The use of blue vestments during Advent is pretty much cliché now, so cliché that not even the aging hippies are clinging to it. Here’s my annual rant about the use of blue vestments in the Roman Rite.
At this point, some people always blurt, “But Father! But Father! Once upon a time in Spanish territories there was an indult and… therefore… we can… you know! You hate Vatican II!”
Who knows if that legendary – I repeat legendary – indult still applies. I don’t. I seriously doubt it does. Has anyone ever seen the text of that indult? No. I haven’t either. Over the years more information has come to light about that legendary indult. According to THIS, we read: “This privilege was granted to Spain, its colonies, and Latin America by a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites on Feb. 12, 1864.” I have not seen the text. Also, I suppose you would also have to demonstrate that your territory was under Spanish control on 12 Feb 1864.
Apart from whether their use is licit, it is clear that they were used in some Spanish territories and that they probably survive in the Rite of Toledo and in other regions too.
Others will say, “But Father! But Father! There is a custom of using blue during Advent and on Marian feasts!”
Yeah yeah… sure. It’s against the law.
Also, I I learned last year from a commentator, the Spanish bishops approved, in their liturgical Ordo, the use of blue (“azul”) for the Marian Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Last year it read:
8 LUNES. LA INMACULADA CONCEPCIÓN DE LA VIRGEN MARÍA, patrona de España, solemnidad
Misa de la solemnidad (blanco o azul).
bl az MISAL: ants. y oracs. prop., Gl., Cr., Pf. props. No se puede decir
I’m not in Spain. Are you?
Given what’s going these days, I am more inclined to look favorably on a traditionally tinged antinomianism. HERE In this Age of Mercy, I guess we can do whatever we want to the Roman Rite. It’s for the poor, after all. And, in mercy, some of the things we do in the Extraordinary Form should be done in the Ordinary Form. No? Shall I mention the traditional offertory prayers? The Anglican Use has them. How about the Last Gospel? The Anglican Use has it.
Use the prove that I love Vatican II I say “Let’s just do whatever the hell we want!”
Here is another argument: “But FATHER! Solemn occasions merit the most beautiful vestments even though they might not be the right color! It’s legitimate to use illicit colors if they are the best vestments you have!”
Sure… okay. But respondeo dicendum: Since blue is not an approved liturgical color in the Roman Rite, why are the blue vestments the best you have?
As soon as blue is approved for use, and I hope it will be, I will be among the first to have a beautiful set made in the Roman style! I will take up a collection and get a magnificent Pontifical set, replete with cope and humeral veil and all the dalmatics and tunics and gremials and frontals! I’ll get a stupendous Low Mass set with gold and embroidery. I will ask for huge donations! You can bet on it.
In fact… why should I wait?
If bishops – cardinals – can pretend that Christ didn’t mean what he said about one man and one woman and matrimony… can pretend that the magisterium of John Paul II is obsolete and that Benedict didn’t really issue Summorum Pontificum … and can pretend that there is such a thing as mercy without truth… then I can pretend that I’m in Spain and that blue is approved for the entire Latin Church.
Thus endeth the rant.
Now enjoy this annual song from the official Parodohymnodist.
UPDATE 29 Nov:
There is a treasure trove of information about past concessions to use cerulean/blue vestments HERE. Ultimate Fr. Z kudos for that.
In a nutshell, the concessions given for the use of cerulean were few in number and were quite restrictive by the clear intent of the Holy See.