Overlay vrs. underlay stoles

Ok, we have a new discussion from another thread. Where do I find the rubrics sited on another thread that overlay stoles are not “leagal” in the Latin rite Church?

I have seen bishops, priests and deacons wear the overlay stoles and I have searched and cannot find anything. In the GIRM its states the dalmatic or chasible and stole goes over the alb, but not the stole under the dalmatic or chasible.

My pastor bought me a white dalmatic and a set of deacon stoles to match the liturgical seasons to wear over the dalmatic. I haven’t found anything where this is not acceptible; can you?:shrug:

I believe in the previous thread, Redemptionis Sacramentum made it quite clear that the stole goes under the chasuble.

[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.

The same holds true for the dalmatic:

[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

It can’t be any clearer than that.

Here they are from the GIRM usccb.org/liturgy/current/chapter6.shtml

  1. The vestment proper to the priest celebrant at Mass and other sacred actions directly connected with Mass is, unless otherwise indicated, the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole.

If a priest wears the stole over the chasuble, then he is necessarily not following the GIRM which says that the chasuble goes over the stole.

For the deacon
338. The vestment proper to the deacon is the dalmatic, worn over the alb and stole. The dalmatic may, however, be omitted out of necessity or on account of a lesser degree of solemnity.
Likewise for the dalmatic.

The priests who wear the stole over the chasuble: do they have the altar cloth over the altar, or do they have the altar over the altar cloth?

I don’t know, I guess it is a little confusing because of the number of priests deacon and even bishops who wear overlay stoles occassionally.

I have asked this question many times through my formation and never got a deffinite answer, even from the liturgist who taught us the GIRM. I personally have helped my bishop vest and placed the over stole around his neck. He is a very holy and obidient man. He has been ordained for almost 45 years maybe that’s what the difference is. As I have found some statements to the fact that pre vat II this was acceptible. But I am too young to know that, 44.

I’m just really torn here about some of the issues we tend to bicker over when the pews are emptying because we forget to preach the gospel.

The thread where this came up was locked because we aurgued over things that most Catholics wouldn’t give a rat’s rear end either way, like this stole issue.

My pastor has told me how I was going to vest as a deacon, untill I get a pastor who says overlay stoles are the devil, I will wear them. I will take my pastor and bishop’s interpretation of the intent of the GIRM because these are the people I will be reporting to while serving the people of God.

Is this wrong in your book???:shrug:

With all due respect, you are wrong. The Church gives us the norms and rubrics to obey them. God required that Aaron and his successors adhere to the prescriptions that He dictated to Moses concerning how He was to be worshipped. The slightest infraction proved fatal to Aaron’s sons and several others.

Lapey, we pray as we believe. Even if the rest are failing to adhere to the GIRM, that does not remove the obligation from you. In fact, to think that you can dispense with the rubrics of the Church simply because of the bad examples you are seeing raises a serious red flag for me. The Mass is not something that we can cobble up for ourselves, picking and choosing which rubrics we will obey. That is not right. If we cannot be faithful in what some consider to be minor things, how can we be faithful in major ones? Casualness in one part of the rubrics, sadly, leads to casualness in the rest.

Both the GIRM and Redemptionis Sacramentum specifically state how the bishop/priest and the deacon are supposed to vest. These are not things that are up to the bishop, let alone the pastor, to casually abrogate. The bishop is charged, first and foremost, to ensure that the GIRM and RS are to be followed. If this is not happening, then, someone needs to charitably tell him.

In your mind it is clear, as usual in the Churches mind it is not. Please refrain from the tone of supperiority. I asked a simple question, where do I find the rubrics? I know what the GIRM reads, i mentioned that in my orriginal post.

Please show me the rubrics that lays it out so plain and simple.

And don’t list the GIRM again, because the Church and Her clergy have certainly showed difference to what you have written about what it means.

If I were to go along with what has been said on this forum, the majority of the clergy is not worthy of being clergy and probably are going to hell. I personally do not believe that. I bel;ieve the vast majority of the clergy are very good and holy men trying to fullfill the requirements of canon 1752.

The Church is quite clear in both the RS reference that I posted and the one from the GIRM that Fr. David posted. It is not superiority, Lapey, please do not mischaracterize my words. You asked a question and Fr. David and I responded to it. If you are looking for something that validates the ilicit activity you are witnessing, you are not going to find anything in the norms that justifies it.

You are also, as I see it, mischaracterizing things. No one is saying that the clergy who do not follow the norms and rubrics of the Church are heading south. However, there is a serious danger when we treat the Mass as our own personal property and want to do things as we please.

