Blue Vestments


#1

In the article entitled “Straight Answers—The Color of Liturgical Vestments” by Rev. William Saunders, it states,

Some liturgists, particularly in the Episcopalian Church, have introduced the use of blue vestments during Advent as a way of distinguishing this season from Lent; however, no approval for blue vestments has been given for the Catholic Church.

However, I happened to come across this photo of Pope Francis (then Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio) wearing blue vestments. Could someone please clear this up for me?

Gratias vobis ago,
Facite


#2

Some countries (especially in Latin America) have an indult allowing the use of blue vestments on Marian feasts. I don't know if Argentina is one.


#3

That’s what I would suspect. In the posted picture it appears that there is an M surmounted with a crown under his pectoral cross.


#4

The Byzantine Rite has always used blue vestments for Marian Feasts.


#5

Some countries notably those which have been part of the Spanish Empire have the privilege of Blue. So do certain Shrines, Churches etc. such as Downside Abbey in England.


#6

[quote="theyoungmonk, post:5, topic:332231"]
Some countries notably those which have been part of the Spanish Empire have the privilege of Blue. So do certain Shrines, Churches etc. such as Downside Abbey in England.

[/quote]

Also Bavaria, oddly.

In England priests who observed the Sarum Use (an English form of the Roman Rite) sometimes used blue for Advent in pre-Reformation days (and maybe for some time after, I don't know). Of course such liturgical colors were not as standardized and universally observed in those days. Many poor parish priests from what I've read had only one set of vestments and wore it for every mass regardless of its color.

In the nineteenth century the Anglicans got interested in Medieval liturgy and revived the blue for Advent tradition. From there it's spread to some other denominations, like the United Methodist Church in which I was raised.

But from a Catholic perspective the custom went extinct. For centuries blue vestments have been used in some countries for Marian feast days and not at all in other countries. If the Catholic bishops of England or its [former] colonies want to revive the tradition I would support that, though from a modern global perspective it may be confusing to have the same color symbolize different things depending on where you are.

I myself have a great deal of English ancestry, personally like the idea of rediscovering a Medieval English tradition, and in any case was raised with blue as the dominant liturgical color for Advent in my Methodist community. Therefore I personally would be quite comfortable with it as far as my own tastes go, provided it was a darker shade of blue not the feminine light blue we often see in Marian vestments. But it is a fact that in the United States most Catholics are not so English, and many have roots in Latin America or other regions with the Marian blue tradition. Therefore it would probably be a pastoral mistake here. And in any case the controversy over it and lack of episcopal approval makes me think individual parishes should not take it upon themselves to revive the tradition.


#7

And if I recall correctly, isn’t Pope Francis bi-ritual? So it’s possible he may have been celebrating an Eastern liturgy.


#8

Is the the photo? There is a chance it’s white with a sheen


#9

Let’s forget about the vestments. What about that ugly crosier?


#10

No he wasn’t. He was administrator of the Eastern Churches, but he was never an Eastern bishop.


#11

[quote="PacoG, post:2, topic:332231"]
Some countries (especially in Latin America) have an indult allowing the use of blue vestments on Marian feasts. I don't know if Argentina is one.

[/quote]

that would explain the photo perfectly

if you look at the vestment you can see what looks like a M on the vestment. That is a clear marian vestment probably for a marian feast day. If it is allowed in his country than nothing wrong with him wearing that, plus he is the Pope so he has some freedom when it comes to stuff like that.


#12

LOL, modern art is very popular in Latin America…


#13

[quote="NewEnglandPriest, post:12, topic:332231"]
LOL, modern art is very popular in Latin America...

[/quote]

I think that crozier is great


#14

Maybe not then, but he is now! If he wants to be, that is.


#15

Agreed. And IME, blue spread in popularity in Anglican circles (and even crept in without authority in some Catholic churches) due to two factors:

a) Church supply companies pushed them as a way to distinguish advent from lent. Church suppliers are a huge factor in setting “trends,” and this was especially true in the 1970s, when they profited greatly from all of the new paraments, vestments, and contemporary-style church furnishings that they were able to sell.
b) Using blue contributed to the notion that advent is not penitential in any way, which is absurd. There is a reason why we have reconciliation services in advent as well as lent. Advent obviously is not as strict as lent, but it certainly, historically speaking, contains a penitential focus, as all lengthy preparations do. This idea took hold in a generation that prefers to avoid reminders of our sinfulness and the need to repent. The old ICEL translations, which have fortunately been set aside, encouraged this idea–heck, even in lent the first Lenten preface called lent “a joyful season”–an idea that the Latin original does not contain. Thankfully, that has been corrected.


#16

I could be wrong (ProVobis please correct me if I’m wrong), but I seem to think blue is also used in Poland for Marian feasts.

Perhaps it’s better that I don’t voice my opinion on the “crozier” in the linked pic.


#17

[quote="Robyn_p, post:7, topic:332231"]
And if I recall correctly, isn't Pope Francis bi-ritual? So it's possible he may have been celebrating an Eastern liturgy.

[/quote]

No, he is wearing western vestments in this picture.


#18

In the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic church is simply “dark” and “light.” Blue is not specified.


#19

This isn’t the case for the picture of the Pope, who is clearly wearing the bluest blue, but it is allowable in countries which don’t have the Marian indult for priests to wear vestments in honour of Our Lady which are technically white but which have a lot of blue trim. These, for example (not to my taste, but they prove the point), are permissible: http://www.fmchurchsupplies.com/s/cc_images/cache_2433855111.jpg?t=1366303021


#20

All of which boils down to some places have an indult to use blue for certain Marian feasts; Advent uses violet, not blue or red or orange. Lent also uses violet.

I will note the violet can be bluer or redder as long as it is violet, but there is no rule or law within the Latin rite about using different hues for Lenten or Advent vestments.


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