Wherein Fr. Z posts his annual rant on BLUE vestments and then sings to you. POLL!

Some veteran readers here know about my annual rant about BLUE vestments during Advent.  Lest all other Advent considerations – such as the coming of the Lord – be overshadowed, herein I rant.

I believe this dopey liturgical abuse is fading out under the influence of the Biological Solution, but surely it pops up here and there.

REMINDER: Blue is not an approved liturgical color of the Roman Rite (though some use it – on the claim of custom – for Marian feasts according to some old tradition in Spain and former Spanish territories). Yes, I know the previous Marini put blue on the Pope in Austria.  That was bad.  That was ugly.  That is now over.  Well… with this Pope, whose knows.

For Advent purple or violet vestments are to be used, and rosacea for the 3rd Sunday as an option.

Of course there are distinctions to be made about purple and violet.  Some say that a reddish purple is to be used for Lent while a bluer purple is to be used for Advent.

Fine.  So long as the Advent color isn’t blue, I don’t care.

blue advent vestmentsMind you, as soon as blue is approved for use, I will be the first in line to obtain a glorious set in the Roman style!  The day they are approved, I will post here with a plea and take up a collection and get, if possible, a truly spiffing set, perhaps even a solemn set, replete with cope and humeral veil.

I think this illicit use of blue is trailing off.

Let’s have a little poll!

Chose the best answer and leave a comment in the combox, below.

For the 1st Sunday of Advent, 2013, the vestments I saw were

View Results

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In the meantime…


Mystic Monk

When you’ve had a hard time trying to figure out just what that color is Father is wearing this week, just what possessed him to put on a vestment that ugly, why not relax with a Say The Black – Do The Red coffee mug filled to its steaming brim with Mystic Monk Coffee?


Yes, folks, you may be unaware of this, but drinking Mystic Monk Coffee actually fights against liturgical abuse.  The more Mystic Monk Coffee your priests drink, the fewer liturgical abuses they will commit.  This is especially true when they are drinking if from Say The Black – Do The Red coffee mugs!

Do you want liturgical abuses on your conscience?

Mystic Monk Coffee.

It’s swell!

Sing along! Lemme help you out.

O come, o come liturgical blue;
out with the old, and in with the new.
Let’s banish purple vestments from here,
the color blue is very HOT this year.


Gaudy, gaudy, gaudy chasubles,
in baby, navy, powder-puff and teal.

Since Advent is the Blessed Virgin’s time,
we’ll wear blue, though it’s canonic crime,
and in the third week, we’ll wear white.
Although it’s wrong, we’ll say that it’s alright.


Around the wreath we’ll place blue candlelight,
and in one corner, we will place one white.
We’ll drape blue over our communion rail,
and use blue burses with blue chalice veils.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Lighter fare, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Parody Songs, Wherein Fr. Z Rants and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Inigo says:

    What about Immaculate Conception next sunday?

  2. Andrew says:

    I always thought blue was a liturgical color that had been permitted in Spain. I am not aware if it was ever exteneded to the Universal Church by indult.

  3. Nice song for my Monday wake up!
    I attend a TLM whenever I can, and the colors are always right, as well as everything else :) My home parish does colors correctly too. Purple and Pepto, er, Rose.

  4. Subdeacon Joseph says:

    I know of a priest who uses a deep colored burgundy for purple. He calls it “Roman Purple”. The set is beautiful. I was wondering if this would be considered illicit?

  5. pontiacprince says:

    The colour matters?Really? More than the attitude and the reverence? [Be careful! You are veering toward a common liberal practice. Liberals would pit the one against the other. We can have BOTH the proper color allowed by law AND reverence.]

    Blue is a very Marian colour and ,though the liturgical laws ought to be kept, let’s get them changed so that colour doesn’t matter as much as being there and offering

    And most importantly.Let’s keep guns off the altar and away from clerics.Let’s adopt the Canadian way!!

    [pffft Ridiculous.]