When Francis Cardinal Arinze was Prefect for the CDWDS, he made these observations about the norms:

Moreover, liturgical norms are not arbitrary laws or regulations put together to please some historian, or aesthetist, or archaeologist. They are manifestations of what we believe and what we have received from tradition, from the “norm of the holy Fathers” (cf SC 20, GIRM 6), from what generations of our predecessors in the faith have said, done, observed and celebrated. To know that we are doing, saying, hearing and seeing what millions of Christians have done throughout the world for hundreds of years and are doing today, should help us enter better into a committed and prayerful participation. Moreover, by conforming our entire person to all that the liturgy represents, we undergo a transformation and become ever closer to God.

At the same time it needs to be repeated that the spirit of rejection of rules and regulations which would then be regarded as a violation of one’s autonomy, needs to be corrected. It is wrong and unreasonable to maintain a spirit of “Nobody is going to tell me what to do”. This would be a false understanding of liberty. “God has not granted us in Christ an illusory liberty by which we may do what we wish, but a liberty by which we may do what is fitting and right”. (RS 7)

You ask that I not post from the GIRM; however, the GIRM’s prescriptions are contrary to what you are witnessing. RS, which was promulgated by the Venerable Pope John Paul II to address liturgical abuse in all forms, also indicates that the stole is to be worn under the chasuble and under the dalmatic. Again, just because you have seen many do this, that does not make it right. Even if one’s own bishop were to do something that is clearly in violation of the norms, that is not correct. All of us are obligated to do, as Cardinal Arinze said, “what is fitting and right.”

Furthermore, just because companies which sell vesture to both Catholics and Protestants, have something up on their websites for use in worship, that does not necessarly mean that it is fit for use in the Mass.

You have your answers and they come straight from the authoritative documents of the Church. Whether you choose to accept them and adhere to them is up to you.

Don’t you feel we concentrate on the mondain and try to make it more than it should be? I kind of feel like a Bennedictine, I hear the staving child knocking at my door, but I can’t go help him because I am praying.

I know the mass is not our’s, how could I feel that? I had an argument about when it was proper and how many times the bells should be rung during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This was with one of my class mates no less. Do you know that answer?

Many of these norms go back to local custom with the ordinary, bishop, as the final word.

Let me ask you, if the GIRM reads that the vestment of the deacon is the dalmatic, over the alb and stole, does that mean where the stole is to be worn? I don’t think it does. Couldn’t it mean the dalmatic and stole go over the alb, not neccesarily that the dalmatic goes over the alb and over the stole? Where does this ilicit abuse as you call it come from? What drives people to abuse the liturgy and “take it as their own” like you say?

I appreciate the responces, and I will probably not wear the dalmatic except on days where I can wear the gold or white stole under the dalmatic, but that doesn’t change how I think we argue over issues that are just taking up time that we should be preaching the gospel.

I do intend to wear the other liturgically correct colors with an underlay stole, I just don’t see the issue worth calling out so many holy men of God.

What is a dalmatic, alb and stole?

Over means “on top of” the dalmatic for a deacon, the chasuble for the stole. In other words, the stole is not supposed to be visible. It means that the dalmatic and the chasuble are the last things that the clergy put on for their vesture. Thus, it is ilicit to put the stole on top of the dalmatic/chasuble if the GIRM and RS say that it is worn beneath said dalmatic/chasuble.

You might think that these are minor issues, but, the preaching of the Gospel also entails obedience. Regarding the proverbial starving child, this is an argument that many use who try to downplay the importance of norms. You may not see this as an issue worthy of calling clergy out on, but, again, if we are not going to be faithful in what are seemingly minor details, how can we be entrusted with the “larger” ones? Flippancy in one all too often leads to flippancy in the rest. My best friend is a minor prelate, arguably the best priest in the diocese. He cares about the rubrics. He is faithful. He is also one of the finest homilist in our area. Yes, he wears a cassock. On top of that, he wears his alb (a very ornate one) with his cincture and then his stole. On top of all of that, he wears a chasuble. Were you to make that argument to him in the diaconate classes he is teaching, he would probably tell you the same thing I am telling you.

Now, Jesus never condemned the liturgical practices of Ancient Israel because these were dictated by no less than His own Father and these prescriptions all found their fulfilmment in Jesus.

The bells were never abrogated, contrary to what some may say. They are used at Masses celebrated at St. Peter’s Basilica by no less than the Holy Father, Himself. Pope Benedict provides the best example of how to properly celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The deacons serving with him also provide excellent examples of how to best exercise that office.

