Priests & Deacons: Would you wear black vestments for funerals if asked by the family?


you can also buy “icons” online inexpensively from an organization whose name says that it is an Orthodox monastery–but is actually a Hindu cult (although it went through a pseudo-orthodox phase a couple of decades ago). Looking the same stylistically doesn’t make them into icons (which are actually prayers, not paintings!).

Unfortunately, many EC and EO gift shops over from them without realizing what they are!

I’d be suspicious of say, inexpensive “Boston Benedictine” vestments . . .



I have only seen white used in my area unless it was black at an FSSP parish.

I take that back… I’ve also seen a priest that used to used a pale green pall and chasuble only for funerals because “in death we enter into new life.” (seriously not kidding about the green pall) He used the specific color because it reminded him of new spring grass.


One other argument that I always think falls flat is the “why buy vestments that are only used once or twice a year”. Many parishes (if not most in my area) buy rose vestments that are very specifically used on 2 Sundays per year. Black vestments can actually be worn more often than rose, but few people would balk at a parish buying rose vestments.

Personally I think for many people they see too much association with the Tridentine mass which required the use of black for all requiem masses (as well as parts of the Good Friday and Easter Vigil liturgies if I remember correctly).


Thanks for letting me know


I think the real issue is that too many people today want to pretend their loved ones are going straight to Heaven and skipping purgatory (if they even believe in purgatory)


Interesting. At all the funerals I’ve been to/ served, it has always been white. I wonder how this varies by parish/diocese.


My pastor and I had a discussion several years ago along the same line. He was bemoaning how many people used funerals as mini-beatifications and how few people asked him to offer Mass for the repose of the souls of the deceased.

I said, “Well, if you think of it we use white for funerals, baptismal garments, and the feasts of saints so its not really surprising that people start to link white to a celebration of those who are washed clean and are in heaven.” That got him to start to wear violet for All Souls and then finally black the last couple years. The first year he wore black, he talked about why he wore white for All Saints and black for All Souls as a reminder that we need to pray for the dead.

He still uses white vestments and pall for funerals and talks about the white casket pall being like a baptismal garment, but he is open to using violet and black vestments if requested. Most people I think simply don’t even consider the color of vestments and wouldn’t even think of those as an option, but at least he doesn’t balk at the idea.


What are “old” vestments, Father? You mean like the fiddleback one Pope Benedict and a couple Cardinals wear here, just like the one my diocesan pastor wears weekly? Sort of as the one Pope Francis wears below?


Not that many of the faithful really go for black vestments nowadays.

That was not the case in 1963, when was at a funeral as a kid. I specifically remember the black vestments as well as the black eye patch the priest wore.

I think he lost his eye in the war, and back in the day not everyone could afford a glass prosthesis like Sammy Davis Jr. had. So he wore a black patch, which was new to me as we didn’t attend there and I never the priest before.

My father explained to me that we attended mass there on Sunday, the priest had different eye patches depending on the liturgical season. But since we were at a funeral, he wore black.


Interesting story lol.


Nice try. Not talking about off-shore sweatshops.


I think black vestments are beautifully solemn. Kind of a memento mori. The parishes here in Birmingham don’t really use them unless requested, but my Oratory uses them as standard for all requiem masses, including new rite ones.


Hello. An “old” vestment is one that was made a long time ago (excuse me for pointing out the obvious, but that is the only answer I can come up with for your question) :smile:. Depending of how well they have been preserved, old vestments will be in better or worse condition (also obvious, sorry).

Now, the ones in the pictures you posted look really well, so if they are actually old, they must have been very carefully preserved and/or restored. That is definitely not the case for the ones that I saw in my parish: they had not been used in many years, and they were not in a good enough condition to use them at Mass.



We’re in the same neck of the woods, and I can’t recall a funeral in which the celebrant didn’t wear white vestments!


I was NOT implying that you were.


Kind of sad… they must have been poorly made. Vestments should last forever.

You refer to the “Liturgical Reformation of Vatican II,” something I am quite unfamiliar with as the documents of Vatican II actually upheld our Liturgical traditions and despite this they have largely disappeared.


Will any Johnny Cash music be played? LOL


That’s because white is all they know. If they attended a funeral or two, with the priest wearing black, matching what almost the entire congregation is wearing, it wouldn’t seem pretty normal and reasonable pretty quick. Solidarity.


If you look for the funeral Masses of cardinals (such as Cardinal George and Cardinal Bernardin), the chasubles are all white, at least for the examples I could find.

At the funerals of the Popes, the vestments have been red.
(As far as I know, the rubrics for a papal funeral are among the directives set by the Pope before he dies, including the specific rules for the enclave to select his successor. Being the chief liturgist of the Church, I suppose the Pope could probably specify whatever he wanted. Still, red seems to be the norm, judging by John Paul II, John Paul I, and Paul VI.)


I’m surprised you are unfamiliar with it, since Vatican II has a whole document about Sacred Liturgy, that states in its first paragraph that " the Council sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy" (SC 1), and then proceeds to give reasons and guidelines for that reform (or “restoration”, both are valid translations of the latin word “instauratio”). There you can also read statements like “The Council desires that, where necessary, the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigor to meet the circumstances and needs of modern times” (SC 4).

The name of the document is Sacrosanctum Concilium, as you probably already know. And, as you most likely also know, all the liturgical books of the Roman Rite were reformed according to those guidelines in the subsequent years, and later revised in several occasions until today.

If your concern is to stress the fact that Vatican II never denied the value of the liturgical tradition that preceded the Council, and that tradition had to be taken into account for the reform, that is of course true, as you can see for example in the sentence quoted above.

However, I perceive in your remarks a tone of suspicion, as if you were assuming I am somehow attacking Faith or Tradition and you need to defend them against me. I don’t think I have said anything that justifies being treated like that. I tried to be conciliatory in my first response, but I see you persist in that attitude. Well, I won’t tolerate it again, because you have no right to do it. If you keep answering me in that aggressive mood, I won’t respond to your comments, and I will also flag your post and report to the moderators.

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