ASK FATHER: Maniple and zucchetto in the Novus Ordo

From a reader…


Can Priests in the USA use the maniple in a N.O. Mass? Same question regarding the use of a black Zucchetto?

The maniple?

Yes, priests can use the maniple during Holy Mass according to the Novus Ordo, the Ordinary Form.  There isn’t much question of that, and those who question that are just… odd.  The maniple is not obligatory for the Novus Ordo, as it is in the Extraordinary Form.

The black zucchetto?

As far as a priest is concerned, a zucchetto is not a liturgical vestment, as it is for a bishop or an abbot.  Father can use it to keep his bald spot warm, or to look spiffy, but he must leave it in the sacristy before Mass begins.  No black zucchetto for priests during Mass.  Father should use his biretta.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    The English translation of the Italian word zucchetto was an educational opportunity: “small gourd”, from zucca, “pumpkin”. LOL.

  2. mike cliffson says:

    I like the thought that Zuchetto is a rough cognate of zuchini, (Veg called, UK, baby marrows (marrers) in my day, or courgettes, more posh).
    Yes I know, Italian diminuitives can carry very different connotations!
    I am sure that somewhere in my Uk 50s altarboy instruction and practice the subject came up ….Everything did! We were supposed to be there for Father wherever, whoever he was and however ditto.It was an honour!
    My guild of St Steven papers etc have turned up with my parents’ deaths , but in a tatterdemalion state, and we got a lot orally that wasn’t written, and were drilled in it , too!
    I am sure 50s Uk we didn’t say zuchetto in the parishes I was in , but skullcap? Kepi? Surely not, except as an irreverent legpull?
    Purely out of interest, does any wrinkly Brit less Alzheimeric than I am remember or know?
    Apropo, again my exact memory fails, processions such as Palm Sunday’s , or Corpus Christi, seem less crisp in N.O than I remember prevatII, when there was definitely some followed rule as to what a processing priest should , and should not, be wearing, but beyond that my mind is blank.The rule might have been even recent diocesan or parish tradition, or older and wider Could it have included zuchetto?

  3. Robbie says:

    Bring back the cassock, the maniple, and the biretta and many things would improve almost immediately.

  4. Sieber says:

    Speaking of the zucchetto, I notice they seem to be coming in all sizes now. That is, from the small size that seems to precariously cling to the back of the skull (think Pius XII) to the large “limp pizza” style sported by our current holy father.
    Also, pectoral crosses that were once safely affixed to a cassock button now, swing dangerously to and fro.
    Ah well,the only machinery they are near is bureaucratic.
    Enough of this serious musing. Now back to the Synod for lighter fare.

  5. iPadre says:

    If my vestment has a maniple, I wear it in the OF. In fact, I have a great set of dalmatics that has maniples and if I wear a maniple, the deacon also does. I also wear gothic vestments for the EF and Roman vestments for the EF – I mix and match to give a sense of continuity between the two forms for the Roman Rite.

  6. Stephen Matthew says:

    Isn’t the zuchetto really something like hat underwear from the point of view of its function and historical origins? Wouldn’t wearing a biretta without a zuchetto (or something similar to avoid direct contact between expensive fancy hat and greasy hair) have been somewhat unthinkable at one point in history?

    I know a very solid priest who was firmly under the impression that as the rector of a diocesan shrine and pastor of a parish he was, given the state of present legislation, not doing anything explicitly illicit by wearing a black zuchetto within the church entrusted to his care. He had some arguments in favor of the practice that all sounded rather solid at the time, though I don’t recall what those were at the moment.

  7. NomenDeiAdmirabileEst says:

    I once asked a priest about the maniple and its suitability for the OF. He told me that it is not worn in the OF so as to keep the two forms of the Mass from “bleeding into each other.” At the time I remember thinking “I thought that ‘bleeding into each other,’ as far as the external customs and underlying piety go, was the purpose of Summorum Pontificum.”

  8. Ben Yanke says:

    I’ve heard it questioned before that the maniple should not be worn, on account of it not being described in the missal or GIRM. Is there anywhere permission is given explicitly for it?

  9. Cyrillus Mariae Cheung says:

    But anyone know how to use the maniple during the N.O. mass? When should the priest put it on and off?

    [Put it on in the sacristy before Mass. Take it off in the sacristy after Mass. You can take it off before you preach if you wish, and put it on again afterward.]

  10. amg910 says:

    @BenYanke: I’ve never seen a true permission for the wearing of the maniple in the Ordinary Form as you describe, but Tres Abhinc Annos (SCR, 1967) is where the maniple was deemed as optional. It states simply, “25. The maniple is no longer required.” Since the maniple is optional, there would be no need for permission, since its use was never abolished.

    Furthermore, in a document (Studi dei Consultori) by the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff (written after the 2008 IGMR was published) and titled “Liturgical Vestments and the Vesting Prayers”, the Office states: “5) 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.”

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