Regarding the abuses, it is a sad and lamentable misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council wherein folks were too eager to follow the alleged “spirit” of Vatican II than what the council documents actually said. It might help for you to read Redemptionis Sacramentum in its entirety. This is a must-read document for anyone in formation either for the priesthood or the diaconate. You can find it here:


It should be read in tandem with the GIRM.

The dalmatic is the vestment worn by the deacon. The alb is the long white undergarment worn by both clergy and the laity. The stole is a long strip-like garment worn across the shoulers like a yoke, so to speak, by bishops and priests or diagonally off of one shoulder, by a deacon.

The bells are niether prohibited or required. They can be rung 0 - 3 times if you like. At the epiclesis and the elevation of the two sacred species at concecration.

Are you saying a priest who wears the stole over his chasible and does not allow the altar servers to ring the bells at the concecration is any less a mass than the one you mentioned? Is the sacrifice entered into any less valid at either? This argument or discussion proves my point.

In said mass where the priest does these ilicit and terreble things, is he still doing his duty as stated in canon 1752, or has he failed to do his duty as required by that canon?

I’m done for the evening…good night all and God bless.

Very interesting to say the least!:thumbsup:

Guess I should explain what I mean by that. This discussion has caught me off guard, its just never been an issue here. I was surprised when it came up in the last thread with such passion. It has been an eye opening discussion, thanks all.

Here is a picture of a more traditionally styled dalmatic.

Here is a basic alb and cincture (rope), although nicer ones sometimes look like this, or sometimes like this, with lace.

Here is a deacon’s stole, worn over an alb. (Dalmatic not shown). Here’s another.

Does this make sense?

Lapy, with all due respsect, you can’t confine everything to what is in Canon 1752. The Mass is also governed by both the GIRM and RS. He really can’t be carrying out his duty if he ignores the rubrics and norms prescribed in these authoritative documents. You need to follow the entire set of norms and rubrics. You can’t pick and choose.

Maybe it’s never been an issue because of what I perceive to be liturgical apathy on everyone’s part. That is why the Church posts all of her documents online for everyone to read and heed.

While the validity may not be in question in the instances you mention, there is the very serious issue of the fact that there are some ilicit practices going on that need to be addressed and corrected. RS makes some very important points:

6.] For abuses “contribute to the obscuring of the Catholic faith and doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament”.14 Thus, they also hinder the faithful from “re-living in a certain way the experience of the two disciples of Emmaus: ‘and their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him’”…

[7.] Not infrequently, abuses are rooted in a false understanding of liberty. Yet God has not granted us in Christ an illusory liberty by which we may do what we wish, but a liberty by which we may do that which is fitting and right.18 This is true not only of precepts coming directly from God, but also of laws promulgated by the Church, with appropriate regard for the nature of each norm. For this reason, all should conform to the ordinances set forth by legitimate ecclesiastical authority.

[8.] It is therefore to be noted with great sadness that “ecumenical initiatives which are well-intentioned, nevertheless indulge at times in Eucharistic practices contrary to the discipline by which the Church expresses her faith”. Yet the Eucharist “is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity or depreciation”. It is therefore necessary that some things be corrected or more clearly delineated so that in this respect as well “the Eucharist will continue to shine forth in all its radiant mystery”.19

[9.] Finally, abuses are often based on ignorance, in that they involve a rejection of those elements whose deeper meaning is not understood and whose antiquity is not recognized. For “the liturgical prayers, orations and songs are pervaded by the inspiration and impulse” of the Sacred Scriptures themselves, “and it is from these that the actions and signs receive their meaning”.20 As for the visible signs “which the Sacred Liturgy uses in order to signify the invisible divine realities, they have been chosen by Christ or by the Church”.

RS further states that:

[11.] The Mystery of the Eucharist “is too great for anyone to permit himself to treat it according to his own whim, so that its sacredness and its universal ordering would be obscured”.27 On the contrary, anyone who acts thus by giving free rein to his own inclinations, even if he is a Priest, injures the substantial unity of the Roman Rite, which ought to be vigorously preserved,28 and becomes responsible for actions that are in no way consistent with the hunger and thirst for the living God that is experienced by the people today. Nor do such actions serve authentic pastoral care or proper liturgical renewal; instead, they deprive Christ’s faithful of their patrimony and their heritage. For arbitrary actions are not conducive to true renewal,29 but are detrimental to the right of Christ’s faithful to a liturgical celebration that is an expression of the Church’s life in accordance with her tradition and discipline. In the end, they introduce elements of distortion and disharmony into the very celebration of the Eucharist, which is oriented in its own lofty way and by its very nature to signifying and wondrously bringing about the communion of divine life and the unity of the People of God.30 The result is uncertainty in matters of doctrine, perplexity and scandal on the part of the People of God, and, almost as a necessary consequence, vigorous opposition, all of which greatly confuse and sadden many of Christ’s faithful in this age of ours when Christian life is often particularly difficult on account of the inroads of “secularization” as well.31

So, we can’t just isolate ourselves to one aspect of the Canon. Everything in both the GIRM and RS needs to be followed.

