Why do many priests refuse to wear chasuble?

In my previous parish, the priest only wore chasuble on Sundays and feast days. I supposed he thought that the chasuble was too flashy to use for ordinary weekday Masses, and that it was a way to indicate solemnity. I never asked him about it, however.

In my current parish, there are four Franciscan priests, and of them only the parish priest uses chasuble - and only when he is the main celebrant on Sundays and feast days. The others never wear chasuble at all. What could be the reasons for this? That it is too warm to wear both Franciscan habit and chasuble? That not wearing a flashy chasuble better reflects the poverty of Franciscans?

Whatever the reasons may be, I always become somewhat let down when priests do not wear chasuble at Mass. A beautiful chasuble really helps to express the solemnity and sacredness of the Mass. Who ever said that it was optional?

I will sometimes attend Mass at the St. John Priory, staffed by the Brothers of St. John. Even though they have their habits, they will wear the chasuble, even the dalmatic (for the lone deacon).

Redemptionis Sacramentum notes that:

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.

[124.] A faculty is given in the Roman Missal for the Priest concelebrants at Mass other than the principal concelebrant (who should always put on a chasuble of the prescribed color), for a just reason such as a large number of concelebrants or a lack of vestments, to omit “the chasuble, using the stole over the alb”.214 Where a need of this kind can be foreseen, however, provision should be made for it insofar as possible. 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.

At my old parish in Austin, the religious order priests seemed to have been allergic to the chasuble for daily Mass. They would celebrate Mass in their alb and stole and not wear the chasuble at all. Of course, this was in the late 1980s, early 1990s. Hopefully, that changed and they are now wearing the chasuble.

I have seen 1 principal priestly celebrant not wear the chasuble exactly 1 time. It was 107 inside of the church. That said from RS:

[RS 126.] 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. In order that such abuses be corrected as quickly as possible, Ordinaries should take care that in all churches and oratories subject to their jurisdiction there is present an adequate supply of liturgical vestments made in accordance with the norms.

I was about to say I’ve been to many a daily Mass and cannot recall a single occasion where chasuble was not worn.

Now in opposite to you:

When I was the Philippines, only a number of priests wore chasubles regularly (speaking from personal experience). Many usually only wear them in special occasions, preferring to wear the stole above that transparent sheet instead (a chasu-alb?). A lot of deacons I saw did not even wear a dalmatic. I’ve got to say, that’s the very first liturgical abuse that I’ve been exposed to.

In my parish, the Priests that service the parish, have NEVER worn the chasuble in all the time that I have attended. At a nearby parish, they do wear them.

I’ve often seen deacons without dalmatics, but the only times I’ve seen mass with celebrant sans chasuble were when hiking. Fr. Dan said mass in alb and stole, and it was the old military style travel stole at that, and had dispensation from the bishop to do so when hiking. (And explained that to us who were hiking with him before we left!) He also had an antimension* for use as a portable altar.

The hikes were also retreats.

Now I’ve seen several services done in alb and stole, without chasuble, but they were not the Mass.

But also, be aware that some of the other Roman Church useages besides the Roman Mass have other vestment rubrics.

Also, be aware that those vested but not concelebrating may vest “in choir” in Cassock and Surplice, or in Alb and Stole. They may perform some liturgical functions, even, when so vested. MHC, Master of Ceremonies, distributing of ashes, blessing of throats…

The Dominicans often had priests in choir assist with communion; they vested in alb and stole, or even habit and stole, but did not come to the altar during the consecration when so vested; they stood by the foot of the dais, and waited until just before communion to join the celebrant at the altar, and were handed the sacred vessels by the celebrant.

Also, the Syriac Rite Catholic Churches may use a cope or a chasuble. The latter is a latinization. Several of the Syriac churches refer to their divine worship service as the Mass when speaking in English, including the Chaldean and Maronite Catholic Churches. I doubt it is what the OP was encountering, but being aware of it may reduce future confusion as these churches de-laitinize and also become more evident due to media and internet presence.

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  • the Antimension is a corporal with relics sewn in, and signed authorization from the bishop to be used as an altar, usually written directly upon it. It is the norm for Byzantine use; for Roman Church use, it requires a dispensation and is only used for “good cause”… mostly by military chaplains. When used for the Latin use, another corporal is used on top of it, as if it were the altar stone itself.

