Stole over Chasuble

This unfortunate style has seemingly spread to my Church. We got a new priest while I was away, and my first week by I attended a Mass prayed by him, and he had the stole on top, the next week, the Pastor did not, however this last Sunday the style seemed to have caught on with him as well.

How can I go about handling this situation, as I am aware that it is against the instructions in various documents. Unfortunately, I am a seminarian, which makes me nervous to put my name on any kind of letter. How should I handle this?

Here is the citation from Redemptionis Sacramentum:

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.

I hope this helps.

It might be best for you to wait until you’re ordained and do things right.

As a seminarian, you are in a unique position to ask questions. Make the most of it.

“Father, I was looking at the GIRM and comparing it to older versions. I noticed that the older version says that the stole may be worn over the chasuble, but the current one says that it must be worn under the chasuble. Any thoughts?”

Get the picture?:wink:

Some priests sincerely have not noticed the change. As long as vestment manufacturers insist on offering “over stoles” this problem won’t go away.

I’m surprised it is the first time. It won’t be the last time. When it is not that, it will be something else.

When you have the chance, ask whomever seems the appropriate priestly mentor at your seminary how this is best handled by a seminarian, by an associate pastor, and so on, and how much it depends on the post of the person you’re talking to, their temperament, and so on. I’m guessing it will be a conversation that could teach you a lot about how to use diplomacy and tact with your brother priests, when to question, when to admonish, and when to mind your own business. Also ask what you need to know when, down the road, you are confronted by a younger priest, a seminarian, or a layperson on such a topic.

These are the pearls that Church documents probably don’t cover. You might do well to bring up to several different priests, and the more grey hair on them and the more their reputation for humility and holiness, the better. If, in the course of this conversation, they tell you to tatoo some wise saying on the back of your hand, do it.

In the Philippines, it is common to see priests and even bishops wear the stole over a white (usually) or a plain colored chasuble(?). Do the Dioceses of the Philippines have a different local ruling on this?

One would have to consult the approved GIRM variations for the Phillippines (sorry, I don’t have it handy). I rather doubt it because it seems like the stole over chasuble was something that the Church said “let’s try this” but realized it wasn’t such a good idea and revised the GIRM.

For a few years, the GIRM permitted it, and this is the sort of thing that when it was changed, very few priests actually noticed. I think that’s the primary reason why we continue to see this. As long as commercial vestments are made with overstoles, priests will just buy those vestments and wear them the way they were designed, or continue to wear them that way out of habit.

Most priests have simply never noticed the change. Those who don’t care about the GIRM will continue to do it no matter what, and are less likely to consult the GIRM in any case.

I’ve noticed a certain pattern that priests who are more likely to take liberties with the other aspects of the Mass are likewise more likely to wear the stole over the chasuble. Even when this was a permitted option, the priests who did not do it were the ones more likely to follow the rubrics faithfully. Not an absolute, of course, but just a very general pattern.

I have seen the stole over the Chasuble so many times that I’ve been under the impression it was a permitted use. I’m therefore surprised to see the appropriate documents saying it’s not supposed to be done.

As a mere seminarian, you’re not really in a good position to correct your superiors.

It might be well to wait until you’re ordained, and then set an example by wearing the vestments properly.

(Stole over the chasuble has always looked odd to me.)

I see it a lot. I have read that it is entirely inappropriate because the stole represents authority and the chasuble mercy. Mercy should always cloak authority.

Ask the priest about it, as suggested above.

Some do so out of long-standing habit… and a big deal wasn’t made of it when it was disallowed.

Likewise, deacons are supposed to wear their dalmatics over their stoles.

Some bishops have chosen not to enforce that provision. A few have even continued to wear stoles over the chasuble themselves.

Further, some sacramentaries and pontificals have the GIRM of the time of their printing; it is entirely possible that a priest might look at the GIRM in the sacramentary and trust it, not realizing it has since been changed.

What did the older GIRM say that allowed stoles over chasubles?

I wondered that, too. All of this talk about “when it was allowed” for a few years. I think I may have missed that period.

I’m guessing this is due to the one-time prevalence of chasuble-alb in the Philippines. I forget the words exactly, but I was looking at a manual for the Philippines compiled on these and other matters like clerical dress, fast, excommunication, etc. and a chasuble-alb was permitted though with reservations IIRC. I think that permission has ended (would have to look it up) but it seems the practice has spread to the cases where chasuble and alb are separate.

Not many priests spend their time looking at the GIRM or other liturgical instructions. They usually just follow the way they went taught in the seminary, or what they saw there, which is often presumed licit.

The chasuble-alb and the over-stole were permitted by a couple liturgical documents which can be found in the compendium “Documents on the Liturgy”. I’ll look it up later today.

Not following the Rubrics is as old as the Liturgy. Prior to Vatican II, the Congregation which oversaw the Rites of the Church issued several pronouncements about vestments, including that the lining should be the same basic color as the vestment. However vestment manufactures made them with all sorts of differing colors. It was unlawful to place a crucifix in the throne, above the altar that was reserved for the Blessed Sacrament. You will find most Churches before and after the Council that placed crucifixes in the Throne. There was controversy over permanent vs temporary Thrones for the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. All important issues to some, but not noticed by others.

While observing the laws of the Church is important. It is also important to choose your battle wisely. Once (D.V.) you are ordained, a priest, it may be better to bring up the whole issue. In the mean time, prayer (always), and a letter to the priest or person who oversees liturgy in your diocese, (anonomously) may be the best course.

It is however refreshing to see a seminarian who shows interest in seeing that Church laws be followed, I pray that it carries over to Doctrine and Morals too. As well as for all priests, Seminarians and Religious.