I don’t know about the duty mentioned in the canon, but he has very much failed to bring the mass to the people of God as He intended it, not to mentioned being very disobedient to the church. It seems you have the attitude of: “It’s ok if the priest bends the rules a bit, as long as the consecration is valid”. It’s not ok. The church puts those rules down in her infinite wisdom to be followed, not broken.

As simple as it may seem it all turns on the placement of the comma.

“The vestment of the deacon is the dalmatic, over the alb and stole” is different from “The vestment of the deacon is the dalmatic, over the alb, and stole.”

As to what drives people to abuse the liturgy? For many it’s just what you are doing, going along with what they’ve seen done, either because they don’t know any better or because they are not willing to stand up and say “I’m not doing that because it flies in the face of rubrics.” For others, it’s the hubris of believing they know better, plain and simple.

I once brought up the fact that we were, against all the rules, using EMHCs to distribute Communion in my parish while the 2 concelebrants sat and watched. The pastor got very upset and said that Redemptionis Sacramentum had not been implemented in our diocese and I shouldn’t be quoting from it. I replied that RS, in this case as in much of what it contains, was not imposing a new rule but was simply restating what had already been said in three previous documents, starting with the one that allowed EMCHs in the first place. The assistant pastor (who had long ago been the pastor’s seminary professor) got up, shook his finger in my face and yelled “We’ve never paid attention to those documents before, we’re not about to start now!” THAT’S the kind of hubris that leads someone to abuse the liturgy.

Yes that little comma. Thanks for commenting on this thread. There are many abuses that need to be “fixed”. I have brought a few to my pastor’s attention already and his responce recently was, “don’t try to fix everything.” I believe I struck a nerve on some of these issues and people went to to him and complain about me. The one that I believe got me in trouble was instructing the EMHC to refer to the sacred speicies as Body and Blood, or the Cup and not bread and wine; pet peve of mine. But if we as the Church ministers are confused then how confused is the congregation?

This discussion has opened my eyes to this matter. I’m going to have to ask some questions about this in our diocese; preferably after ordination in December. I just didn’t think that much of this because of the accepted use of the overlay stole; time to do some leg work.

Sometimes you have to pick your battles and sometimes you just have to say ‘uncle’. In the same meeting where I had the run-in with the assistant pastor, I was also ordered by the pastor to stop using the term ‘extraordinary minister of Communion’ and use ‘eucharistic minister’ instead. It seems he’d received complaints from people who misinterpreted ‘extraordinary’ and rather than explain what it meant he opted to use the wrong term. In fact, the assistant pastor went to great lengths to explain to me how ‘extraordinary’ ministers were now becoming ‘ordinary’ ministers because of the situation in parishes. Oh, I get it! White is black and true is false and why does that remind me of a certain book I read in high school??

It was then I realized that I was fighting a losing battle and couldn’t continue in my role as Chair of the Liturgy Committee because it would only cause strife in the committee and nothing would ever be accomplished. Meetings were just too uncomfortable for everyone and nobody but me really cared. It was sad because the parish had spent several thousand dollars to send me to take courses in liturgy where I was taught about the documents and what they said but then was ordered to completely ignore them because that’s what the pastor wished to do.

You asked for a citation from the Church’s liturgical norms about whether the stole goes over or under the chasuble/dalmatic. Benedictgal and I both provided the GIRM that says clearly that the stole goes under the chasuble/dalmatic. Then you respond by saying (in effect) that it doesn’t matter–you’re prepared to do the opposite of what the GIRM says.

If it doesn’t matter to you what the GIRM says, then why ask the question in the first place?

However, if you look at the deacons assisting at the Papal Masses, they don’t wear their stoles over their dalmatics. In fact, none of the concelebrants (who are often cardinals and bishops) wear their stoles on the outside. It’s not as simplistic as some may think. Just because something is “accepted” that does not mean that it is right.

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