  6. adeacon says:

    I watched the Advent evening prayer service from the Vatican on EWTN. The Holy Father was wearing purple vestments. I believe I saw two deacons wearing blue dalmatics. I am looking on line for pictures or video but have not found it yet. Maybe someone here can find it.

    In our parish, we have strange colored vestments. Blue / dark blue. The previous pastor must have purchased these. This may be the case in many parishes. Our new pastor certainly will not buy new vestments. I know this color is incorrect. When I attempted to wear my purple stole, I was immediately told “no.” So, I pray that a change will come, and I believe it will.

  7. iPadre says:

    pontiacprince: “though the liturgical laws ought to be kept, let’s get them changed so that colour doesn’t matter as much as being there and offering”

    Part of the “offering” is obedience to authority. If we change everything because people break the law, we will have something similar to the current situation, a free for all.

  8. Mike says:

    It is weep-worthy to envision myriad readers asking innocently: “What is this Communion rail of which you sing?”

    It is a pleasant compensation to record that my parish’s pastors do not liturgically innovate. (Well, OK, the General Intercession call-outs from the pews during Mass on weekdays…) Purple, or violet, it was yesterday.

  9. OrthodoxChick says:

    LOVE your hymn, Fr. Z.!

    How in the world did you manage to sing it without laughing? You should put that up on itunes. I predict a breakout hit!

  10. Elizabeth D says:

    We will sing that as the recessional next time.


  11. MAJ Tony says:

    @pontiacprince, iPadre put it well enough, I was debating even replying. But, alas, I believe more DOES need be said. Disregard of liturgical rubrics (or really, any other law or regulation for that matter), either by intent or by neglect, is a perfect example of imperfect attitude toward our Lord. If ANYONE should be trying to be a good example of doing that which is required, I would think a Priest would be first to do so. The higher the responsibility for the care of souls, the greater eternal danger one places himself in failing that responsibility.

    I won’t lie to you and tell you that I am somehow an excellent positive example on all occasions as far as the parenthetic generality goes. I am at best a sinner, needing God’s forgivness and mercy. Needless to say, while it can certainly be just a show, an outward conformance to ritual is a start, that when combined with proper inward disposition and reform of self towards God, helps lead one more fully to God. By one not conforming outwardly as one conforms inwardly, one PUBLICLY displays a failure of “Dying to Self” that is inconsistent and sends a mixed message to others (those of us who pay attention to what is expected/required). I would submit that this mixed message could be a cause for scandal to some on some level.

    As for guns and clerics, did not the Apostles carry weapons common to their day and age for personal protection?

  12. Kerry says:

    The Rooster of Brave Sir Robin, close, on an azure field, with fool, rampant…?

  13. Legisperitus says:

    He wore blue broadcloth,
    Bluer than broadcloth was poor me,
    Coarser than baize the liturgy
    Through the years,
    And I still can see blue broadcloth
    Through my tears.

  14. Fr AJ says:

    I have to admit that I forgot to bring a purple vestment to one of my outlying parishes so I was stuck with wearing a blue/purple vestment in the sacristy closet…one of those ugly modern types with no Christian symbols on and the color of the vestment changes from blue to purple and back with the angle of the light.

  15. Bea says:

    It makes me blue to see this.
    I say to myself “Gee Whiz!”

    “What will they do next?”
    As long as “they” don’t change the text.

    2 Sundays from now will they wear pink?
    If they do, I’ll raise a stink!

  16. Vincent says:

    Father, I seem to remember being told in Italy recently (by a traditional priest) that blue as a colour was reserved for Marian feasts celebrated by the Dominican? order – is that true, or is there a complete ban on blue?

  17. Vincent: A Dominican must answer that one.

  18. OrthodoxChick says:


    You’re giving me Bobby Vinton flashbacks. Not good!!!

