My sincere thanks and respects for your good work you do with your “blogapostolate”. Your words have helped my keep my head and remain in my foxhole fighting on while trusting Our Lord.
My question: Are vestments made of materials other than silk tolerated for mass in the extraordinary form? (Specifically: polyester and cotton polyester blends)
I never considered the question before ordering 4 low mass mass sets of polyester from Catholic Liturgicals (the Indian company) and receiving 3 low mass of a sets of a cotton-poly blends from a friend .
A few months ago I read JB O’Connell’s study of the rubrics and his commentary on the material of vestments (pp 166-167). In light of his citations of the S.R.C, I am afraid I may not use them. Father, I do not want to abuse the sacred liturgy or engage in sinful ignoring of the rules
I am a young diocesan priest who has learned and celebrated the EF just this year. I understand and affirm that silk is the proper material for the sacred vestments, but for those of us who celebrate the EF only privately the cost of such vestments seems out of reach.
Thanks for being concerned about offering the very best for sacred worship. Thanks for your kind words. And THANK YOU for learning to celebrate Holy Mass in the traditional form. It’s important.
Part of this is, I think, conditioned by technology. Once upon a time, the only fabric available was from natural fibers. When artificial fabrics were invented, they weren’t of sufficient quality to be worthy of the altar. It took a long time for really fine fabrics to develop, and that was after prescriptions from the Sacred Congregation. Now we have fabrics that are splendid, and they are artificial or mixes.
Yes, you can use vestments that are made from artificial fibers.
That said, I think it is always best to opt to natural, organic fabrics.
We have to find a balance between the possible of the present and the possible of the future. For example, when I took over leadership of the TMSM I had hardly anything (money) to work with. However, we needed vestments for a Pontifical Requiem. I used Catholic Liturgicals for that set… grudgingly. We received the vestments in time and we used them several times but I longed for something better every time I was forced to look at them. “Bid your time”, quoth I. After a few years, after fleshing out our treasury of vestments in more commonly used colors, I returned to black. We now have a splendid set for a Pontifical Requiem and I filled out the set with items for pre-55 Holy Week, such as folded chasubles that can be used as ordinary Roman chasubles and a broad stole. I wanted those also in the case that we lend the vestments for a Novus Ordo funeral where there may be a couple of concelebrants. Maximize.
The fabric for the new set in black is a blend, and it is fantastic, and it is unquestionably worthy of the altar.
Had I held out for all silk damask with real silver, I’d still be fundraising on the 10th anniversary of my passing. There’s always the lottery. I am engaged in the art of the possible right now and the anticipation of the possible later. When I am able to upgrade, I upgrade. When I can fill a gap, I fill it.
Mostly, I am very grateful to donors who have made our work possible.
But, yes, you can use vestments made from cotton-poly blended fabrics.
As for pure polyester of the Catholic Liturigicals … think of all those little polyesters slaughtered. Seriously, this nasty stuff is made from oil, coal and water. It is more like plastic than true cloth and it highly flammable. It is cheap and it looks it. However, we are engaged in the art of the possible. Until you get something better use those and then either hand them down (if they are still usable) or put them out of their, and our, misery.