Priests do not wear the biretta when they celebrate the ordinary form (OF) of Holy Mass. Is this because its use is prohibited in OF Masses or has it just fallen out of use. If it is the latter case when and how should it be used in OF Masses?

There are no rubrics regarding the biretta in the ordinary form. If someone did use it they would probably be hybridizing the EF and OF and that is not permissible. The only headwear that is mentioned in the OF is the bishop’s miter.

Thank you Joannm for your response.

I knew the things you told me. Even though no mention of the biretta is made that does not mean it has been abolished. The OF makes no mention of episcopal gauntlets but I believe that they were not abolished and that they can still be worn during OF Masses and other liturgies.

So, I was asking whether anything specific had abolished the wearing of the biretta during OF Masses and other liturgies. I would imagine that it can be worn during celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours (LOTH) because sacred ministers wear choir dress during the LOTH and the biretta is part of choir dress.

it can still be wore. I have seen it worn by a visting preist. it has just fell out of custom, but this visiting priest was a younger guy so who knows it maybe making a come back.

I have seen it worn at an Anglican use mass.

As there is, to the best of my knowledge, no Anglican Use Latin Catholic Parishes in the UK I don’t know anything about the Anglican Use. Do they follow a liturgy which is similar to the Anglican Prayer Book or the Anglican Missal, in which case their liturgy is likely to be more similar to EF Mass. If they use a more contemporary liturgy then they will be similar to OF Mass. If they are similar to EF Mass then that gives no clue to whether the biretta can be used in the OF Mass. If they use a liturgy similar to the OF then it may be a clue that the biretta can still be used in the OF Roman Rite Mass.

Actually, when a bishop, archbishop or a cardinal is at Mass, but not celebrating nor concelebrating, he wears his biretta and is in choir dress.

Yes, this is true, but there are no rubrics for celebrants in the OF as there are in the EF with regard to removing and putting it back on. It simply is not part of the vestiture for the OF. I have never seen it worn by celebrants or concelebrants in the OF. I would think perhaps the priest could wear it in the entrance procession but then would have to remove it for the entire Mass.

It may licitly be worn at both the OF and EF Masses today. Fr. James-Charles Noonan, Jr. in his book The Church Visible outlines the rubrics for its use during the OF Mass based on the historical use of head coverings during Latin Rite sacrificial liturgies by non-bishop clergy.

I’ve never seen it worn at any Mass except on EWTN – ever.

I just wanted to address this. The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI speaks of “mutual enrichment” of the forms of the Mass. Hybridization of the forms is not only permissible, it is encouraged.


It is worn by the priests where I attend the TLM , every Mass, every day. It is removed and passed to an altar boy for storage at the foot of the altar before Mass and returned to the priest by the altar boy at the recessional.

I do not think that hybridization is what Pope Benedict meant. Would you object if they added things from the OF to the EF? Mutual enrichment would go both ways.

The mutual enrichment from the OF to the EF is the inclusion of the three-year cycle of Sunday readings. That was specifically mentioned in SP.

My best friend is a monsignor. He owns a biretta, but, his has a magenta top to it. He also owns a zucchetto with magenta piping! :smiley:

Fr. James-Charles Noonan, Jr. in his book The Church Visible gives the following outline for wearing the biretta by non-episcopal clerics during the celebration of the OF Mass:

  • Celebrant wears the biretta in procession… Concelebrants wear or carry at their breast.

  • Biretta removed at the foot of the stairs to the sanctuary.

  • Biretta is returned to head after celebrant reverences altar.

  • Biretta is always removed for incensation and/or the opening prayer. (If incense is used, biretta is obviously not returned to celebrant’s head immediately after reverencing altar.)

  • Biretta is always returned to head as celebrant takes his seat for the first reading. It remains on his head until the Alleluia.

  • Biretta is not worn by anyone during the proclamation of the Gospel.

  • Biretta is not worn by homilist during homily but it is worn by concelebrating priests (and/or main celebrant) during homily.

  • Biretta is removed by concelebrants before approaching the altar after the homily. Other clerics remove following lavabo.

  • Biretta remains off until the Blessed Sacrament has been reposed in the tabernacle. Biretta is returned to head once Blessed Sacrament is in repose.

  • Biretta is removed for closing prayer and final blessing.

  • Biretta may be worn after the conclusion of the Mass during the recessional.

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I’m not sure what you mean. What element(s) of the EF could be used in the OF that are not already allowed/encouraged by the existing rubrics for the EF?

I’m not sure what you mean. What element(s) of the EF could be used in the OF that are not already allowed/encouraged by the existing rubrics for the OF?

Sorry about that.

They may also wear alb, stole and cope (Ceremonial of Bishops #176, p.63).

Actually, they don’t wear that, at least in the Papal Masses where you see a plethora of cardinals, archbishops and bishops in choir dress. I have yet to see them wearing a stole. Furthermore, when visiting cardinals go to a Mass (and are not the celebrant nor concelebrant), they only wear their choir dress and biretta. They don’t wear the stole, alb nor cope.

Usually a priest in choir dress puts on a stole to preach or receive Holy Communion.

But, we are referring to cardinals, archbishops and bishops. These did not have their stoles on during Mass. They were also seated in an area sectioned off from the faithful.

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