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    This reminds me of the old torch song:

    “Am I blue
    Am I blue
    Ain’t these tears, in these eyes telling you
    How can you ask me “am I blue”
    Why, wouldn’t you be too
    If each plan
    With your man
    Done fell through…”

    Or, if you prefer, to hear it sung by Batman:


    [Note: I assume the clip is acceptable under Fair Use].

  20. OrthodoxChick says:

    What good are blue vestments without the liturgical dance?


    THE King of Glory Comes…

  21. Sonshine135 says:

    The only time I had this happen was with a very liberal Priest in my old Parish. This Priest is actually fairly well known and published. I continue to be saddened over my Catholic ignorance over many years, and how someone (myself) thought they were knowledgeable, but now realize they were poorly taught themselves. Until I read this today, I have to admit to being unaware that blue was not an option.

    I will say that I have never seen the white candle in place of a rose candle for the third week.

    Thanks for your informative post as always Father Z.

  22. In Byzantium we had white today…no worries as it’s not illegal…can’t wait for the blue vestments next week for the Maternity of St Anne

  23. Priam1184 says:

    Ha! Beautiful. Thank you Father.

  24. Bosco says:

    No blue here in Bantry, County Cork (although our GAA team is called The Bantry Blues).
    The Advent wreath however consisted of 2 purple, 1 rose, and 1 white candle. Don’t know where the 3rd purple candle went and why there is a white one in its place.
    We were exhorted to wish one another ‘Happy New Year’ throughout Advent because…well, you know… I’m not sure if that’s the right spin for this time of year.

  25. Spaniard says:

    Father, Spain has an 1864 indult to use blue vestments in the Immaculate Conception feast, due to our devotion to her centuries before the dogma was proclaimed

  26. capchoirgirl says:

    Re Dominicans: My parish is a Dominican run parish, and yes, our priests have ivory/gold vestments with blue detail for Marian feasts. I’m guessing this is kosher, since we’re on the ball every other way (we even have black vestments for All Souls’ Day!)

  27. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    May I do my first annual rant on the incessant use of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” during Advent? Sung in most parishes at a tempo that would put a damper on a funeral, and used for the opening hymn, the Sanctus, the memorial acclamation, the Great Amen, and anywhere else it can be jammed in, it drives me nuts.

  28. SKAY says:

    I have bought several kinds of Mystic Monk coffee–in order to fight against liturgical abuse.
    Jingle Bell Java is now available so I had to buy more than one–because well- I just had to–for the cause. I no longer feel guilty for hording my favorites either.
    Thank you Father Z. : ) So many reasons for coming to this wonderful blog.

  29. robtbrown says:

    Dr. Edward Peters says:

    May I do my first annual rant on the incessant use of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” during Advent?

    I found the immunization some time ago–and, no, it’s not Transcendental Meditation. (I am reminded that many years ago Wm F Buckley turned to yoga so that he could get through the wonders of Paul V’s liturgy.)

    It’s the Kindle, with Free 3G and DivinumOfficium.com. I download the Latin mass and Office and read away, through whatever music or serpentine gesticulations by the celebrant (“Do not saw the air too much, thus, but use all gently . . . “). On most days they could be presenting the St Louis Jesuit Songbook, and I would be able to ignore it.

  30. Nan says:

    @Dr. Peters, maybe they just really, really want Emmanuel to know he’s welcome?

    @Capchoirgirl, we have ivory with blue also and aren’t dominican; I’m told that when we got our current Abp., he purged the Cathedral’s sacristy of anything improper. We have an everyday set of ivory with blue and I know there are 2 chasubles and a dalmatic; I think the fancier set is just one each chasuble and dalmatic. I’ll see blue trim on Sat. and on Monday.

  31. AMTFisher says:

    My first experiences with any sort of Liturgy (apart from a funeral years before) were three years ago at an Episcopal Church. The blue they used for vestments was awesome (dark, think Van Gogh “Starry Night” blue). Maybe someday they will be allowed. Till then Huzzah for Purple, huzzah for pink, rose, sorry…

    (Though the post did pose a good question: if blue ever is officially allowed, what will be the proper color for the third Sunday? Would it still be Rose, or would you use something else?)

