Thursday, December 04, 2008

Monks and Religious Vesture‏

I received a rather humourous email from a seminarian friend some days ago, which I thought my readers (especially those familiar with the vestments of the Roman rite) might enjoy:

"I was just reading this book entitled Vestments and Vesture by Dom. E. Roulin OSB, a monk of Ampleforth Abbey. Unfortunately, I was reading this in the library during the period of Grand Silence. I say 'unfortunately' because in the middle of my reading I would interrupt myself with suppressed snorts of laughter, attracting curious glances as if enquiring what one could possibly find so amusing in such a seriously titled book.

Among other things, the book discusses lace. Dom Roulin's position is that lace is nothing more than Renaissance worldliness and frivolity to be reserved to domestic articles such as 'tablecloths, curtains and dresses'.

He goes on to mention that some priests have lace on their albs from the chest down with the soutane showing through, so much so that it is no longer an alba but a nigra. Any apparels or ornamentation should be strictly reserved to the skirt of the alb.

He goes on to mention surplices and how St Charles Borromeo required that they go past the knee. But I digress, I am supposed to mention what was so funny about the book."

In the centre stands Don Saturnino, who is wearing a baroque chasuble and lace alb. Flanking him are Fr Jim Tucker and another priest in the matching dalmatics. Easter Sunday in Macchia di Giarre, Sicily.
(Credit and more photos: Dappled Photos)

"Well, every so often, there would be pictures of a Roman Chasuble decorated in the Baroque fashion - what some of us would even say is beautiful. Underneath these pictures would be a clinical and snobby caption like 'This is an example of a chasuble decorated in a most vulgar and ostentatious manner; is suitable only for domestic curtains', 'observe the rubbishy design', or 'a flowered frontal - puerile work'.

The 2 pictures that produced the loudest snorts of laughter was a picture of some stoles in various designs. The first was of a Baroque stole (Fig. 120) in the fishtail ending and another with a trapezium ending (Fig. 123). Fig. 120 caption, Horrible shape and mincing ornament. A good stole should never end in a spade. Fig 123 caption, Stole in the new style; more suitable for a necktie.

The other picture was a drawing of a prelate in one of those super tall mitres (which I am rather fond of, to be honest). The caption read, A pretentious construction, badly shaped and much over-decorated. The face is not a portrait.

There you go! Hopefully this provided you at least 5 minutes of amusement."

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Blogger Francis said...

This seminarian sounds like an entertaining character. At the very least, you should publish his other letters (assuming they are just as funny). Thanks for the laugh!

Fri Dec 05, 01:28:00 am 2008  

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