the Credo). When I asked him about it, he said it was not a rule but simply a tradition that had been passed on to him.
    Have you ever seen/heard of this?

    More on point, what the matter with Velcro?

  10. Vernon says:


    The Maniple is to be worn by Sub-Deacon, Deacon and Priest as part of the proper vestments for Mass – and for Mass alone – in the Traditional form of the Liturgy. The Deacon additionally wears a Stole (diagonally), whilst the Priest wears his crossed at the front.

    The Maniple is not worn outside of Mass and hence is put on after the Asperges (when preceding the principal Sunday Mass), removed whilst preaching and for prayers after Mass such as the Prayers for Russia (Leonine Prayers) after Low Mass, or if a Te Deum or similar follows Mass.

    In the Novus Ordo the Maniple is optional, but if worn it must be in accordance with the rules as above.

    Nobody below the rank of Sub-Deacon is entitled to the Maniple.

  11. Mark M says:

    Former Altar Boy:

    Our FSSP Priest does this every time he gives a sermon.

  12. Tomás López: As Psalm 125 states, “… but coming they shall come with joyfulness, wearing their maniples,” right Fr Z?

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Of course this is immediately followed by Luke 10:

    Dignus est enim operarius mercede sua … A worker (in this case the priest celebrant with the maniple) is worthy of his Mercedes.

  13. Ed Casey: While I do not intend to get into this too deeply, yes, if a man is ordained a deacon (Holy Orders) he can wear the maniple, just as deacons could in the old days.

    We are simply not going even to entertain the weird idea that men who weren’t ordained literally as subdeacons cannot thus wear a maniple. That’s just dopey. I will simply cancel comments arguing to that effect as a waste of our time.

    If you are in Holy Orders, you can wear the maniple when appropriate.

  14. mike c says:

    The maniple is removed and laid across the page of the Missal before the priest goes to the ambo, because this signifies a break in the liturgical action. The reading of the Epistle and Tthe Gospel is an indult, and therefore, one does not sign oneself when the Gospel is read from the ambo.
    Wearing the maniple while celebrating TrueMass is required. I recall one former FSSP District Supervisor who refused to wear it. Once at a carmel in California, the sister sexton who had laid out the vestments so carefully was horrified when he started to leave the sacristy without the maniple. He said, “Don’ you worry about it. Il ne faut pas necessaire.” When one of his priests refused to wear it in NJ, this same supervisor (sounds like a water company employee, no?) made the excuse that the priest was clumsy, because he was morbidly obese. That being the case, he should never been ordained because it presages other things.

  15. Former: I noticed a priest removed the maniple when he came to the ambo for the readings in English and the sermon (he puts in back on when he returns to the altar for the Credo). … Have you ever seen/heard of this?

    Seen, heard and have in the past done it.

    However, I would caution that it probably shouldn’t be done.  In the 1962  reprint edition of Fortescque-O’Connell says in a footnote: “If the celebrant himself preaches, he may do so at the altar at the Gospel side or he may go to the pulpit (conducted there by the M.C.).  He does not take off his maniple or chasuble….”

    I have seen priests today removing their maniples and chasubles and preaching wearing their biretta, which seems a bit on the antique side. 

    That said, I consulted Trimeloni, who differs from the above!  Trimeloni says, in Italian, “If the Celebrant should want to preach without pianeta (chasuble) and maniple, this is regulated according to the following…” There follows a description of the priest going back to the sedillia and removing both and then going to preach.

    What is to note here is that it is not obligatory to take those things off.  According to Trimeloni the priest may.

    What I take form this is that we can be a little flexible.

    More on point, what the matter with Velcro?

    Surely you don’t really need to ask. 

  16. vexilla regis says:

    Dear Fr Z,
    Thanks for your great post and comments -informative and interesting.

  17. Reverend Father:

    I believe you left out one way of attaching the maniple. See the bold portion below of the excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    In order to fasten the maniple on the arm either two strings are placed on the inner side near the middle, or else an elastic band is used, or a loop is formed in the maniple itself by sewing together the two halves which have been laid over each other, at a distance of about six inches from the middle. Another device for securing the maniple is to set a small band a little to one side of the middle and to secure this band with a pin to the alb.

  18. Dennis says:

    In all the vestment sets we have our EF mass all the maniple have been fixed with the less “classic” elastic band — it works very well– all the priest who uses them perfer the elastic

  19. Eric says:

    Thank you for this post, Father. It sounds like I might be able to start a business fabricating liturgical stick pins. I was thinking something similar to those used on the pallium. The first step will, of course, involve getting a Latin name for the device.