  32. Phil_NL says:

    Dr Peters,

    May I suggest, as an antidote, the – obviously completely accidental – singing of the Rorate Caeli, all four stanzas, and with a volume inversely proportional to the speed of the dreaded song?

  33. capchoirgirl says:

    TECHNICALLY, one should not use Veni Veni until the third/fourth weeks of Advent….but I’ll be happy if we get to sing it once!

  34. Elizabeth D says:

    I tried to advocate for Conditor Alme Siderum but the choir director wanted Veni, Veni Emmanuel.

  35. eiggam says:

    I like the way the Benedictine nuns sing O Come OCome… A clip of it is on Fr. Z’s first Advent podcast.

  36. With few exceptions, the only vestments I see at Mass are when I celebrate, and they are on me, or the deacon with me. So that may skew the poll. But the results do seem to indicate blue is waning.

    The question from Pontiacprince–does it matter–is often posed in all these questions of liturgy. So if you have a priest who improvises here, or there, and you ask him, he may well respond exactly the same way. I can picture many priests I know, saying, “I don’t think God cares whether I say such-and-such or thus-and-so.” And that seems–to them and to many–as a pretty strong answer.

    OK, so where and when does that stop being a suitable answer? Father, does God “care” if you get the opening and post-communion prayers right? If the preface is right? If, in your reworking, you change the ideas expressed? Does God care if one idea drops out, and is replaced with another?

    Maybe not.

    Does God care if you get the words of institution correct? What if you leave them out entirely? What if you use rice wafers, not wheaten ones? Rice wine or beer (I’m not being facetious), instead of grape wine? Does God care?

    If not, why does God care about the Mass–at all? What about baptism, confession? Where does it end?

    Now, I predict at some point, the priests I have in mind will say–and I have heard them say–“well that’s different.” And it’s true that getting the consecration right is “different” from getting the vestment color right. But that’s not the question. The question was, does God care? And if the answer, God doesn’t care here…but when you get here, he does, then my question is, exactly when does God start to care?

    And most importantly: how do you know?

    See, I don’t really know how I’d know. And if I claimed to know, you should steer clear of me. Who do I suppose that I am, claiming to know God’s Mind so precisely?

    So I don’t know. And I don’t have to. God founded the Church, and he has seen fit to put others in the decision-making roles. That means they say what the red and the black are, and the deal was–when I signed up–I say and do those parts, not that I get to rewrite them.

    A lot of priests imagine we could do better. Including yours truly! And that’s OK; we can play, “If I were bishop/pope/ecumenical council” as much as we want. But not at Mass, or any other time we’re actually doing what we’ve been given to do.

  37. Nan says:

    @ Fr Martin Fox, “the few, the proud, the properly vested.” I tend to be horrified at liturgical anomalies so stay close to home. Priests occasionally make mistakes, either by becoming muddled or catching the wrong line and correcting after a syllable but nothing deliberately incorrect.

  38. Stvsmith2009 says:

    CNS posted (on Facebook)a video of Pope Francis celebrating Mass at a Rome parish yesterday, and he was wearing purple vestments. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151749577080723&set=vb.7891870722&type=2&theater

  39. majuscule says:

    I saw that video and noticed at one point that one of the concelebrants seemed to be wearing purple that was sparkly. Maybe it was an optical illusion.

    (Off topic: Msgr. Marini seems be looking a little solemn these days. I hope something isn’t worrying him. Maybe that, too, was an optical illusion.)

  40. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Phil, yes, and preferably in the dashing carol form:

    “Dew the Just Man, dew, o Heavens,
    clouds, o reign Him from above!”
    cried the people who was given
    the promise by God’s own love
    once to see the mediator,
    even Heavens openator
    for yet closéd was the gate
    till the Savior ca-ame o-of late.
    For yet closéd was the-e gate
    till the Savio-or came of late!