Here is Document on the Liturgy #553, Concession La Sacrée Congregation allowing use of the chasuble-alb (from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship), dated 1 May 1971. It was originally granted to France, but then extended to other conferences of bishops.

A petition conforming to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal no. 304 has been addressed to the Congregation for Divine Worship to authorize wearing of the chasuble-alb with the stole over it in liturgical celebrations. This is a loose-fitting priestly vestment that entirely envelops the celebrant’s body and thus replaces the alb.

[LIST=1]
*]This proposal seems to be consistent with the general principles on liturgical vestments, as determined by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal no. 297. In particular:
[LIST=a]
*]The prominence given to the stole by reason of its being worn over the chasuble-alb puts due emphasis on the hierarchic ministry of the priest, namely, his role as presiding over the assembly in persona Christi (See Introduction no. 4; Text no. 60).
*]Since it is so sample that it covers the celebrant’s entire body, the chasuble-alb maintains the sacredness of things used in the liturgy and adds an element of beauty, if it is of graceful design and good material.
[/LIST]
*]Taking into account the diversity in pastoral situations, the Congregation for Divine Worship therefore authorizes use of this vestment under the following conditions.
[LIST=a]
*]For the usual celebration of Mass, particularly in places of worship, the traditional liturgical vestments are to continue in use: the amice (when needed to cover the neck completely), the alb, the stole, and the chasuble, as required by the General Instruction nos. 81a, 298, and 299. It is preferable to ensure the observance of this prescription, but at the same time not to refuse to meet legitimate needs of the present day.
*]For concelebration, the General Instruction (no. 161) has confirmed the faculty granted to concelebrants, except for the principal concelebrant, to wear just the alb with the stole over it. This makes for a certain simplicity but at the same time respects the dignity and sacredness of the liturgical services. It is proper in concelebrations that the principal concelebrant wear the vestments listed her in no. 2a.
*]The chasuble-alb may be worn in concelebration for Masses with special groups, for celebrations outside a place of worship, and for other similar occasions where this usage seems to be suggested by reason of the place or people involved.
*]As to color, the only requires for use of the chasuble-alb is that the stole be of the color assigned to the Mass.[/LIST]
*]We should add that the approval of a new type of vestment must not put an end to the creativity of artisans and vestment makers regarding the design or the material and color of vestments. But all their efforts must respect the twofold requirement formulated by the General Instruction no. 297 and repeated here in no. 1a and b: to give proper emphasis to the celebrant’s ministry and to ensure the sacredness and beauty of the vestments.
[/LIST]

And here are the various references to the GIRM from that document (for completeness’ sake).

304 - “Regarding the design of vestments, the conferences of bishops may determine and propose to the Apostolic See adaptations that correspond to the needs and usages of their regions.”

297 - “In the Church, the Body of Christ, not all members have the same function. This diversity of ministries is shown outwardly in worship by the diversity of vestments. These should therefore symbolize the function proper to each ministry. But at the same time the vestments should also contribute to the beauty of the rite.”

4 - “Further, because of the priest’s more prominent place and office in the rite, its form sheds light on the ministerial priesthood proper to the presbyter, who offers the sacrifice in the person of Christ and presides over the assembly of a holy people. The meaning of his office is declared and detailed in the preface for the chrism Mass on Thursday of Holy Week, the day celebrating the institution of the priesthood. The preface brings out the passing on of the sacerdotal power through the laying on of hands and, by listing its various offices, describes that power. It is the continuation of the power of Christ, High Priest of the New Testament.”

60 - “Within the community of believers, the presbyter is another who possesses the power of orders to offer sacrifice in the person of Christ. He therefore presides over the assembly and leads its prayer, proclaims the message of salvation, joins the people to himself in offering the sacrifice to the Father through Christ in the Spirit, gives them the bread of eternal life, and shares in it with them. At the Eucharist he should, then serve God and the people with dignity and humility; by his bearing and by the way he recites the words of the liturgy he should communicate to the faithful a sense of the living presence of Christ.”

81a - “[In the sacristy the vestments for the priest and ministers are to be prepared according to the various forms of celebration:] for the priest: alb, stole, and chasuble.”

298 - “The vestment common to ministers of every rank is the alb, tied at the waist with a cincture, unless it is made to fit without a cincture. An amice should be put on first if the alb does not completely cover the street clothing at the neck. A surplice may not be substituted for the alb when the chasuble or dalmatic is to be worn or when a stole is used instead of the chasuble or dalmatic.”

299 - “Unless otherwise indicated, the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole, is the vestment proper to the priest celebrant at Mass and other rites immediately connected with Mass.” (The original 1969 GIRM did not have the words in bold; they were added in the 1970 GIRM.)

161 - “In the sacristy or other suitable place, the concelebrants put on the vestments usual for individual celebrants. For a good reason, however, as when there are more concelebrants than vestments, the concelebrants may omit the chasuble and simply wear the stole over the alb; but the principal celebrant always wears the chasuble.”

Correct japhy, but what I was puzzled about is why any priest would follow an ambiguity in the 1969 GIRM which was in effect for barely a year and is printed nowhere in the liturgical books** instead of a consistent and clear instruction in the GIRM , added in to prevent people leaving off the stole completely, and printed in front of all sacramentaries and in liturgical books and materials for near 40 years.

** and copies of the 1969 text are not easy to find - DOL lists variations in the footnotes but I’m don’t recall whether it does this consistently for every change or only the major ones

Your guess is as good as mine. I’m curious if this chasuble-alb concession is still legit.

I flipped through past issues of the Jurist, according to which the chasuble-alb concession was granted in 1977 to the USA, according to the norms of the document you posted earlier (i.e.concelebration, special groups, etc.). Nothing is mentioned after that, though apparently it was legitimate as late as 2005, so the concession is probably still valid.

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