27 June 2009


It is the custom in Anglican Catholic churches, when the priest or ministers are sitting at the sedilia during readings or singing, for the priest to turn back the foot of the chasuble on his lap so that he then rests the palms of his hands on the lining, and not on the fabric, of the chasuble. Deacon and Subdeacon do the same with dalmatic and tunicle. Thus sweat (or, at the blessing of incense before the Gospel, incense or charcoal) cannot not mark the vestment. My recollection is that this goes back to preconciliar custom; evidence is available in the ancient marks of two sweaty hands on the linings of the vestments in High Mass sets in sacristies all over England.

I have never seen this done in RC Masses, whether OF or EF. Is it an Anglican idiosyncrasy?


Fr William said...

Interesting question. Is it just one of those things which gets handed down from one generation of clergy to another but is not to be found in any books? I wasn't even explicitly taught it, but during my diaconate year observed my training incumbent doing it, thought "That looks a sensible idea" and have done it ever since my priesting. And yes, I have noticed RCs don't seem to do it - at +Vin's enthronement I found myself wincing slightly every time he sat down and placed his palms on the surface of his brand-new chasuble.

SJH said...

(RC Here)
O'Connell says that the rubrics do not specify how this is to be done for an ordinary priest.

For a Bishop the answer is clear in the old rite. The hands go on top over the gremial!

So some places the custom is to follow the example of the Bishop by placing the hands on top. And some places the practice is to place the hands on the knees under the chasuble. When Baroque style vestments are worn this requires no special arrangement of the vestments as they are open at the sides. I've never seen priests wearing Gothic vestments put their hands under their chasubles.

Are the Anglicans in question wearing Gothic or Baroque vestments?

SJH said...

Missing sentence after: "And some places the practice is to place the hands on the knees under the chasuble."

Therefore also following the example of the Bishop by protecting the vestments.

Pastor in Valle said...

I have never (in RC circles) seen anybody do anything other than lay their hands on top of the chasuble. I have some 200-yr old vestments, and they seem utterly unaffected by the practice. A former Anglican colleague used to lay his hand under the chasuble (i;e; on the alb, not on a turned-back chasuble) until laughed out of the custom.
And SJH did not remark that, yes, a bishop has a gremial, but he is also wearing gloves.

Fr William said...

"I have some 200-yr old vestments, and they seem utterly unaffected by the practice." Ah, Pastor, but the question remains as to what the practice was for the great majority of those 200 years?

Christian said...

Generally the practice seems to be simply to place one's hands on one's lap over the chasuble. The London Oratory do this and I therefore suspect that it was the general practice given that they are not a re-creation and have continued all practices from before the Council which were not specifically abolished.

An exSSPX priest I know also places his hands onto the chasuble. They, similarly are a good way to see if it was the old practice as they are also directly continuous with pre-councillor practice.

The practice of putting one's hands underneath the chasuble on one's knees has, however, always been practiced by a few priests. Another priest, and a great liturgical expert, I know always places his hands in his lap underneath the chasuble.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Dom Oppenheimer of the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem always puts his hands under the chasuble (and he likes to wear ample Gothic chasubles).