    Full of mercy hears the pleading
    Who on Heaven’s throne sits on.
    To all flesh He’ll be bequeathing
    God’s salvation through God’s Son!
    Swiftly Gabriel flow do-own,
    replied this to Heaven’s cro-own,
    “b’hold the handmaid of the Lord!
    Happen it as He gave word.
    B’hold the handmaid of thehe Lord,
    Happen it as He gave word!”

    And in our flesh’s wrapping
    came to World the Father’s son.
    Life and lift and graces’ tapping*
    brought he down from Heaven’s throne.
    Earth, rejoice with greatest pleasure
    by the new Sun’s light and treasure;
    soon the time He will fulfill:
    open up Him he-eart a-and will.
    Soon the time He will fu-ulfill:
    open up Hi-im heart and will!

    [*abundance, but that does not rhyme]

    Excuse the fun.

  41. Imrahil says:

    life and light, not lift.

  42. HighMass says:

    If it was Piero Marini who had a blue vestment why should that be a surprise….????

  43. Nan says:

    @majuscule, in my diocese, a few years ago, my friends classmate made stoles for all in his ordination class. Sparkly stoles but not obnoxiously so. Maybe sparkly concelebrant received a gift or just likes sparkly.

  44. Desertfalcon says:

    In reference to the first picture of this post…..is that a chicken?

  45. Lin says:

    “Part of the “offering” is obedience to authority. If we change everything because people break the law, we will have something similar to the current situation, a free for all.”

    AMEN!!! This year our pastor wore navy blue instead of powder blue. He wore an ugly brown color during ordinary time. At 66, he doth protest to much! Retirement cannot be too far off! Rumor has it that a wealthy parishioner at his last parish paid to have him transferred. Is there no better way to deal with priests who refuse obedience to authority?!?

  46. Lin says:

    “So if you have a priest who improvises here, or there, and you ask him, he may well respond exactly the same way. I can picture many priests I know, saying, “I don’t think God cares whether I say such-and-such or thus-and-so.” And that seems–to them and to many–as a pretty strong answer.”

    Fr Martin Fox…….I could NOT believe it when my pastor said exactly that to me. Thanks for a great post!

  47. Imrahil says:

    By the way, I think the dear @pontiacprince was not expressing his own opinion, but being ironic.

  48. Random Friar says:

    @Vincent: re: Dominic Rite Colors

    Hopefully, this link will provide an answer: http://dominican-liturgy.blogspot.com/2008/11/liturgical-colors-in-old-dominican-rite.html

  49. beefcake73099 says:

    On marian feast days I have seen white vestments trimmed with blue and then other vestments that had so much blue trim in them that they may have well been blue vestments. Are those illicit as well? I had always heard it was due to blue = color of virginity = BVM-for-obvious-reasons

    I really don’t know for feast days. For advent and other times during the year, yeah blue is irritating but I’ve had the good fortune to have never experienced blue vestments during those times

  50. JimGB says:

    I watched Vespers from St. Peter’s with the Pope and could not help but notice how the Pope’s vestments,though violet, were unremarkable and could not compare with the gorgeous vestments worn by Pope Benedict last year. The deacons’ dalmatics were from a different set since they had papal arms on the back and this Pope eschews his coat of. arms being on his or any other vestments.

  51. Desertfalcon:

    That looks like the symbol of the Cursillo movement. Cursillo is a great spiritual movement; but I can imagine someone making a vestment like that, in a burst of liturgically unbound enthusiasm.

  52. Siculum says:

    I really had a lot of fun with this. It lifted my spirits, and all I hope is that Father Z’s excellent song doesn’t get stuck in my head too long. I wish I was that creative. Also enjoyed Legisperitus’s take; I got it right away.

  53. Uxixu says:

    Our associate Pastor had a nice purple chausible and the permanent Deacon had a nice matching stole. Unfortunately the celebrant used his glass/crystal chalice, though.

