OF and EF vestments

The church I attend Sunday Masses at has both OF and EF services and sometimes I see the priest and servers wear OF vestments for EF Masses and vice versa. Has anyone observed this before? Are priests and servers allowed to cross dress??

Just curious… how do you know which vestments are which?

As far as I know, there aren’t any vestments that are restricted to one form of the Mass or the other. Stylistically, we associate some vestments with the various Masses, but it is just style.

There is precisely zero real difference in the vestments.

Ok thats my question answered then.

Next question then, does anyone know when the designs for the vestments changed and what prompted those changes?

Wrong. There are differences.

The use of the Maniple is mandated for the EF, but is not even mentioned in the GIRM. In practice, the maniple is exclusively an EF vestment.

Also, the rubrics for vesting in the EF missal require the amice; the OF’s GIRM allows the amice to be omitted if the alb covers adequately and fits well.

Other than the Maniple, the same vestments can be used for either.

It’s true that the maniple is ignored in the Novus Ordo rubrics, but neither was its use formally abrogated, so I think that’s debatable. Apparently Fr Z agrees.

See malphono above, as it was never suppressed, and yes, the amice is required if the conditions you say are not met.

Furthermore, I would say that 99% of those “stand-up collar” albs don’t actually cover the Roman collar in the first place. I can almost always see it sticking up. Also imho they are uglier/sloppier than an amice but that is a different story. But that might be because this variety of alb is also the kind likely to have velcro and zippers on it…

If we would not try to be crafty and instead would just stick to what is traditional for the Roman Rite to wear then I think all vestment conundrums could be easily avoided, or, Don’t fix what ain’t broke, I guess.


There were no design changes.

There are basically two styles of chasubles, the Roman (or Mediterranean) and the Gothic. Both have been used for centuries.

The two styles merely reflect the climates: the Roman style is more narrow because it’s cooler, while the Gothic style is wider because it is more suited to colder climates. Both originate in the secular Roman cloak used as an outer garment in cold or rainy weather. Somewhat like a modern poncho.

In warmer climates, the garment was made smaller once it became a liturgical vestment, while in colder climates, it was not.

Both styles of vestments have been worn throughout the Roman Church interchangeably for centuries.


Bold is mine. I don’t think “cross dress” is the term that you were looking for.:shrug:

Sorry, but I just can’t resist: that’s funny. :smiley: :rotfl:

The cross should be dressed in a violet or red covering until the unveiling on Good Friday, I don’t see where dressing the cross has anything to do with what vestments the priest wears in the OF vs the EF. :shrug:

Seems to me that what applies more to climate is the fabric and construction of the vestment, more than the actual design.

Indeed the styles did change, but I believe the so-called “fiddleback” was a late development. This seems to be a decent article on the subject. :slight_smile:

The article is a nice read. Very detailed and well-researched.

It’s also a very good resource because it explains that the chasuble has been constantly changing throughout the history of the Church.

The point though, (back to the OP) is that there really is no such thing as “Ordinary Form” or “Extraordinary form” vestments. The Church makes no such distinction, and, contrary to what many Catholics “think they know” Vatican II never required any changes to the style/cut of vestments. Today, we often call them “Gothic” or “Roman” (even “fiddleback”) and then divide them into sub-categories like semi-Gothic or Spanish style, French style, etc. etc.

None of these distinctions in vestment styles have anything to do with OF or EF.


True in fact, but let me ask a (sort of personal) question if I may: do you recall the late 1960s and the 1970s, when vestments were burned? It was another of the excesses perpetrated in the name of the dreaded “spirit of Vatican II” that had no basis in fact or in law. Even in most places that didn’t so far as to set them on fire, (and, fortunately, some were rescued from the pyre by parishioners), they were stored away in the basement or a remote closet. For years afterward it was almost impossible to see traditional semi-gothic or fiddlebacks in use (at least in the US, and from what I understand, in Canada and most of Western Europe (except parts of Italy) too.

I recall the time period (70s but not 60s). I never personally saw any vestment burning, but I do remember seeing the “fiddleback” vestments hidden away in remote places like church basements (when I went wandering and exploring in places I really should not have been to see if there really were black vestments hidden in the “dungeons” beneath our Gothic parish-church). I also remember (distinctly because my parish had only one set of vestments in identical plain polyester, one for each color) the plain vestments of the 70s.

