HELP! Is the celebrant always required to use a chasuble? And how about the chasuble-alb?

Hello. A priest at my parish is using something that looks like a chasuble-alb. He says it’s ok to use an alb without a chasuble to celebrate Mass. Is that true? If not, can you please provide documentation so that I can prove it to him? And how about the “chasuble-alb”, which is a combination of an alb with a chasuble? Is that allowed? And can you please provide documentation? Thanks!

God Bless,

It is forbidden under normal circumstances for the celebrant to omit the chasuble when celebrating mass.

As far as a “chasuble alb”, I have neither heard of such a creature, neither can I conceive of one. I am at pains to contemplate how a chasuble and an alb might be combined to form a single garment.

As far as I know, the celebrant is only required to wear an alb and stole. A Chasuble may be optional but certainly preferred. It’s important to note this is discipline, not doctrine. In case of great need, I’m not sure any specific vestments are required.

I have often seen a priest on retreat or for daily mass use only the alb and stole.

This is what Redemptionis Sacramentum states:

  1. Liturgical Vesture
    [121.] “The purpose of a variety of color of the sacred vestments is to give effective expression even outwardly to the specific character of the mysteries of faith being celebrated and to a sense of Christian life’s passage through the course of the liturgical year”.210 On the other hand, the variety "of offices in the celebration of the Eucharist is shown outwardly by the diversity of sacred vestments. In fact, these “sacred vestments should also contribute to the beauty of the sacred action itself”.211

[122.] “The alb” is “to be tied at the waist with a cincture unless it is made so as to fit even without a cincture. Before the alb is put on, if it does not completely cover the ordinary clothing at the neck, an amice should be put on”.212

[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”.213 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.

[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 color), for a just reason such as a large number of concelebrants or a lack of vestments, to omit “the chasuble, using the stole over the alb”.214 Where a need of this kind can be foreseen, however, provision should be made for it insofar as possible. Out of necessity the concelebrants other than the principal celebrant may even put on white chasubles. For the rest, the norms of the liturgical books are to be observed.

[125.] The proper vestment of the Deacon is the dalmatic, to be worn over an alb and stole. In order that the beautiful tradition of the Church may be preserved, it is praiseworthy to refrain from exercising the option of omitting the dalmatic.215

[126.] The abuse is reprobated whereby the sacred ministers celebrate Holy Mass or other rites without sacred vestments or with only a stole over the monastic cowl or the common habit of religious or ordinary clothes, contrary to the prescriptions of the liturgical books, even when there is only one minister participating.216 In order that such abuses be corrected as quickly as possible, Ordinaries should take care that in all churches and oratories subject to their jurisdiction there is present an adequate supply of liturgical vestments made in accordance with the norms.

I hope this helps.

Actually, the chasuble is required. It should be worn for all masses. The only exception is when there is a large number of concelebrants, and not enough chasubles. Other than that, even concelebrants should have chasubles. And even in the exception above, it is highly encouraged to get chasubles for them to wear.

At large (diocesan) masses, all the priests except the “main concelebrants” (technicly, there’s no difference between “main concelebrants” and “general concelebrants”. Usually the “Main” ones are other bishops and the rector of the cathedral) wear alb and stole, but I hear the diocese is looking into getting enough chasubles for all of them.

The “Chasuble-Alb” was permitted for several years; it no longer is permitted. (Noonan, 1996, The Church Visible.)

In other words, your priest is using a vestment disallowed for more than a decade. It was permitted, for about a decade, but it is not now permitted.

Can you give me an official document that prohibits it? Or a link? I would really appreciate it! :slight_smile: Thanks!

God Bless,

Redemptionis Sacramentum, which I posted in my initial response, covers the topic, I believe.

The US GIRM, as quoth by Benedictgal, calls for separate alb, then stole, then chasuble. It permits omission of the cincture and the amice. A cassock under the alb is optional, but some form of street dress is required.

Repemtionis Sacramentum also reiterates those rubrics (section V: Redemptionis Sacramentum)

It specifically forbids a chasuble without an alb, even if wearing a white cassock or habit.

It’s my understanding that the use of the chasuble-alb is no longer allowed? If so, can you please provide an official church document that prohibits it? If not, than can you provide an offical document that allows it? Thanks and God Bless! :slight_smile:

In Christ,

The term “chasuble-alb” seems to ring a bell but I can’t place exactly what it’s supposed to be. It sounds like one of those heavy polyester “albs” with pleats that began to show up after 1967 and were worn with just a stole. Is that it? If not, is there a link to a pic?

Please read the citation from Redemptionis Sacramentum that I posted. The alb and the chasuble are two separate items.

Thanks! But I’ve heard that at least in the past the Church has allowed use of the chasuble-alb for concelebrants and also for principal celebrants who celebrate Mass outside of a church or chapel. I would like a document that specifically states that the chasuble-alb is no longer allowed. I heard that the Church has prohibited it. God Bless!

In Christ,

RS came out in 2004, so it is the authoritative document used, in tandem with the GIRM (the third edition of which came out in English in 2002) to regulate the Mass. Thus, these documents are the ones that need to be followed.


The “proof” that it is not allowed is the simple fact that there is no mention of a “chasuble-alb” in the GIRM. The fact that the GIRM does describe what must be worn (alb, stole, and chasuble worn over the stole), leaves no room for interpretation to allow a combination chasuble-alb.

The places where it is allowed specify such in their GIRM localizations. The US does not include it, therefore it is not allowed.

Even where it is allowed, it is not allowed for the principal celebrant.

I find it sad that my pastor wears his stole on the outside of his chasuble. So does my bishop. Not sure why they can’t simply follow the rules.

The GIRM itself used to say this–although it might have been a US only adaptation. It wasn’t just a special concession (like the chasuble-alb). It is no longer permitted in the current GIRM (in fact, it’s in direct contradiction to the GIRM). Unfortunately, some priests either don’t get it that the GIRM has been changed (they sincerely don’t know), and others simply choose to ignore the GIRM on this. I sometimes hear the excuse “this vestment was designed this way” but that doesn’t hold water because even if it was indeed designed that way, there’s nothing preventing the priest from simply wearing the stole under the chasuble; where it belongs.

Or even getting your own stole to wear underneath. There’s nothing stopping you from wearing a different (ie, not matching) stole underneath, as long as it’s the correct color of the day.

Anyways, if that’s their excuse, maybe this is a good time to get new vestments. I’m sure that even if the bishop/priest doesn’t have enough money to get a decent set, someone could make/buy/contribute one for him.

:frowning: :frowning:
Neither am I. It seems so straightforward…

There are certain stole-chasuble sets where the stole is in fact affixed to the chasuble at the neckline. I can’t say they look good, but they look no sillier than any other stole over chasuble.

Also, some altar missals were printed with the then-current GIRM in the text (I’ve seen this; dad has one). It’s quite possible that, when confronted with unusual vestments, a priest checks the GIRM in the Altar Missal, finds it approved, and doesn’t worry that the version in the missal is outdated; might not even realize.

If nothing else, the new translation will result in the older GIRM-included missals cease being used “officially”.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit