QUAERITUR: crossing stole and using maniple in Novus Ordo

ManipleFrom a priest reader:

I try to bring into the Novus Ordo as many elements from the old rite as I can, where permitted.

My question is:  is it licit for a priest celebrating Mass according to the new rite to cross his stole, as in the old rite?  Similarly, is it valid to wear a maniple while celebrate Mass according to the new rite?

It is the immemorial custom that priests cross their stoles, right over left, when using the chasuble and the cope at Mass.  Priests in the West have been crossing their stoles since the 7th century, though it became widespread later in the medieval period.  Bishops and abbots don’t do this.  The symbolism of forming a cross over your heart is obvious.

For the Novus Ordo the GIRM 340 states:

340. Stola defertur a sacerdote circa collum et ante pectus pendens; a diacono vero ab umero sinistro per transversum super pectus ducitur ad partem dexteram corporis, ibique retinetur.

This paragraph says that the priest’s stole hangs in front of the chest from around the neck while the deacon’s crosses the chest from the shoulder.  It doesn’t say anything about whether the priest’s stole hangs straight down on either side.  A crossed priest’s stole still hangs down in front.

You can cross the priest’s stole for the Novus Ordo.

As a matter of fact, I highly recommend that you do so, especially when wearing the pianeta, the Roman chasuble.  The crossed stole serves also to “fill in” part of the square opening in front.  That is a practical reason, an aesthetic reason, but a good reason nonetheless.

The rubrics of the Novus Ordo are silent about the maniple.  Again, it is the custom of well over over a thousand years that the maniple is used in the Roman Rite.  It is a Roman vestment that goes back to the 6th c.

It was never abolished.

Whereas it was once obligatory for Mass, it no longer is (cf. 1967 Tres abhinc annos, 25.).

One of the consultors of the Office of Pontifical Ceremonies, Fr. Mauro Gagliardi, said during an interview with ZENIT that:

“The maniple is an article of liturgical dress used in the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Holy Mass of the Roman Rite. It fell into disuse in the years of the post-conciliar reform, even though it was never abrogated.”

I think Gagliardi is right.  For the Novus Ordo, put it one, leave it off as it pleases you to do so.

My practice is that if there is a maniple available, with the set, I’ll put it on.  If there isn’t a maniple, I don’t worry about it one way or another.  Maniples aren’t magic (though some people think they are… perhaps because they have attached so much significance to them because of the liturgical iconoclasm after the Council).

I think that these are very good elements – crossing the stole, using the maniple –  to bring into the Novus Ordo.  They could represent something of the “gravitational pull” that the expanding use of the traditional form of the Roman Rite will have on our general liturgical worship.

This is not a matter of maniples for maniples’ sake.  These detail contribute something to the priest’s self-awareness in his role in the sacred action.  They point his attention to his identity.  Some might say that he shouldn’t need pointers of this kind.  I respond, “Don’t they?”  Wedding rings don’t change your married state but they are signs to yourself and others about who you are.  We all, not being angels, benefit from reminders.  These details also send signals to the congregation that what is happening is not mundane.  Something special is happening.  They are all part of the ars celebrandi.

Tie One On

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. danphunter1 says:

    Father George Rutler pastor of Church of Our Savior, Manhattan NY, wears a crossed stole and maniple at all his Novus Ordo Masses.

  2. I’ve seen priests cross the stole for the NO; Roman Chasuble or not. Tis an excellent practice :)

  3. Gregorius says:

    What if your diocese specifically states in its liturgical guidelines that the stole is not to be crossed with the exception of the EF? I’m not mentioning any diocese because I cannot find a copy of the guidelines online nor do I own a hard copy.

  4. Gregorius: Ask them to show the documentation for that and send a copy to the Congregation for Divine Worship for their opportune knowledge.

  5. TJerome says:

    Gregorius do the guidelines prohibit the priest from wearing the stole OVER the chasuble? I’ve seen that done and I understand it is not licit.

  6. Ellen says:

    Tie one on! Heh. Sadly, all our beautiful Roman chasubles went out with the 70s and the maniples too.

  7. Father S. says:

    This leads to the next question. Can the deacon wear a maniple, too, especially if one has a particularly beautiful set with matching dalmatics, stoles, and maniples for two deacons and corresponding to the priest’s own vestments?

  8. Mariana says:

    Thank you, Father! As a convert from the Lutheran church I’ve missed crossed stoles, and thought uncrossed ones looked very poor, but apparently one could start agitating for the crossing of stoles at one’s parish : ) !

  9. Subimonk says:

    Was there a prayer that went with assuming the maniple during vesting? The NO form does not have it with the other vesting prayers. Could those who want to start using the maniple have the prayer from you, Father Z?

  10. danphunter1 says:

    Subimonk, and Father Zuhlsdorf if I may, the prayer said during the putting on of the maniple:

    “GRANT me, O Lord, to bear the light burden of grief and sorrow, that I may with gladness take the reward of my labor.”

  11. Mark R says:

    All Polish priests wore the crossed stole in the 1980s. Nothing unusual there and then.

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