Redemptionis Sacramentum 127

More on colors:

[127.] A special faculty is given in the liturgical books for using sacred vestments that are festive or more noble on more solemn occasions, even if they are not of the color of the day.[Cf. Missale Romanum, Institutio Generalis, n. 346g] However, this faculty, which is specifically intended in reference to vestments made many years ago, with a view to preserving the Church’s patrimony, is improperly extended to innovations by which forms and colors are adopted according to the inclination of private individuals, with disregard for traditional practice, while the real sense of this norm is lost to the detriment of the tradition. On the occasion of a feastday, sacred vestments of a gold or silver color can be substituted as appropriate for others of various colors, but not for purple or black.

Regarding more festive, noble, or solemn liturgies and the faculty for substituting out a color for feast days, the CDWDS is pulling their own interpretation or wish for this to be a nod to traditional vestments. This is the first instance I’ve seen this in print.

I don’t see a grave danger, as nearly every parish lacks the resources for any number of extra vestments. Gift vestments for clergy, however: these might present a challenge.

I think the exemption of substituting for purple or black is well-taken. Gray might have been a thought, though. On the whole, I would think that white is the prime candidate for substitution, assuming the special vestment presents an appropriate festivity.

Regarding gold and silver: they make more sense as highlights to vestments rather than primary colors. I’m informed that silver is a representation of wisdom in iconography. Rather than choose gold or silver as a matter of personal taste, it would seem appropriate to utilize silver for apostles and doctors, and reserve gold for feasts of the Lord.

That leaves the other shades: orange, yellow, and blue. A community needs consistency, and I don’t see a need to indulge too widely in rainbow colors. I do see yellow passing for gold quite a bit. Blue, despite backlash against it, really is a fine color for Advent. But it must be a deep and serious blue, not a BVM blue.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to Redemptionis Sacramentum 127

  1. Liam says:

    X-posting a prior discussion of the relevant binding legislation on colors and substitutions:

    https://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/girm-345-347-colors-of-vestments/

    I’ve never gotten the idea of blue for Advent. The royal color in the Mediterranean littoral was purple, not blue, because it cost a fortune. Bluish-violet was traditional considered more deeply penitential (I suspect because it looked blacker) than purplish-violet. FWIW.

    • Liam says:

      Deep trivia: The idea of deep royal blue is a “royal” vestment color is relatively modern, except in France because of the French royal house (but white was even more traditional). The blue that was used for threads of a tallit per the Book of Numbers was not a royal blue but produced from an ink sac of a now extinct fish and there is debate about whether it was indigo-ish or more purplish (fading in sunlight to a duller hue).FWIW, modern “Sarum” blue is also something of a misunderstanding of historical dye practice, it seems, and was never a general custom of the Roman rite.

      There is a traditional usage of blue for divinity and the heavens (but not royalty as such): brilliant cerulean, often evoked in medium-deep tones by lapis. Definitely not the kind of blue for Advent.

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