Why someone holds the priest "cape" on the Tridentine Mass?


Sorry to refer to that piece of clothing as cape but I really don’t know what is called (please don’t kill me :nope:)

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:



It’s called a chasuble, and symbolizes charity and the yoke of Christ. At a Latin Mass today it’s typically a Roman chasuble, which is sleeveless and looks more like a huge vest than a cape. (At a typical Novus Ordo / ordinary form Mass, at least in the U.S., the chasuble is usually cone-shaped, so it looks more like a cape, except that it has no opening in front.)

Lifting the chasuble at the consecration goes back to unwieldy chasubles made of heavier material and/or covering more of the arms. Lifting it would help the priest raise his arms. Today most chasubles are lighter and/or easier to move around in, so the lifting is mostly a matter of ritual and liturgical tradition (though I could see it serving a practical purpose with a cone-shaped chasuble).

There’s something similar we still do also for *practical *reasons. For the asperges / vidi aquam (sprinkling rite) before a Sunday Mass, the priest dons a cope (looks like a cape), and when he walks around and sprinkles everyone using the aspergillum, the emcee follows him around and holds up his sleeve to make the sprinkling easier.

Similarly, during the incensation at a Sung or Solemn Mass, the emcee will hold up the priest’s sleeve to make it easier to swing the thurible around, and to prevent problems.


Another vestment, which looks even more like a cape but is called a cope, is worn for certain liturgical actions outside of Mass, primarily Eucharistic exposition and benediction. When the priest wearing the cope is incensing the altar or the Holy Eucharist, it is customary for an altar server or deacon to lift the edge of the cope to allow the priest’s arm to move freely with the thurible.


'Cause sometimes they’re heavy. That is the historical reason. Then with the standardization of the liturgy over time both formally and informally, it became a standardized aspect of Mass. Plus it looks nice, which is an added bonus. =p


Don’t worry, I won’t kill you. I’ll just have my hitman do it.:D…

It’s called a chasuble. In the picture you have shown, he is wearing a Roman chasuble. Some traditional priests still wear Roman chasubles.

During a Tridentine Mass, the deacon (if it’s a High Mass) raises the priest’s chasuble. The altar server does it if it’s a Low Mass. The chasuble represents the Yoke of Christ and charity. By lifting it, you are symbolizing that the Yoke of Christ and charity is open to everyone, not just clergy. I don’t believe the raising of the chasuble is required in a Low Mass, through it is often done. Below is a link if you want to know more about it.

God bless. :smiley: :blessyou:

P.S. I love the Tridentine Mass!


I’ve seen this done during Asperges, too.


Though I will point out that at least in the EF Masses I have participated in, there is no lifting of the chasuble.



Amice - over the shoulders

Alb - over the Amice, full body

Cincture - Rope belt around the waist

Maniple - worn over left forearm

Stole - worn over the shoulders and alb, crossed in front at the chest

Chasuble - Outer vestment, like a cape in back, an apron in front, draped over the shoulders, sleeveless and ornate with the day's appropriate liturgical color.


Thank you for the link. Very informative.


I'll provide an analogy. If you're wearing a suit jacket or a large coat, the fabric on the shoulders is heavy enough, and the arms are cut in such a way that it can be difficult to lift your arms over your head.

Many older chasubles have the same sort of restriction of movement. Despite this, the priest is required to elevate the host. To make it possible with the restrictive garment, the garment was lifted.

With newer styles of chasubles and newer, lighter fabrics, this is still done for the purpose of ceremony.


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