  20. Gil Ferguson says:

    Dear Fr Z:

    Our Priest was ordained in 1955 and kept vestments he used from then until when we were allowed to and started the indult TLM in 1988. His maniples are attached on him by the MC using a pin, or there is a button hole on the maniple which the MC fastens to a button on the alb when Father vests after the Asperges or Vidi Aquam. Some appear to have a snap just under the arm for eary fastening.

    The Priest, Deacon and Sub-Deacon of course all wear maniples during a Solumn mass. (We don’t have any permanent Deacons.)

    For some time, Father has received fantastically beautiful new vestments (some Fiddleback, some Roman, some Gothic) made by a parish lady who is an accomplished seamstress. Thanks be to God for her work.
    Apparently Fr. prefers the pinned maniples.
    Each to his own (?), unless there is a standard.

    Just which Priests would wear them in the NO even thought they are optional

    Deo Gratias
    Gil Ferguson

  21. Peter Kwasniewski says:

    Regarding ways to keep the maniple on: Many months ago our chaplaincy ordered a complete set of vestments for the liturgical year from Chagall Designs, Gothic style, with a beautiful brocade pattern on them. At the same time, we asked them to provide maniples, which they did, rather ample ones. Unfortunately the velcro squares inside held the maniple together in a way that was not sufficiently tight on the arm. So a seamstress in our congregation inserted a metal snap at the appropriate place inside the maniple. The fit is snug and the fastening device works well. I do not know if this is too “modern” but it sure works well.

  22. Occasionally I run into a maniple that has a little band connecting
    the two sides (sort of like that band that connects the two sides
    of a deacon’s stole. What I have never figured out is whether this
    little joiner should face the upper arm or the hand.

    Does anyone know?

  23. LCB says:

    What ever happened to the maniple?

    As for the maniple pray… I can certainly imagine scenarios as to why THAT was removed. Not nearly self-congratulatory enough for the NO.

  24. Father Z,
    I generally wear a maniple in either form of the Mass (where on is available), although not when concelebrating at things like the Chrism Mass (I wonder how that would go down…). I note with interest that you say that you can tie your own maniple. Any chance of instructions on how? I cannot work it out. I rely on an altar server to perform this task for me (sometimes I am so lazy I don’t untie it again. Oh dear, the slippery slope). Maybe that’s why it is required to have an altar server to assist at Mass: to tie the maniple! On another note if anyone wants some reasonably priced low Mass (Roman style) sets I thoroughly recommend Gamarelli’s in Rome. We have just acquired a set in all colours. €300 for man-made fibres (hmmmmm) and from €500 for some decent silk and bullion.

  25. Peter says:

    Fr Ó Buaidhe, do you say Mass on Tory Island by any chance?

  26. Tom says:

    Incredible… as always, something new, unique, and informative on WDTPRS… whether it’s the liturgy saving the world or arcania like the variety of ways to secure the maniple, this is the #1 blog!

    Don’t ever change.

  27. I cannot resist retelling a story probably posted here at least once before. A couple of years ago a woman approached our celebrant after Mass (EF, of course).

    “That was a really beautiful Mass”, she said.

    “Thank you,” he replied.

    “Too bad the consecration was invalid”, she said.


    “Because you weren’t wearing a maniple.”

    Turns out that, leaving his home sacristy in haste (being a bit late) he grabbed the right set, but the maniple had slipped unnoticed to the floor (where he found it laying upon his return). There not being a maniple in sight at the appointed church, he’d simply carried on valiantly without one.

  28. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Why was the sermon/homily not considered “part of the liturgical act”? Because its words were not found in the Missale Romanum? (I’m asking this in reference to the maniple — and sometimes even the chasuble! — being removed during the sermon.)

    If a priest wears the maniple while celebrating the Ordinary Form of Mass, then it would seem that, according to Sacrosanctum Concilium n. 52, he must keep the maniple on, since: Homilia, qua per anni liturgici cursum ex textu sacro fidei mysteria et normae vitae christianae exponuntur, ut pars ipsius liturgiae valde commendatur. Does this sound reasonable and correct?

  29. Nathan says:

    + JMJ +

    Jeff Pinyan: Why was the sermon/homily not considered “part of the liturgical act”?

    I am no authority, but I do remember having been told a number of years ago that the priest would remove his maniple because he, in effect, steps out of the Mass to deliver the sermon/homily. I understood this to be that the Mass, like the Divine Office, is the official prayer of the Church. A sermon or homily, whatever its qualities, by its nature is not part of the official prayer of the Church (except for the sermons which have been adopted by the Church into the Divine Office and read during the canonical hours).

