The rules regarding wearing an overstole with a chasuble - anyone know them?

After seeing this picture it seems silly that folks think it is wrong to wear an OVERstole on top of the chasuble.

Anyone know where the official and documented rules are regarding this SPECIFIC item?


:gopray: :gopray: :gopray:

:knight1: :knight1: :knight1: :knight2:

From the NCCB website:

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, paragraph 299 describes “the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole” as the proper vestment for the priest at Mass. Paragraph 209 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal notes: “In the vesting room or other suitable place, the concelebrants put on the sacred vestments they customarily wear when celebrating Mass individually. Should, however, a good reason arise, (e.g., a large number of concelebrants or a lack of vestments), concelebrants other than the principal celebrant may omit the chasuble and simply wear the stole over the alb.” The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is the Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum notes: “… Out of necessity the concelebrants other than the principal celebrant may even put on white chasubles. For the rest, the norms of the liturgical books are to be observed.” (124) This same Instruction notes " the abuse is reprobated whereby the sacred ministers celebrate Holy Mass or other Rites without sacred vestments or with only a stole over the monastic cowl or the common habit of religious or ordinary clothes, contrary to the prescriptions of the liturgical books, even when there is only one minister participating.

The individual in the photo does not know the GIRM?

:gopray: :gopray: :gopray: :knight2:
:knight1: :knight1: :knight1:

He doesn’t know the GIRM? Guess what. These are pictures of Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, of the Holy See. :smiley:

I’m betting there is some stipulation on when it is okay to wear the stole over the chasuble beyond that cited in the GIRM.

Windmill quoted the GIRM as well as Redemptionis Sacramentum. Allow me to provide some further details.

The proper vestments of a priest are to be worn in this order: amice, alb, cincture, stole, chasuble. The amice can be omitted if the alb covers up the clothing around the neck, and the cincture can be omitted if the form of the alb does not necessitate one. This is from GIRM:
119. In the sacristy, the sacred vestments (cf. below, nos. 337-341) for the priest … are to be prepared according to the various forms of celebration: … the alb, the stole, and the chasuble.] …
All who wear an alb should use a cincture and an amice unless, due to the form of the alb, they are not needed.

  1. The sacred garment common to 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 put on. …

  2. 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.
    There are prayers said as each vestment is put on.

There is no such thing as an “overstole”. There are no “official and documented rules” regarding its use because it does not exist and is not permitted by the Catholic Church.

The picture is an unfortunate one. The individual in it is Francis Cardinal Arinze, prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the dicastery which put forth Redemptionis Sacramentum which outlines and explains certain things to be observed and to be avoided concerning the Most Holy Eucharist. You’d think he’d know how to dress himself. :wink: The Cardinal made a mistake.

That being said, I have no idea what the age of the photo is. I can provide you with several other photos that show the good Cardinal properly attired.

The pictures show was has been lurking in the back of my mind – overstoles used with PLAIN chasuble - stole goes on top, decorated chasuble with stole - stole is underneath.

The photo was from January 2005. Cardinal Arinze signed Redemptionis Sacramentum on 25 March 2004.

Clearly this defender of the faith has not “made a mistake”. There has to be some type of exception allowed for wearing the stole outside the chasuble (and yes there are far more pictures of him wearing it the “right” way vice the one I posted).

There is no such prescription. No matter how ornate or plain the chasuble, the stole always goes beneath it.

Yet that seems to be exactly the behavior he is demonstrating.

It is hard to imagine someone would LET him make a public appearance committing such a mistake so there is something somewhere that allows it.

Let me come to the good Cardinal’s defence by making parallels to John Paul II. The late Pontiff never permitted wearing the stole over the chasuble, but occassionally found himself vising a Church where people would become very upset if an overstole was not worn. Not wanting to cause division, the shrewd Pontiff wore two stoles: one under his chasuble, and one over. Maybe this is what Arinze is doing here.

Also, I never understood why priests don’t cross their stole and fasten it in place with the cincture as is done in the 1962 missal. Previously, only a Bishop could let his stole “hang”. Anybody know why there was a rubrical change?

I don’t know the reason for the change, but according to Wikipedia, the stole was only worn crossed at certain times:During the period of the Tridentine Mass, priests who were not bishops crossed the stole over the breast (as pictured below), but only at Mass or at other functions at which a chasuble or cope was worn. It is now worn hanging straight down (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 340) at all times.

The Cardinal made a public mistake. It may be as Pious Mat suggested, that he was wearing two stoles so as not to upset the locals. (Sad, I know.) Suffice to say, the Cardinal does not advocate this behavior.

I submit this for your consideration. When a priest vests with an alb, stole (under the chasuble), chasuble, and overstole, he is not actually committing an abuse or error. The overstole is part of the chasuble, and therefore is not an abuse. It is simply part of the decorations and design of the chasuble itself.

It does not look like that from the pictures

Has the Cardinal made any kind of statement similar to JPII’s on the issue?

Just to let you know…

The decision to allow this practice or not is made by the bishop in each individual diocese.

I AM NOT SAYING that I agree with this habit…just letting you know what currently occurs.

Some bishops allow it…some don’t.

How many other (non-papal) vestments do you know of that come in two discrete parts that must be put on separately? The overstole is just an innovation that will hopefully die a quick death as the Church returns to its senses.

I maintain that the overstole is a decorative extention of the chasuble, and thus is not abuse so long as the priest is wearing a proper stole beneath the chasuble. I don’t think the number of “pieces” is a valid argument to dictate the licity of the practice.

And yet, he modeled it?

For the love of God, the man has made a mistake. I’m sure, looking back, he admits and it avoids it in the future.

The problem is that local parishes can be so pushy with their custom vestments made just for a particular occasion.

What if it wasn’t a mistake but a deliberate choice?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit