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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Blue Vestments. Evil Wimmin Porters. Chaucer! Rabelais! Balzac!

Fr. Z. of What does the Prayer Really Say has an interesting "annual rant" (his words) about the use of the color blue for Advent in some Latin Rite churches. Not to focus so much on the blue vestment angle here, but Father Z. made this remark in the body of his "rant:"

"However, if blue is ever approved I will probably resent the fact that widespread abuse led to that approval! That how the liberals got Communion in the hand and altar girls and the domination of the vernacular over Latin, etc., etc., etc."


What I'd like to know from Fr. Z. (and others so like-minded) is when he's going to go on a tear re: those evil wimmen acting as porters? When exactly did the pope sign off on this with the right jot and tittle? They're helping to collect and count the money and sometimes lock up the church -- clearly they're getting ideas above their stations.

If altar girls are going to be railed against, to be consistent, why not attack the moms who serve as "stealth porters?" Who do these wimmen think they are? Oh, sure, TODAY they say they only want to help count the money -- just you watch, before anyone can blink they'll be taking a cut from the collection and absconding with Father's car off to some Protestant church basement jumble, Haddassah Bridge Tournament, or Indian casino.

Father can't be seen taking the bus to his Wednesday afternoon game with his golf bag in tow. What will his confreres say when he finally shows up at the links? "Hah---there ya go, Charlie -- I see your wimmin porters made off with the Ford Explorer again... yer hen-pecked over there in St. Elijah's." Imagine the humiliation! They'll stick him with buying a round at the 19th hole for sure. "Dude, it's not like you're DRIVING or something...."

The wimmen will be appropriating the key to the Knights of Columbus liquor cabinet, and drinking up all Rum and Coke. And we all know how Old Man Pruet gets when the sauce runs out. He'll have a stroke if he finds out those wimmin got into it. They oughtta stick to those female drinks like mai-tais anyway.

Look out for their sons too....I bet they rebuckle their knickerbockers BELOW the knee. Rebels! Everyone of them!



Phil said...

LOL! You go, girl! (Do I sound like Beonce, or what!?)

I like to consider myself to be on the more 'traddie' side of the Church, but I can't really get excited about ladies in the sanctuary.

The arguments about women wanting to become priests simply because they serve on the sanctuary, and all that, seem a bit over-simplified and assume that women, on the whole, are dumb - which is, itself, a dumb thesis. I'm sorry that Fr Z is promoting this cause when there are far more rotten "abuses" out there.

As for blue vestments... In England, where many Anglican cathedrals and churches follow the Sarum usage, you'll find some exquisite blue vestments in use during Advent - most notably in Westminster Abbey.

gemoftheocean said...

Thanks Philip! I know. It really should be an "all or none." A little common sense all around is something to aim for. A 10 year old girl serving Mass doesn't exactly indicate that she will be wanting to do a "Black Mass" any time soon! I never see the guys get overly excited if the women vacuum the sanctuary, after all.

Probably back in 900AD hubby got sick and said to wifey. "Dear, I've got walking pneumonia, I'm sure it really wouldn't be a big deal if you go over and ring the bell for the Angelus."

I never thought a lot about the type of Masses said before Trent. And a while back Fr. Nova posted re: his film cameo and the use of the Sarum Mass, which I find fascinating. I'm going to have to read up on that bit more. Hadn't really thought much about what Mass was like in Thomas More's day. I wonder if there was a cadre of Mass goers "why do we have this new Tridentine Rite, why isn't the Sarum rite good enough any more -- bring back the Sarum Mass!"

There's always room for a little variation here and there, it's not something I'd be inclined to write Rome about - now an orange chasuble with a pentagram might be one thing

In the eastern rites, those radicals who never turned versus populam, they seem to do quite well with blue as a liturgical color. Ya gotta know when to pick your battles. [Mind I'm not pushing for blue for advent - I like purple as it is.]

I try to be very orthodox on the important things - like valid sacraments, etc. -- but on the left thumb over right thumb stuff, while there's a sense of what's "right" or not, people can get a little...well, anal.

You know the type. The paperclip jar HAS to be to the left of the stapler, otherwise they start hyperventilating. I like to wait until they leave the office and then move it. If you're really good you can drive them over the edge. "And then there was the strawberry incident." [See The Caine Mutiny.]

Adrienne said...

I find some of Father Z's rants to be just that - rants. When you appear to spend every waking moment looking for something bad you'll be sure to find it.