  54. James says:

    Ha! The song is hilarious!

    Our dear old pastor (who loved to wear blue) retired about a year ago. He was quite the liturgist. He was replaced by a “young” (40 year old) priest, who does not seem to own anything in blue at all. He introduced himself to the choir by saying, “I know you will all deeply miss Father Frank and his expertise in liturgy. I am a poor substitute as I am only a simple rubricist, and I hope you can forgive me.”

    We do miss Father Frank, but not his “expertise” in liturgy. We never have to ask “What will happen at this Mass, Father?” anymore.

  55. Phil_NL says:

    Fr Martin Fox,

    When you debate the question ‘does God care’, one is debating the wrong issue. It’s quite possible to conclude that God doesn’t, at least in terms of ‘not taking offense’, so that’s a hard-to-win argument.

    The relevant question is : “Are we doing our duty towards God?“. To that the answer is quite unequivocal, unless one wishes to argue that a priest has no obligation to obey his bishop and the Pope, and very few would go that far overboard. And it’s easily established that priests have a duty, also to God, to celebrate to the best of their abilities, which include the ability to follow rules laid out by competent authority in God’s Church.

    Phrased this way, the discussion tends to be much more brief. Sadly, people do not tend to think much in terms of ‘duty’ anymore.

  56. robtbrown says:

    pontiacprince says:
    The colour matters?Really? More than the attitude and the reverence?

    If the colours don’t matter, why are they changed according to liturgical season and theme of the mass?

  57. Kathleen10 says:

    Oh my goodness…Fr. Z.
    You are what we would call a pip, a pistol, and frankly, hilarious. I am positive you could write a book of some kind and earn enough to never have to look to donors for a penny. But then you would probably drop this blog and leave us all brokenhearted and wishing you were broke.
    The combination of your intellect, knowledge of things large and small, added to your wit and just excellent sense of humor, makes you pretty much one of a kind. I even like it when you crab and rant. We do sometimes crab and rant. Why not you. We have to be careful though, or you’ll cut us off at the knees. Ouch.
    I do wonder if you ever feel you belong in conflicting spheres sometimes, part of this type of environment and then that. I wonder if you know people like yourself, or do you have trouble meeting other religious who are of a similar personality type? What I mean is, can there be anyone else like you? A complex personality, to be sure, and delightful for us. Thank you for this and for a million other things.

  58. Kathleen10 says:

    And I so enjoyed all the comments.

  59. Pingback: Advent Musings: In Which I Ponder Candles | Eating Slowly

  60. Mary says:

    I have attended a few of the parishes in the New Jersey/New York and some use blue for the vestments, Advent candles and other decorations. I was confused by this and felt disoriented because I did not see that until after I returned to the Latin rite from the Eastern rite which I attended from 2003 – 2010. The Eastern rite has a different approach to vestment colors which cannot be compared to the Latin. Anyway, my gut reaction to the blue was that someone was uncomfortable with the penitential aspect of Advent. In the Eastern Catholic churches and Orthodoxy, regardless of vestment colors, they practice almost the same strict fast for Advent that there do for Lent, so I was even more disturbed by the blue vestments in the Latin rite, which has no official fasting. The parish I attend the most now has new priests after 25 years, and I as curious what they would do. The pastor wore purple on Sunday (good news) but all the candles are blue (bad news). Unfortunately, today’s mass with our visiting priest proved disappointing. Not only did he wear blue, but gave a speech and said the Hail Mary after mass to justify it. He asked, “Why not wear blue for Mary and meditation, etc. etc.” Well, I ask, why not be Latin rite Catholic and continue the traditions that are deeply ingrained in our 2000 year spirituality? We are not “Father So and So” Catholics, we are Roman Catholics. If it doesn’t matter what color we use, then use the color the church by canon law requires, and retain the continuity we the laity have the right to.

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