    From Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s quotes, however, it looks like there has been a long history of varied opinions on the practice.

    In Christ,

  30. Fr. N says:

    Fr. Augustine Thompson,
    You helped me greatly last year(by e-mail) in getting started with NO Mass ad orientem. The daily Mass people are all used to it now and I think they appreciate it. Again, thanks. With regard to your question about the “joiner” that is found on many maniples. I wear my maniple with the “open” side facing my hand. The reason is, that when I wore it the other way it would sometimes flip over and end up with the lining side showing if I happened to lower my arm too far – I think. I have maniples with the elastic band attachment All I know is that it often flipped over until I started wearing it with the joiner facing my upper arm. Does this make any sense? As Fr. Z might say, this is is “manipleology” and I don’t have a good grasp of the subject yet. God bless.

  31. Ken says:

    Nathan wrote: “…I do remember having been told a number of years ago that the priest would remove his maniple because he, in effect, steps out of the Mass to deliver the sermon/homily.”

    Yes — this is why announcements can be made, the Epistle and Gospel (or anything else for that matter) can be re-read in the vernacular and why a guest homilist may preach. That guest homilist surely wouldn’t hop on the altar in the middle of Mass. The part between the Gospel’s conclusion the and Credo or Offertory is not part of the Mass (i.e. not in the missal). This is also why it is customary to make the sign of the cross at the beginning and end of the sermon.

  32. Jeff: Why was the sermon/homily not considered “part of the liturgical act”?

    I believe the only 1962 rubric that refers to the possibility of a sermon is:

    “474. After the gospel, especially on Sundays and holy days of obligation, a short homily should be preached to the people if it is convenient. The homily, however, if it is to be preached by a priest other than the celebrant, must not be superimposed on the celebration of the Mass, preventing the participation of the faithful. In such case, therefore, the celebration of the Mass should be suspended, to be resumed only after the homily is completed.

    The emphasized text appears to support the traditional view that the sermon is an interruption in the Mass, rather than a part of it. It is, of course, a separate question how many sermons actually support the Holy Sacrifice rather than detract from it.

  33. Dear Fr. N.,

    That is helpful and matches my experience. Although I have noticed
    that with the open side out, the maniple tends to hang open in an odd
    way. I have been considering removing these little bands from
    the solemn set at our parish.

    I am pleased to hear that things have progressed with your celebrations
    in the parish. I would like to hear more. You have my email,
    if not you can get it at my blog “Dominican Liturgy,” which is
    after my name.

    Here on this thread this would be a “rabbit hole.”

  34. Henry: “Too bad the consecration was invalid”, she said. “Why?” “Because you weren’t wearing a maniple.”

    Yah… I have encountered this type of ignorance before as well.

    We need lots and lots of liturgical catechesis and patience.

    Brick by brick!

  35. Henry,

    The rubric you quoted suggests to me that the saying of Mass is to be suspended if a priest other than the celebrant is preaching because otherwise the people cannot participate in the Mass, because they’d be listening to the homily. In other words, the abuse must have occurred that a second priest would get up to preach, while the celebrant continued on with Mass (maybe even finishing before the homily?). If that is the case, then it does not support the idea of the homily being an interruption of the Mass.

  36. Steve: Yours seems a plausible interpretation of the rubric. But I believe the idea that the sermon is an interruption in the Mass is the basis for the TLM practice of the celebrant removing the maniple (and perhaps also the chasuble) before proceeding to the pulpit.

  37. a catechist says:

    I’m afraid comments here haven’t clarified for me the status of the homily today. It seems like the quote from Sacrosanctum Concilium n.52 above should be the end of it. But I’ve seen this position used to argue that a Mass homily therefore shouldn’t be doctrinal or an occasion of catechesis, which seemed like balderdash. If there’s a previous Fr.Z post about homilies’ function and/or content, I’d appreciate being directed to it. If not, perhaps Fr.Z would share some thoughts on this soon?
    Thank you!

  38. Josiah says:

    The pastor of y parish often wears maniples. Because I’m a server,I get to see him vesting. Most of them tie on, but there is one that I think has elastic. Here’s one at my parish on Easter Sunday (Ordinary Form.)http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdtreat/2355292518/in/set-72157604213133984/
    The mass was celebrated ad orientem

  39. Rachel says:

    I am proud to belong to that renowned Facebook group, “Every time you celebrate Mass without a maniple, God kills a kitten.”

  40. Jeff Pinyan says:

    To a catechist: I’ve answered questions on the who, when, and what of homilies on my blog. See these three posts.

  41. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:


    Daily. Do you visit the island?

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