The fact that he is so involved with the Wanderer, which is slightly "off the page" some of the time, speaks volumes.

gemoftheocean said...

Adrienne. Can't agree with you more. There's a great deal to be said for the Via Media.

You don't need to plug an ant with a howitzer. Save it for the big stuff. There's more than one way to skin a cat. Feel free to drop me a line sometime. My email's on my profile.

swissmiss said...

I'm just ignorant. I never knew there was this blue chasuble debate...but, then again, I attend a conservative church and would bet no blue vestment ever saw the light of day during Advent. It was (and still kinda sorta is) a German parish, so "rules are rules" has always been the norm.
And, one little tidbit. It's the parish where the Wanderer got started (in German) by the Matt family way back at the dawn of time. We still have copies of the Wanderer on the tables in the entryway that you can get at each Mass. My complaint about the Wanderer, a bit OT here, is that it needs a good editor. My attention span last about a paragraph, but the articles in the Wanderer go on for pages. And, just when you thought you were to the end of the article, it's continued, again, on another page. I read the Q&A section and Joe Sobran, but that's about all my brain can stand. Same is true of the New Oxford Review. If you can't say it succinctly, get an editor!!!!

gemoftheocean said...

No "Advent blue" around my parish either... But I think it's throwing a little too much hissy to have one over a BVM mass. Often around here a priest might do a Sat. a.m. Mass in honor of BVM. In our case the chasuble is predominately white, but the "trim?" for the traditionally shaped y-style cross is a dark blue velvet - one of the vestments has similar and also an Our Lady of Guadalupe on the back. They're very high quality and very nice. The Eastern Rites aren't as fussy, though about color in a sense that they are more concerned with light/dark. An all blue vestment can be used. I don't think a little cross pollination hurts. The Spaniards and Austrians also have "blue" indults. I think most Catholics do associate "Blue" with the BVM. We're used to seeing it on her sashes, etc in art. I wouldn't care to see blue on an advent Sunday. But I wouldn't faint if this Sat. the priest were to wear all blue.


ArchAngel's Advocate said...

Some parishes I've been to use a lighter (semi-lavendar) shade of violet for Advent, and a darker royla-blue shade of violet for Lent. Kind of a "follow the rules but keep the wiggle-room available"

gemoftheocean said...

I wouldn't go quite lavendar. It's just so, well, lavendar -- but I think it's not a bad thing to go with the lighter violet for Advent and save the darker purple for Lent. That to me makes sense.


Phil said...

This video ( has pictures of a blue altar frontal (or, as good old Fr Z would probably prefer it be called, an antependium) and blue copes, from Diana, Princess of Wales' funeral in Westminster Abbey. Churches of the 'Royal Peculiar', such as the abbey, usually follow the Sarum colour scheme and so use an unbleached linen for Lent (called a Lenten array), which is also used to cover altar pieces and other ornate tiddly-bits. I dare say that if blue's not your thing, then unbleached linen is even worse!

Picture of Westminster Abbey's high altar in blue ( and with Lenten Array (

a thorn in the pew said...

I wonder when and where the blue snuck in? I know from my days in college, blue and violet where one in the same during the earlier periods of fashion history. The dye lots were always iffy because they used beets and berries and sometimes plants. Blues, reds and purples were only associated with royalty because the poorer class could not afford the extensive dyes that it took. Not to get off the point but that is when the blue/indigo/purple garment issue started...

gemoftheocean said...

Philip, thanks for the links, but can ou possibly retry a repost on them they were truncated and it would be neat to see them.

Thorn: Yes, this whole blue/purple business is interesting. I had occasion to take a Costume History course and found it fascinating. Early on we also talked about they dye/color process too. As I recall one of the trickiest to this day is to get a true "black" -- most will have a hue to it, sometimes it's a greenish black, blueish or even reddish cast. IT becomes evident after a black begins to fade. And you're dead on about blue/purple being very expensive -- the blue lapis azuli[?] is not offen found in real life, and was used to creat the blue dye. If memory serves that royal reddish purple was from some sort of crustacean shell. I'd have to look it up. But again, very costly. Same thing with paint dyes.

I can't wait to get a chance to read up more about the Sarum Mass, etc. A while back Fr. "Justin" at Nova et Vetera had an article on the Sarum Mass that was really interesting.

Phil said...

Links still work, maybe one of the commas is creeping in?

Here they are again, but without those darn commas!!

As we're on the subject of Sarum, you might be interested in this from YouTube:

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