Burning old vestments is actually the proper way to dispose of them, rather than putting them in the trash. There might be some anecdotal stories of parish priests in the 60s gleefully burning all those “pre-council” vestments in bonfires resembling some combination of a druidic human sacrifice and a drunken fraternity toga party—but I suspect these are more apocryphal than they are representative of the era. At least, I was never invited.

The point, though, (again, back to the OP) is that there is simply no such thing as pre-Vatican II vestments and post-Vatican II vestments. Even though that distinction was not explicitly made, the question OF vs EF in the question makes it plain enough.

All too often, I hear people, indeed even priests who really ought to know better, speaking as if there are 2 different forms of vestments, pre-Council and post-Council. It’s all nonsense. People who say they want to go “back to the traditional form” just don’t know what they’re talking about, and neither do those who try to reject some forms as belonging to those who don’t accept Vatican II.

Ah memory lane … I remember the late '60s, and the stories aren’t exactly anecdotal. While I wasn’t exactly “invited” to the fire-fest, I did see some of those pyres. Yes, of course burning is the proper way to dispose of old, threadbare vestments, but what I saw burned were relatively new sets. :frowning: (I’ll spare the details of where this occurred, lest it shock some readers.) Other vestments weren’t even burned: they went right out with the weekly trash pickup. :eek: And the first to go were always the black sets and the rose sets.

But yes, it was kind of like a combo druidic-fratboy toga party thing. The principles (mainly clergy and religious sisters) with the torches were thrilled to be doing an “out with the old, in with the new” deed. And, oh, the “replacement” sets. :eek: Charming piles of felt and even burlap. :rolleyes: What I find funny is that many of them weighed a ton and were hotter than blazes to wear! That didn’t deter the wearers, though. The more hideous, the happier they seemed to be. :banghead:

All true, of course, but the practical elimination of the “old” to be supplanted by the “new” was so obvious that it was really only the clergy who knew better, and even then, so very many couldn’t have cared less. Even they bought into the bogus "spirit of Vatican II’ stuff. Far too many still do. :frowning:

With all respect to Fr. David and Fr. Z, the GIRM specifies the vestments to be worn in an affirmative way, and for optional ones (amice, cincture, cassock), what the option is.

And as vestments go, not listing it amidst that mode implies quite strongly that it’s not an approved vestment for that form.

IV. Sacred Vestments

  1. In the Church, which is the Body of Christ, not all members have the same function. This diversity of offices is shown outwardly in the celebration of the Eucharist by the diversity of sacred vestments, which must therefore be a sign of the function proper to each minister. Moreover, these same sacred vestments should also contribute to the decoration of the sacred action itself. The vestments worn by Priests and Deacons, as well as the attire worn by lay ministers, are blessed before being put into liturgical use according to the rite described in the Roman Ritual.[136]

  2. The sacred garment common to all ordained and instituted ministers of any rank is the alb, to be tied at the waist with a cincture unless it is made so as to fit even without such. Before the alb is put on, should this not completely cover the ordinary clothing at the neck, an amice should be used. The alb may not be exchanged for a surplice, not even over a cassock, on occasions when a chasuble or dalmatic is to be worn or when, according to the norms, only a stole is worn without a chasuble or dalmatic.

  3. The vestment proper to the Priest Celebrant at Mass and during other sacred actions directly connected with Mass is the chasuble worn, unless otherwise indicated, over the alb and stole.

  4. The vestment proper to the Deacon is the dalmatic, worn over the alb and stole; however, the dalmatic may be omitted out of necessity or on account of a lesser degree of solemnity.

  5. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, acolytes, altar servers, readers, and other lay ministers may wear the alb or other appropriate and dignified clothing.

  6. The stole is worn by the Priest around his neck and hanging down in front of his chest, while it is worn by the Deacon over his left shoulder and drawn diagonally across the chest to the right side, where it is fastened.

  7. The cope is worn by the Priest in processions and during other sacred actions, in accordance with the rubrics proper to the individual rites.

  8. As regards the form of sacred vestments, Conferences of Bishops may determine and propose to the Apostolic See adaptations that correspond to the needs and the usages of the individual regions.[137]


For a mass under the current GIRM, the maniple appears to not be a proper vestment.

Such may be, but let’s face reality: the maniple was in use for far longer than it would take to become part of tradition. Further, when Rome decides that a traditional practice is removed, suppressed, reporobated, etc etc, Rome is never shy about saying it just that way. No pronouncement of that nature has ever, at least to my knowledge, been made in regard to the maniple. Ergo, absent a definitive suppression of same by Rome, it would seem to me that the maniple remains an option, albeit an unspecified one.

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