From a reader…
I am about Duck Duck go’d out on this and still can not find any answers. I attend weekly mass at an institute of Christ the King oratory and in our mass’s after the priest reads the gospel in Latin he not only removes his maniple before reading the Epistle and Gospel in English and delivering his sermon but he also removes the outer vestment (Dalmatic ?) and leaves it folded on the altar. What is the symbolism in not only removing the maniple but also the dalmatic? All I was able to find on line was that this was practiced by some Dominicans but by the same token they leave the maniple attached while delivering the sermon. Help! I am stumped and it’s driving me crazy!
The dalmatic is the vestment of the deacon, while the chasuble is the vestment of the priest. You probably saw the priest take off his chasuble and maniple before the vernacular readings and sermon.
Before the Conciliar reforms the repetition of the readings in the vernacular and the sermon in the vernacular were not considered to be part of the Mass. Therefore, there was a customary way to demonstrate that the priest was, for a moment, stepping out of the Mass: the removal of the maniple and perhaps also the chasuble.
And as often happens pragmatic things and actions can, over time, take on symbolic meanings. It could be that in some places for ease of ascending a narrow or lofty pulpit or ambo, it was best for the priest to remove his vestment so that he wouldn’t be hindered and it wouldn’t be damaged.
It occurs to me that in the beginning of a Pontifical Mass, the bishop doesn’t put on his maniple until after he says the Iudica psalm. That could be connected. Also, at the Requiem Mass the sermon is preached after Mass and before the absolution.
As for the Dominicans, well… they are a peculiar lot with their own odd and endearing ways. I can’t speak to their maniplology, but I bet one will soon jump in!
In the post-Conciliar way of seeing things, the sermon or homily is considered to part of the Mass. That seems to be a nod to the way Protestants do things. Remember: since classic Protestants don’t have the renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary, their emphasis is on Scripture and preaching and singing every note of every verse of every hymn.
Mind you, there is no rubric in the traditional form of Mass that directs the priest to remove either maniple or chasuble to preach. This is a custom. Some might say it should not be done because there is no rubric. O’Connell, for example, was strongly against it, reminding us that a bishop preaches fully vested, etc. On the other hand, there are no rubrics for lots of the things we do and do so with a happy heart because they are customary.
My view is that the removal of the maniple is a good thing. Chasuble? Sure, if Father wants to do that, fine. The removal of the vestments made you think, didn’t it, dear reader? “What’s up with that?” You were pushed to pay attention and then seek understanding. The removal of the maniple before leaving it, lonely, at the altar is a way of signaling to the congregation that something different is about to take place. It is, as a matter of fact, in the vernacular readings and sermon, that the priest is more “his own man” than at any other time. At all other time during Mass he is under strict control concerning his words and gestures.
Again, custom, not obligation. Practices will vary.