ASK FATHER: Father says Mass without a chasuble, only a stole over the alb

chasuble_arrow copyFrom a reader…


It is my pastor’s practice to wear only the alb and stole when he says Mass on weekdays. I find this very distracting and irreverent. Is a priest required to wear a chasuble when saying Mass?

Is your parish is so poor that it cannot afford a chasuble?  Perhaps a gift from a wealthier parish can be arranged.

The ever useful document from the CDW Redemptionis Sacramentum helps us out with this question.

4. Liturgical Vesture

[123.] “The vestment proper to the Priest celebrant at Mass, and in other sacred actions directly connected with Mass unless otherwise indicated, is the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole.” Likewise the Priest, in putting on the chasuble according to the rubrics, is not to omit the stole. All Ordinaries should be vigilant in order that all usage to the contrary be eradicated.  [So, this says that the local bishop needs to make sure that priests are properly dressed for Mass.  How odd that that should be necessary, but apparently some priests think they are so wonderful that they can ignore these important requirements.]

[124.] A faculty is given in the Roman Missal for the Priest concelebrants at Mass other than the principal concelebrant (who should always put on a chasuble of the prescribed colour), ….

The rubrics are clear. Weekdays or not, a chasuble is required for the celebration of Mass.

If (when), however, Father is to offer Holy Mass in a prison camp, as many priests may be doing in the near future, he will have to make do with what he has.

Meanwhile, before contacting anyone else (such as the local Bishop – see above), Father should be urged not to go out to say Mass half naked.

It’s embarrassing for everyone!

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  1. FREB says:

    Often times it’s a a struggle when the Parochial Vicar wheres only a chasuble and a stole, but for some unknown reason wears only a chasuble and stole. He is not a religious order priest, but rather a diocesan priest. It’s really mind boggling to me, so I just pray for the priest always that he might see it’s not his thing but rather the worship of God and all belongs to Him.

  2. DetJohn says:

    It is a common problem in a local parish here. The Priest also does not kiss the altar upon entering and exiting. The parishioners don’t know better….. because that is all they see.

  3. DetJohn says:

    Priest know the rules. Some just choose to ignore the rules.

  4. ChesterFrank says:

    I recall back before Vatican2 when priests wore cassocks, they could celebrate Mass wearing cassock, surplice and stole without a chasuble for daily Mass if their work duties involved something other than saying Mass throughout the day. They typical example is the priest at a grade school who might be involved teaching students in the church. At least that’s what the sisters told us just before V2 kicked in.

  5. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Obviously your parochial vicar should be wearing the vestments required by the rubrics of the Roman Missal.

    But you should be thanking God that you actually have priest to say daily Mass. Many, many, parishes in the U.S. have no priest in residence and so no daily Mass.

    Thanks be to God this is not the case in the parishes of my Dominican Western Province, nor those of the other provinces as far as I know.

  6. JustaSinner says:

    There won’t be too many Catholics in the camps Father. Maybe a handful of Priests, one or two bishops, maybe one unlucky Cardinal. Most Catholics will flee the Church the minute the Crescent is hoisted over the White House and the American Caliphate is established; with Sharia Law as new constitution. I expect most priests will follow suit. The excuses—and they will be legion–will be, ‘but we were out numbered’, it wouldn’t do any good’, and my favorite, ‘what about the children?’
    Time to start speaking about martyrdom Father…everyone needs a refresher course.

  7. jfk03 says:

    I attended Mass at a well known Jesuit church in Spokane several years ago. The priest was properly attired in a chasuble, but he wore no alb. Just chasuble over street clothes. And stole over, not under, the chasuble. Bottom line: there is no quality control in many dioceses.

  8. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Back in the REALLY bad old days, I used to see, quite often, a priest celebrate Mass in civilian clothes over which he wore ONLY a chasuble.

  9. Gaetano says:

    Just a chasuble? Oftentimes it was street clothes and a stole. Ugh.

  10. jaykay says:

    Dear Lord, such “look at me, I’m different” pride from those priests who do this, particularly the chasuble-over-street-clothes thing. Yes, look at you… you’re a joke. You just don’t know it yet. Wasn’t it only last Sunday when our host posted about improperly dressed guests being summarily ejected from the wedding banquet? (And being cast into something a lot more serious than social disdain). I really wish those priests would reflect on the basic lesson there, firstly of respect for God and the awesome Sacrifice, and then for themselves and the faithful. Otherwise: pride goeth before a fall.

  11. ASPM Sem says:

    Question: what about when backpacking/in the Boundary Waters/where every square inch and ounce counts? I’ve camped before with a priest and he just brought a stole (he might have a had more, but it was a rainy week so might not have wanted to put on the alb and chasuble lest they get dirty/moldy)

  12. I think there are exceptions, right? For example I know priests who do multi-day hiking trips & only use a stole then in order to save on weight they’re carrying around & not destroy a good chasuble (maintaining decorum with an alb & stole). It should not be the rule but I think situations like this are important to note.

  13. Henry Edwards says:

    What might be a reason for a priest’s insistence on face-to-face confession, that does not border on concupiscence?

  14. Henry Edwards says:

    What might be a reason for a priest’s insistence on face-to-face confession, that does not border on concupiscence?

    Here are two reasons, although I’m not claiming they are good reasons: I can readily imagine priests who would push the face-to-face posture because they suppose it to be better for the penitent, and also because it enables the priest to have more information about what’s going on with the penitent. And, in fairness, there is some truth to these suppositions. In the first instance, a penitent may well benefit from confessing something face-to-face, and in the second instance, it seems indisputable that much communication is non-verbal; so face-to-face means more is communicated. The priest can then give better advice.

    Nevertheless, the penitent should be the one who decides whether to take this step.

    All that said, I wonder if there are that many priests who would actually insist on face-to-face, as opposed to making anonymous confession really hard to do (but not impossible). For example, when you have a penance service, many times chairs are set up presupposing the penitent will confess face-to-face. I always set the chairs so that one chair is behind the one in which the priest will sit, with his face away — i.e., so the penitent can approach the priest from behind, and choose either to stay behind the priest, or sit facing him.

  15. About no-chasubles…

    This isn’t really an exception, but I can think of times when I got really overheated at Mass. In each case, I think I kept my chasuble on, but thought about what I might have to do. If time would allow, I would simply pause Mass, and remove whatever vestments I had to in order to keep from passing out.

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