Priestly vestment colors - are they only allowed to wear certain colors ..?


That follows the Church’s calendar ?
As in they can’t wear during Mass a purple chasuble when it’s Christmas or Easter?


It goes according to the Church calendar. There is a color for every time of the Church year.


Right. So they aren’t allowed to wear other colors that don’t fit that time of the year?


Not exactly.

White is always an option.

And certain optional feast days can override certain weekdays, thereby using a different color, etc.

What is your real question?


and just an added little bonus about Priest vestments:


well you know how some people think that the Catholic church is the whore of Babylon and will point out “oh the priest wear purple and red! See!”

Well the answer you might find on the site might be that priests don’t always wear purple and red.

Just wanting to know if they were allowed other colors not in accordance with the church’s calender for apologetics.


Well no, I don’t know, because that’s ridiculous and not worth your time.

In all my years, which are certainly twice yours or more, this has never been presented as an argument within my hearing. And if it were, that and a dollar would get me some small fries at McDonald’s. In other words: who cares?

I don’t think that taking the approach of “other colors” refutes the whore of Babylon argument.

Perhaps explaining what the colors mean. But that would require the person you are talking to be capable of rational thought and critical thinking. Which I doubt, because anyone making that argument is already an on the low end of the IQ scale.


The Liturgical colors of vestments have symbolic meanings that correspond to their respective Liturgical seasons.

Green- ordinary time
Purple- Advent and lent
Red- Pentecost/feasts for martyrs
White/Gold- Christmas and Easter
Black- All Souls’ Day and funerals (traditionally)
Rose- Laudare and Gaudete Sunday

White/Gold can technically be used on most days of the year as a substitute and is more often used for funerals nowadays. Additionally, several places have permission to use Blue on certain Marian feast days, but this is not common. Other collors like orange, yellow, and silver have no Liturgical usage, as far as I’m aware.

So in general, the Liturgical colors are meant to follow the Liturgical year (with some exceptions). As far as the “whore of Babylon” thing, I’ve never heard that argument in relation to Liturgical colors.


#4 if anyone is interested. 🤷


Byzantine vs. Roman liturgical colors:


Oh, okay. I understand the argument. It has less to do with Mass vestments and more like the clerical clothing of Church leaders. Cardinals traditionally wear red and bishops wear purple.


In the book Ordo (Latin rite, some dioceses have it online on their website), the readings for the Mass as well as liturgical colours are printed. Sometime there is only one alternative like Ordinary time and sometimes there are up to three like Ordinary time - green, a martyr´s day - red or a saint who wasn´t martyred - white. If the priest or deacon had a funeral earlier the same day he could have chosen white, purple or black with the appropriate readings. If it is ordinary time - green and the priest/deacon has a baptism later in the afternoon then for the baptism white is chosen and green for the earlier morning Mass as those are separate liturgies. If the baptism takes place in the morning Mass then white would be the liturgical colour.

White, gold (yellowish) and silver are all seen as white in liturgical colours. Gold and silver would be for major celebrations like Easter and Christmas while plain white would be for a saint (if it is not the saint the parish is named after or national/diocese patron saint).
Rose coloured vestments and dalmatics are only used two Sundays per year so they are usually the last a parish buys or is given. Violet/purple can be used instead.


No, they are not allowed to wear other colors than what the Church’s calendar gives.


Given that apologetics is the defense of the faith against objections, I don’t think going “off-script” so to speak would serve any apologetic purpose. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Yes our Priest sometimes chooses a different color than what we Sacristans lay out for him according to if it’s a martyr’s Saint’s feast or a non martyred Saint’s feast. We now try to ask him first if we can before we lay things out.


Well, I do know that certain Orders and Congregations may have special feast days where they wear different colors approved for that fraternity.


The answer is dictated by the Ordo of the cleric in question. Diocesan clergy follow the Ordo for the region in which they are located.

Religious clergy follow the Ordo of their Order, which highlights saints of their order with higher regard.

The rank of feast days govern what might be allowed on a given day - but on most days there are more than one option.

There are a number of exceptions and so forth - for example, if you belong to St. Christopher’s parish - his feast day (July 25) is a solemnity for your parishioners (only) and over-rides any other celebration that day.

The calculations as to what is allowed on what day is complicated - that’s why dioceses and religious orders issue their own Ordos - so their clergy know what is allowed on each day.

In your example, purple is never worn during Christmas or Easter. Those are privileged days of white (or white embellishments like gold).

Deacon Christopher


No, priests cannot just wear any colour they want. The liturgical colours are laid down in the rubrics.

There is a little bit of leeway. For example, white, an official liturgical colour, can always be used, especially if vestments of the appropriate colour are not available.

Another example is gold may replace white.

The rubrics also say that on major feasts a church’s best vestment set may be used even if it is not the actual colour for that feast.

The general norm for the Church’s liturgical colours are as follows.

On Sundays and ferial weekdays in the following seasons:

Advent* - violet or purple
Christmas - white
Lent* - violet or purple
Ordinary Time - green
*Rose may be used on the third Sunday of Advent and the fourth Sunday in Lent

Certain days or liturgies on those days have different colours:
Palm Sunday is red
Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday is white
Solemn Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday is red

On All Souls Day violet or purple is used.

On holy days and votive Masses of similar celebrations use:

Holy Trinity - white
Our Lord’s Passion - red; otherwise for Our Lord - white
Holy Spirit - red
Our Lady - white
Angels - white
Martyrs - red
Saints not martyred - white

Ritual Masses usually use white but red may be used if calling on the Holy Spirit

Masses for the dead use violet or purple.

Masses for various needs an occasions do not usually have their own colours but particularly joyful celebrations may use white and those of a penitential nature purple/violet.

Black may replace purple/violet on All Souls Day and Masses for the dead.


Yes the Priest who did my dad’s funeral wore a black vestment. That was different than what they normally wear for funerals.


Not all parishes have black vestments and use violet/purple instead.

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