Liturgical vestment colour ambiguity


#1

Is there anything to state that liturgical vestments must clearly be for one season/use or another? (Ie.-ex. a vestment featuring an equal amount of each liturgical colour so as to be worn every day of the year)


#2

Something like what you mention is (I believe) against rubrics, and would also be pretty ugly.

However, in the absence of other vestments, 'White is always right" - Easter, majority white vestments are always permissible if others are unavailable.


#3

Yes. The Church’s liturgical calendar specifies which color is worn for each day, including optional memorials. In general, it’s green for ordinary time, violet/purple for Advent and Lent, red for memorial for martyrs, white for other memorials.


#4

From the little I’ve done at looking at rubrics, I don’t see mention of clarity/prominence required for appropriate liturgical season/use.

Regarding ugliness, if said vestment design depicted a ‘pleasing’ abstract composition, or even a figurative collage, all without clear prominence of one liturgical colour over another, it seems such a thing might be possible(?).


#5

Absolutely NOT. See General Instruction for the Roman Missal no. 346.


#6

It’s pretty clear. Wear this color in this season, that color in that season. How much more clarity do you need?

-Fr ACEGC


#7

Exactly.
Or even GIRM 345 (boldface mine)
345. Diversity of color in the sacred vestments has as its purpose to give more effective expression even outwardly whether to the specific character of the mysteries of faith to be celebrated or to a sense of Christian life’s passage through the course of the liturgical year.

When the reason for being is to express something specific and to give each liturgical season a character specific to it, a one-vestment-expresses-all-seasons concept is ruled out by the purpose for having colors at all.

Reversible vestments that expressed one color on one side and one on the other would be acceptable in theory, but would be difficult to carry off, because the visibility of a lining in the wrong color would be off-putting.


#8

Yes, the rubrics do (cf. GIRM* no. 346-7.)

*GIRM = ‘General Instruction of the Roman Missal’ (2011): The rubrics for Mass.


#9

Dear all,

Thank you for your thoughts. I did read through suggest GIRM numbers before posting my original question and I suppose I am being a bit technical/nit-picky.

Currently the only thing I see which seems to indicate having separate vestments for each season is PetraG’s note about ‘specific character’, because otherwise the points in mention (and as all of you affirm) say “these are the colours: use them”, which a seasonally-ambiguous vestment - aside from properly coloured sanctuary banners and altar trimming - would be doing anyway.

Regarding ‘specific character’, to extend the emphasis selection to ‘specific character of the mysteries of the faith to be celebrated’ might suggest that a vestment might legitimately depict some general theme(?)/aspect of our faith, and if inclusive of all seasonal colours of the year, would be likely fine. (The representation of ‘mystery of faith’ held as alternative to ‘passage through […] the liturgical year’).

The reason I am curious about this is due to seeing such a vestment used in various seasons and thought it puzzling.


#10

I’ve seen gray vestments hanging in the sacristy. I think our current priest got rid of them, since gray is not a liturgical color. The fact that other colors are available or using all colors in a single vestment doesn’t make them acceptable even when someone decides to use such a thing.


#11

[quote=“PetraG, post:7, topic:529872”]
Reversible vestments that expressed one color on one side and one on the other would be acceptable in theory, but would be difficult to carry off, because the visibility of a lining in the wrong color would be off-putting
[/quote] Seems like it would be pretty easy if doing say a Lent & Advent violet/pink combo to hem a border of gray or brown or even patterned fabric that includes both colors.


#12

I’ve heard of it being done. I’ve seen reversible stoles, with one side being purple, the other being white. They’re popular in EF churches for baptisms.


#13

I’ve got a travel chasuble in the Roman cut, i.e. “fiddleback” style, that’s reversible, white on one side and purple on the other. It folds up to about a foot square. It packs down pretty tightly, helpful for cross country trips. But really, outside of the need for greater portability, there’s no need to combine colors or anything. All my other vestments are just one color.

-Fr ACEGC


#14

True. Red and green would be pretty awful, though.

If we were in a time and era when priests had to travel around and had minimum packing space–as is case where the Church is persecuted–that is different. As it is, IMHO it is better to have vestments that are truly fitting than to try to invent a less-than-optimal solution to a problem that rarely exists.

When the priest saying Mass actually is in that situation, of course the faithful are not going to be picky about minor things such as an less-than-optimal lining color. There are priests who do travel that much to places that do not furnish vestments, and that is a different matter.

In that case, yes: Gold, silver or neutral edging would be useful in the design. The fabrics would have to both work as either lining or as the exterior fabric, and ideally the fabrics would be breathable enough that a double layer wouldn’t smother the poor priest who has to wear them. In that case, you’re not ahead of unlined chasubles, in terms of fabric outlay. I don’t know where you’d find a reversible fabric that would fit the bill, but who knows.


#15

GIRM (2011) # 346: “a. white is used … during Easter Time and Christmas Time … b. red is used on Palm Sunday … Friday of Holy Week … c. green is used … in Ordinary Time. D … violet or purple is used in Advent and Lent.”

I do not see where the ambiguity is.


#16

Hey, wee only have a vestment change mid-liturgy once a year. :slight_smile:

OK, there’s a potential second time, but it won’t happen again during any of our lifetimes . . .

And now I see that that was “EF” and not “EC” . . .

hawk


#17

Not "e"verything is about you "E"astern Catholics! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#18

:scream::crazy_face:

This is more about needing stronger "E"yeglasses . . . :roll_eyes::rofl:


#19

Hi TomH1,

Thank you: I was already of GIRM’s no.346 explanation correlating colour to season.

From my last post it seems the ambiguity arose in discussion of parsing the reasoning in GIRM no.345. I realize now that it came from reading PetraG’s incorrect quote of that number while responding to DeaconJeff. PetraG’s quote says “or” between two explanations for the colours, but when I went to look at the GIRM on the Vatican website, rather than “or” is “and”, which clears up that one must follow the vestment seasonal colouring in prominence of vestment design.

PetraG’s quote:
345. Diversity of color in the sacred vestments has as its purpose to give more effective expression even outwardly whether to the specific character of the mysteries of faith to be celebrated or to a sense of Christian life’s passage through the course of the liturgical year.

Vatican website GIRM:
345. The purpose of a variety in the 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.


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