How come you no longer see priests wearing black vestments at funeral Masses?

White vestments signify purity, light, resurrection, brightness, and rejoicing. And these vestments are being worn at funeral Masses. The priests at funeral Masses preach about how wonderful and great the deceased person was.

Traditionally black vestments were worn at a funeral Mass and the priest preached about judgment, heaven, hell, and purgatory. Very little was said about the deceased persons life.

Black vestments are hardly ever worn anymore. Black vestments signify death and sin. Death is a punishment because of original sin, so mournful vestments are worn at funeral Masses.

What’s wrong with the bolded? The Priest at my Grandma’s funeral Mass the end of November had a wonderful Homily dedicated to her life.

White, black, or violet are all acceptable so I’m not sure what the problem is. It just depends on the celebrant of the mass.

At Vatican II Black Vestment were done away with, and since them Purple or White has been worn.

Depends on the parish. Ours still uses black vestments if the Requiem Mass is a TLM.

The homily is not a place for eulogizing.


A general shift in theological…emphasis. The view is that Christians should have a focus on the salvation and grace provided by Christ through sacrifice - and that black vestments were not entirely appropriate for the expectence of salvation.

Having altar served at a number of funerals (and practically had to teach a priest how to do it once!) I’ve only ever seen a black chasuble being used once. All the rest of the time was purple.

But if white is also a permissible colour, then where’s the problem.

And also, where’s the problem with using the deceased’s life to illustrate a good Christian example?

I don’t think it does a grieving family much good to hear about judgement, hell, purgatory and damnation, at least not exclusively. I think we’ve moved on, mercifully, from fire and brimstone at funerals.

Vatican II did no such thing, and black remains the colour for funeral Masses. It’s just that violet and white also become permitted.

Black remains the proper color for funerals. It’s not the fault of Vatican II that somehow people think white, green, or gold are good colors now; blame the liturgists.

This may be helpful to the discussion:


That is not true. Black is still a legitimate option even in the Novus Ordo.

And your authority to dictate the “proper” color for funerals comes from…? The liturgical reforms did indeed remove black from being “obligatory” for offices for the dead. White, Purple, and Black are now all “proper” colors. I’ve never seen green worn at a funeral. Gold (and I believe, silver) has approval as a stand-in for white.

Also true. Most Parishes simply no longer keep black vestments, since there is no mandatory usage, and very few people want a “black” funeral anymore anyway.

I don’t think it does a deceased person much good for their family not to hear about judgment, hell, purgatory and damnation. The fact is that wearing white at a funeral does send a different theological message than has been traditionally taught by the Church about the reality of death and judgment. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

It’s too bad really. Black contributed to the general tone that prayers are needed for the soul of the deceased. I should probably indicate in my will that my funeral Mass be said according to the Extraordinary Form, where black vestments are worn and the prayers for the dead are powerful and sombre.

I highly doubt that you can dictate to a Priest what color vestments he’s going to wear for your funeral.

If my wishes are respected, I’ll likely have it said in the Extraordinary Form, in which case, black is mandatory.

I do. I want my family to pray for me, and I want them to be told to pray for me, and I want them to walk into the Church and inexorably be drawn to pray for me.

I’ve done this.


The problem with the bolded is that it describes a Eulogy, not a homily. It is strictly forbidden for a Eulogy to be made by the Priest at a funeral or the Grave side. If the family want a Eulogy this can be given at a reception, wake or other time. The funeral and burial are times for Praying for the salvation of the Soul of the Deceased, and entrusting them to the mercy of God.

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