QUAERITUR: use of the zucchetto at Mass, etc.

I need to enlist the help of readers.  I am on the road and away from my books.

I need your expert assistance on the clerical use of the zucchetto.  As a premise I’m aware that it is not to be worn by a cleric/religious who is a ‘minister’ (major or minor) at Mass.  However, I’m wondering about its use for those authorized to wear it who are attending Mass either in Choir or in the Nave.  I can’t seem to find any instructions concerning this point.  If it can be worn by those attending Mass (in either way) would the removal and wear follow that provided for Bishops?  What about the Gospel Canticle at the major hours and Compline?  I’ve posed this question to others but I haven’t received an answer as of yet.

The context for this question is that a few of us in our community wear the black zucchetto at my Priory and its proper liturgical use has come up for discussion by our liturgy committee tonight, on which I sit – but I have no concrete sources (save: The Church Visible) to help answer this question. 

My understanding is that those who have the right to wear the zucchetto may wear it during Mass except at the time when a bishop or abbot would remove it, as during the Canon or when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.   I believe that applies also to religious who would use one.

Perhaps some of you with experience of such things would chime in.

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  1. FrCharles says:

    I use the black zucchetto. My understanding is that clerics without episcopal character are not to wear it during any part of the Mass, either as ministers or in choir, but do not have to remove it for the Divine Office or other liturgical functions, excepting when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.

    Just for fun here is the appropriate section from the old manual of custom from my community: (The OFM Cap)

    “The skullcap is removed on entering, leaving, or passing through the choir of the church. It is taken off during Divine Office, whenever a genuflection, whether simple or double is made, while the gospel before the homily is read, while saying the Confiteor, the the Preces, and during the orations, at the final antiphon of the Blessed Virgin, a the Sacrosanctae. A priest who reads or chants the Invitorium, lessons, short responses, antiphons, martyrology, uncovers the head during such reading or chanting. The skullcap is also removed at the Asperges before the Mass on Sundays, during the Kyrie, Gospel, Credo, intercessions and from the Sanctus to the Communion of the priesto or faithful inclusively, and when the blessing is given at the end of Mass. It is also removed during the exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament, when receiving the Pax, in processions in which the Blessed Sacrament is carried, when going to confession, imparting blessings with relics, or receiving a blessing. It is likewise removed during the reading of the blessing of the Ruleoo and during the blessing after the Lent of Benediction.”

  2. patrick_f says:

    I have a question-

    Is it given as an honorary item still? When visiting a monastery last summer, one of the Monks wore it. I had thought he wasnt an abbot, however he was very elderly. He also was NOT a priest, which of course would make him not be able to be an Abbot in most cases.

    He wore it during the Hours, and also during mass except at the aformentioned times

  3. Jeremy says:

    Heaven and earth wait for the answer.

  4. Here it is, Jeremy. I wear one (as a monk I cannot wear a biretta) just w/ my habit when the weather is cold. No one, as I understand it, is supposed to wear one during the Liturgy unless they are a prelate of some kind. About wearing it during the Liturgy of the Hours, say as presider in a cope, I have no information. Nor has an angel of God revealed it to me.

  5. archambt says:

    Can laymen wear the zuccheto? Presuming they aren’t trying to pass themselves off as priests. Mostly just on a devotional basis.

  6. asperges says:

    New advent website http://www.newadvent.org has: Bishops and cardinals wear it at Mass, except during the Canon; other ecclesiastics may not wear it at Mass without special papal permission. However, according to a decision of the Sacred Congregation of Rites (23 September, 1837), a bishop also may not wear it while giving Benediction.

    Of course that could have changed over the years. I have never seen a laymen wear one. Surely laymen should have bare heads in Church according to tradition – wigs notwithstanding, one supposes.

  7. ocsousn says:

    Among Cistercians the black wool zucchetto may be used by any religious. Abbots may use a white silk zucchetto when celebrating Mass. Some abbots have the privilege of the magenta zucchetto — either as a personal privilege or ex officio in virtue of the monastery’s special status. At least among Cistercians of the Strict Observance (AKA: Trappists), it is usually called by its French name, “calotte” (from the Latin “calor, -is” = warmth, heat). According to our Ritual and Usages it may be worn in church and when in choir but is removed for the Gospel at Vigils (Matins), for blessings (including the Aspeges before Sunday Mass and the sprinkling with holy water after daily Compline), whenever the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, during Mass for the Gospel and from the beginning of the Preface until after communion, and, with the exception of the abbot or a bishop, when entering the sanctuary/apse. I have seen monks remove it for the Salve Regina and the Angelus but this is not in our rubrics. In a Cistercian monastic church the choir is in the nave and usually separated from the sanctuary/apse by at least half width of the transept. In most churches and cathedrals, where the choir stalls are in the sanctuary/apse, these rules would not make sense. Until the late 1960’s Cistercians sported a full monastic tonsure, making the zacchetto/calotte a practical necessity in a unheated stone church.

  8. vernonq says:

    My 1996 edition of Fortescue & O’Connell – Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described (which is a reprint of the 1962 Twelfth Edition) says:

    “Head Covering.
    In bowing, the head is always first uncovered. When one is taking off the biretta it is held in the right hand by the raised edge on its right side. When standing hold the biretta against the breast with both hands. When sitting rest the biretta on the right knee, while the left hand lies extended on the left knee. Those who wear a skull-cap in choir take it off whenever they genuflect or bow to the altar, when they receive the sprinkling of holy water, while they say together the Confiteor, Misereatur, Kyrie eleison, Gloria in excelsis, Creed, Sanctus, Agnus Dei at Mass, while the Gospel is sung, while they are incensed, from the Preface to the Communion (inclusive), at the Blessing. Also whenever the Sanctissimum is exposed; during the Gospel at Matins, at the Confession at Prime and Compline. No one wears the skull-cap when he intones the antiphons and the psalms, sings the Invitatorium, lessons, short responsories, or Martyrology.”

    Strangely, this entire section is omitted in the later edition edited by Rev Dr Alcuin Reid.

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