There’s a parish I go to evening Mass–the priest NEVER wears a chasuble , but only a stole over his alb, which is over his jeans and sneakers and turtle neck. I’m in the US and this priest is from Poland. Same priest that the first time I went to Mass at that parish, I walked out after Mass and smack into his cigarette smoke outside the front door. I would never have even recognized him as a priest if I’d seen him out casually not knowing already whom he was.

That being said, I’m grateful to this very same priest for having evening Mass and I make sure I always include this priest in my prayers.

Glad

The alb (not monastic habit), stole, and chasuble-over-stole, are all required for the licit celebration of Mass.

Yes, there can be some common-sense exceptions like we’ve already seen mentioned here (hiking, broken air conditioning, military, prisons, etc.) But under normal circumstances the chasuble is required and not in any way optional.

I’ve never seen this before

With the heat and humidity in the Philippines, they are probably trying to avoid heat stroke.

A previous Pastor at my parish would never wear a chasuble. He was trying to break down the distinction between the priesthood and the laity. He also was doing many other liturgical abuses, including inviting Protestants to partake of Holy Communion with us.

One previous pastor in my home parish had trouble dealing with the summer heat, so he brought out from the sacristy a hundred-year-old Roman chasuble, or “fiddleback,” for use on the hottest days. These are considerably less bulky than the more common Gothic chasubles worn today, and are so-called because of the violin-like shape of the portion which, strangely, is worn on the front. After many years of disinterest, Roman chasubles are now being sold again (as are birettas, maniples, and very useful amices) and work nicely in hot locales.

Personally, I’m not a fan of more apron-like fiddleback chasubles (I prefer the fuller of oldcasula**planeta, “gothic” chasubles, and “Borromean” chasubles), even so it would most definitely be useful in hot climates, as long as they are not too stiff and thick IMHO.

At our parish, all but one of the priests wear chasuables for all masses. The one who opts out of it, wears only an alb with stole.

Our deacons must provide their own vestments which include stoles. To expect them to purchase a dalmatic that matches the already existing chasuables would have to be specially made as the vestments have been here for years and are not easily purchased. And if they could be specially made, it would be cost prohibitive for the deacons of our parish. As it is, the typical deacon stole costs anywhere from $75 to $200. And they must have them in all the liturgical colors. That’s alot of money for men who are not employees of the parish. That comes out of their own family budgets.

I have never seen a Mass where a priest did not wear the chasuble. If I belonged to a parish where the priest did not wear a chasuble, I would change parishes immediately. I want a priest who is not afraid to be a priest.

RS 126 only states that

“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.”

It doesn’t say anything explicitly about the abuse of just wearing alb and stole. Could we interpret this in the way that it’s not really that big of a deal and that confronting the priest about it would do more harm than good?

Look at what precedes it:

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.

Therefore, this section is very explicit about what should be worn for the Mass by the celebrant.

Alb and Stole is choir dress for deacons and priests. Cassock and Surplice is another option for choir dress for both.

Alb, stole and dalmatic is proper vesting for deacons
Alb, stole, and chasuble is proper vesting for priests.

Unless, of course, they are not of the Roman Church.

Several points.
In mission countries, poor countries, where the parish simply does not have the financial ability to have all the vestments in all the colors, and in tropical countries, local bishops sometime permit omitting of the chasuble. I thought it strange in a poor country I visited, the priest was fully vested, and all the ushers were wearing deacon’s stoles.
However, in a number of US parishes where I have lived, priests did celebrate Mass in alb and stole. In one of theses parishes, the pastor announced that a remodeling fund was in serious need of a cah infusion. He was not wearing a chasuble and used a brandy snifter as a chalice.
The remodeling plan was to construct a separate building for the tabernacle and to move the altar to the side of the dais, behind the ambo.
I don’t know if my letter suggesting it would be less costly to leave the sanctuary “as is” and to use some of the money already in the bank to purchase needed vestments, a real chalice, and copies of the RS and GIRM. Vestments are back, and the fancy architect’s plans have disappeared.:smiley:

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