It Would Be A Blue Advent Without Them

I notice in the rush to condemn liturgical blue, the partially-closed cafeteria has confused Advent with Christmas. As they take aim with their anti-blue shotguns, I hope they don’t go off shooting at any Sarumites, Lutherans, Episcopalians, or others in the picture. You’d think three-plus weeks of Advent is a big enough barn to hit.

Or not.

As any colorist knows, purple is 50% blue, give or take. The blue is there already, my friends. Half-empty or half-full, you can’t deny it.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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10 Responses to It Would Be A Blue Advent Without Them

  1. Rob F. says:

    Purple is a mix of blue and red. But of course, purple is not a liturgical color in the Roman rite any more than blue is. Violet is the color associated with the Advent season these days. Last time I checked, violet is 0% blue (except on RGB computer monitors and therefore, of course, on blogs :)

  2. Todd says:

    Thanks for posting Rob. Actually, when I did a bit of research, violet is included in the spectrum of purple. According to a painter’s coloring, is 2/3 blue, 1/3 red.

    The deciding factor isn’t RGB, but the dyes used in the vestments themselves.

  3. Liam says:

    And the fabrics and weave all factor in. But Catholic parishes using blue vestments have wasted money that could go to the poor. So they should sell them and give the proceeds to the poor. How’s that for a progressive take on the issue?

  4. Todd says:

    I have to say I’ve never used or encountered blue vestments for Advent. Once for a Marian feast at a university run by Marists, though.

    More to the point in my experience is the use of blue in decorating colors in the church, usually in concert with violet, purple, or rose. Even places that used a lot of blue, it was never exclusive–and I run in some pretty progressive circles.

    More usually, I’ve encountered the occasional person who seems to think there’s some kind of anathema against blue–and they get rather intense about it, not realizing we’re talking vestment color, not decoration, and we’re not talking about redoing Michaelangelo’s blue sky on the Sistine ceiling.

    My sense of it is that we have more hot air coming from the conservatives on this one.

  5. My sense of it is that we have more hot air coming from the conservatives on this one.

    [breathes shallowly]

  6. However much blue contributes to purple or violet, blue itself is NOT the liturgical color of the Advent or Christmas seasons. See para. 346 of the General Instruction of the Missal:

    “Violet or purple is used in Advent and of Lent. It may also be worn in Offices and Masses for the Dead (cf. below) . . .

    “Rose may be used, where it is the practice, on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and on Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent).

    “On more solemn days, sacred vestments may be used that are festive, that is, more precious, even if not of the color of the day.”

    What does “solemn days” mean? Probably not the Advent season itself. If by “precious,” the Instruction means fancier and more opulent (think the material in the vestments you see at the EWTN Mass), then perhaps we could let blue slide, but only then.

    Bobby Vinton says, “He wore Blue Vestments/Instead of violet or purple.”

  7. In the next to last parargraph of the above, I’m referring to Dec. 25 itself as the solemn day.

    Also, the Instruction says of the Christmas season, “White is used in the Offices and Masses during the Easter and Christmas seasons.”

  8. Liam says:

    Cmdr Craig

    The other permissible color that can displace the otherwise usual color is not blue, but gold.

    Cloth of silver, however, is reserved for days where the vestments are white. It’s da bomb, btw – more splendid than gold, beause some designs (at least one I’ve seen) allow it to take on an almost opalescent quality because silver reflects all the colors around it as it has no color itself, in a way.

  9. Dustin says:

    Before this year, I wasn’t aware this was even an issue. I’d never even seen a blue chasuble before, nor heard that there were people who’d wax apoplectic should such vesture appear. Is this really an issue? Anywhere? Regularly, not isolatedly or intermittently?

    Also, I find that many such blogs become a delight to peruse, if everything is read ironically. Try reading “The Road Not Taken” out loud, in a heavily sarcastic voice.

  10. Rob F. says:

    The precious vestments mentioned in the IGMR, it seems to me, are a reference to the old cloth-of-silver and cloth-of-gold. Literally Precious. In the old days, cloth-of-gold was limited as a substitute for white, red, or green, and cloth-of-silver was limited to substituting for white. (Violet, Rose, and Black were not able to be displaced by precious metals.) Note that this was not a license to use any old gold-colored or silver-colored vestment, but only vestments made of precious metals.

    The new rubrics seem to allow these precious metals to substitute for any color, but only on a solemnity. The Sundays of Advent are ranked as solemnities, so I think they can be used on them.

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