Thursday 3 January 2013

Papal Mass Vestments

I noticed at Mass on January 1st in St Peter's that, while as is now usual, there are very few concelebrants, the Cardinals who were concelebrating were all wearing matching lace albs and a set of Roman chasubles as well as pontifical dalmatics.  I'm not sure if this has been seen before but it is certainly one of the ongoing changes showing a greater respect for what is actually laid down in the liturgical guidelines and rules.  It would be great to see the concept of  not forcing everyone into concelebrating every time there is a Mass becoming more widespread as well as the concept of a dignified and harmonised liturgical dress as well as a greater respect for the liturgical traditions laid down by the Church.

I still get some very strange reactions if I ask to attend OF Mass in choir dress instead of concelebrating.  So rare is the occurance that it is hardly ever thought of  to provide somewhere to kneel; it is usually presumed that I want to receive Holy Communion, whether I do or don't and sometimes the chalice is brought over, even if no-one apart from the concelebrating priests are receiving under both kinds.  All this happens because of ignorance of how to treat a priest in choir - due to the fact that it now happens so infrequently - although I have noticed that it is on the increase over recent years.

I'm not a great fan of pushing everyone into the concelebrating mode at every Mass where there is more than one priest.  I wonder just how many Masses can be said at once - and there are many Masses being said at he same time because a stipend can be taken for each concelebrating priest.  If I lose concentration among a hundred concelebrants and miss out some of the words of consecration, have I offered Mass?  If one of the concelebrants gets ahead of himself and says the words of consecration before the concelebrant are the species then changed - and if so, what are all the other priests doing two or three seconds later?

For the last few years the Holy Father has worn a splendid cope for Vespers & Benediction on New Year's Eve which bears the coat of arms of Blessed Pope John XXIII, and a precious mitre made for Pope Benedict XV, so a "green" re-cycling" of older vestments rather than spending money on new ones, which - by chance - was the theme of my previous post!  So glad when the Holy Father takes my advice - sound as it always is!
The beautiful morse, however, was a gift from Montecassino a few years ago. 

The Holy Father on New Year's Eve.

Pope Benedict wearing pontificals new & old!

Interestingly, the beautiful cope is actually the Papal Mantum of Blessed John XXIII which has been cut down, as can be seen in these photos of Venerable Paul VI and Pope Benedict XVI.

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