Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Black vestments for All Souls and funerals

Comment: readers will have seen mostly 'violet' (purple) vestments yesterday for the feast of All Souls, unless they went to the Traditional Mass. Black is allowed in the New Mass: see Fr Z on the law. Since black vestments have been the Church's tradition for many centuries, they are surely to be preferred.

Black retains, in the public imagination, the association with mourning. It is precisely this association which put some people off it as a liturgical colour in the 1960s. It has this association partly because it was used for funerals for so long. So I suppose if white or violet continues to be used for funerals, and this sinks into the public imagination, the liberal liturgists of the future will have to change the colour again. But this is silly.

Black reminds us of the dead, of our need to pray for them, and of our going to join them in due course. It is part of the cultural patrimony of Catholicism, from which liberal liturgists want to divorce us. Let us join Fr Zulhsdorf's campaign: bring back the black! (And unbleached candles too.)

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen