CHAPTER VII. Use of the Pontificals by Prelates Not Invested With the Episcopal Character.
Some Prelates, not invested with the episcopal character, have, by law or by privilege, the right of celebrating Pontifical High Mass, and of receiving special honors at Low Mass. Such are:
The Cardinals who have not received the episcopal consecration.
All mitred Abbots.
The seven Protonotaries Apostolic de numero partiicpantium.
The Protonotaries Apostolic supernumerary.
The Protonotaries Apostolic ad instar participantium.
The Canons of certain Basilicas and Cathedrals.
Cardinals, even those who are not consecrated Bishops, have the right to officiate pontifically at the throne everywhere, except in presence of the Pope. The Bishop Ordinary of the place is bound by canon law to give up his throne to a Cardinal, unless he himself is a Cardinal.
The ceremonies to be observed are the same as are prescribed for the Pontifical Mass celebrated by a Bishop having "ordinary jurisdiction."
II. Mitred Abbots.
Abbots and Prelates nullius have, within the limits of the territory submitted to their jurisdiction, the same right as diocesan Bishops to officiate in pontificals.
The use of the pontificals by simple mitred Abbots is regulated by a well-known decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, issued September 27, 1659, by order of Pope Alexander VII., which may be summed up as follows:
An Abbot celebrating Pontifical High Mass has no right to the seventh candlestick. His throne has but two steps; it is not permanently fixed, but is erected for the occasion, and its drapery and canopy should not be of costly material. The Abbot is authorized to pontificate only three times a year, and never at Requiem Mass. He is forbidden to make use of his pontificals outside of his monastery, except when invited, at a solemn funeral, to impart one of the five absolutions.
In presence of the diocesan Bishop, the Abbot officiates at a throne erected on the Epistle side; and an episcopal throne, with three steps, is erected for the Bishop, at the usual place, on the Gospel side.
At Low Mass and other offices, as well as in the administration of the sacraments, an Abbot should not differ from a simple priest, except in the wearing of the pectoral cross and the ring.
These rules bind all Abbots in general; but there have been granted very numerous privileges to individuals or communities, so that the restrictions imposed by the decree of Alexander VII. are very seldom observed to the letter.
III. Protonotaries Apostolic.
Two decrees of Pope Pius X. have regulated the honors and insignia of Protonotaries Apostolic and other Prelates of the Roman Court. These decrees have considerably changed the hitherto vague and uncertain discipline on this point.
The first decree was issued by the S. Congregation of Rites on March 9, 1904. Its object was to extend the privileges of the Protonotaries Apostolic on the occasion of the granting by Pope Pius X. of the title and rank of Protonotaries to the Canons of the Cathedral of Treviso, his native diocese.
The second decree (Constitution Inter multiplices) was a motu proprio of the same Pope, February 21, 1905, regulating in detail all that pertains to the dignity, rank, costume and privileges of the Prelates of the Roman Court. The text of that important and lengthy document is to be given hereafter in Appendix.
This second decree has somewhat modified the dispositions of the decree of 1904, as regards Protonotaries Apostolic.
1) Protonotaries Apostolic denumero participantium. — These are seven Prelates composing the College of Protonotaries. Their principal privileges are the following:
They are free to wear the ordinary ring at all times, even at Low Mass and at other Church Ceremonies.
They are permitted to celebrate High Mass at the faldstool with the same ceremonies as are to be observed by a Bishop celebrating Pontifical Mass outside of his jurisdiction; with the restriction, however, that they are forbidden to say Pax vobis after Gloria in excelsis, and Sit nomen Domini and Adiutorium nostrum before giving the blessing to the people. The blessing they impart is that of a priest, with a single sign of the cross; but they are permitted to sing it. In presence of the Ordinary, they must abstain from giving the blessing.
In Rome, they are not permitted to celebrate pontifically, but they have the right to do so elsewhere with the permission of the Ordinary of the place.
When going to the church where they are to pontificate, they are vested in purple cassock, rochet and purple mantelletta, and wear the pectoral cross suspended from a cord of amaranth silk, entwined with gold, or from a gold chain. They may be received at the door of the church by a master of ceremonies and two clerics.
The mitres which they use during Mass are the auriphrygiata and the simple mitre of white silk.
When celebrating Low Mass on some solemn occasion, they may make the preparation and thanksgiving, vested in their prelatical habit, and kneeling on a prie-dieu which should not be draped, but furnished with two purple cushions. They vest at the foot of the altar, and may be assisted by a cleric in sacred Orders and two other inferior ministers. They make use of the canon, hand-candlestick, ewer, basin and towel.
At daily Low Mass, they do not differ from other priests, except that they are allowed to wear the ring and to use the candlestick.
Their privilege of pontificating is not restricted to Mass, but extends to all pontifical offices which do not require the episcopal character.
2) Protonotaries Apostolic Supernumerary. — Their privileges are much less extensive than those of the members of the preceding class.
They are not allowed to wear the ordinary ring, but wear the pontifical ring when officiating pontifically.
Like the Protonotaries de numero, they may officiate at the faldstool at High Mass, Vespers, and other functions which do not require the episcopal character; but only with the explicit permission of the Ordinary, who is free to refuse the favor or to determine the days on which the Prelate may use his privilege.
In pontificating, they are bound to observe the following restrictions:
No embroidery is allowed on their gloves, sandals and stockings, which may be bordered with a gold strip.
The pectoral cross must be of plain gold without gems, and suspended from a cord of amaranth silk, or from a gold chain.
The pontifical ring has but one gem.
The mitres, which they use at Mass, are a special white mitre of silk, bordered with gold, and the simple mitre of linen, alternately, as is indicated in the Ceremonial of Bishops.
They wash their hands only once, at Lavabo.
They do not say Pom vobis, or impart the blessing like Bishops, but sing the form of the priest's blessing, Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, etc.
When celebrating in presence of the Ordinary, they use only the linen mitre, do not give the blessing, and stand head uncovered when the Ordinary goes through the sanctuary. The same regulations hold good when the Protonotary officiates in presence of a Prelate superior to the Ordinary, as, for instance, the Metropolitan or a Cardinal.
In Rome and elsewhere, when celebrating Low Mass with some solemnity, they may make the preparation and thanksgiving before the altar, vested in their prelatic habit, without the pectoral cross and the ring, kneeling on an undraped prie-dieu, furnished with two purple cushions. They vest at the foot of the altar; may be assisted by a cleric in major Orders and two other minor clerics, and use the canon, candlestick, ewer, basin and towel. But they do not wash their hands after Communion.
At ordinary Low Mass, they do not differ from other priests, except in the use of the candlestick.
3) Protonotaries Apostolic ad instar participantium. — This class of Protonotaries is the only one having representatives in this country.
All that concerns their costume has been treated above in the different chapters dealing with the costume of the Prelates di mantelletta.
Like all Prelates and Canons, they have, in choir, the right to be incensed with two swings of the censer, to receive the blessing standing, and to bow, instead of genuflecting, to the cross of the altar.
Their right of precedence is the same as that of the Protonotaries Apostolic supernumerary; as such, they rank before all Clerics, Priests, Canons, Dignitaries of Chapters and Superiors of Religious Orders who have not the privilege of the pontificals. But they rank after the Vicar General of the diocese, Abbots, and the Chapter of the Cathedral.
Outside of Rome, with the permission of the Ordinary, and the consent of the Superior of the church, if the church is "exempt," they may celebrate Pontifical High Mass, on such days and occasions as may be determined by the Ordinary. (a) They are never permitted to pontificate at Requiem Mass.
Their right of pontificating is the same as that of the Protonotaries Apostolic supernumerary, limited, however, by the following restrictions:
They are not permitted to sit on the faldstool, nor to make use of the gremial. They sit on the bench, as other priests do at High Mass. Their gloves, sandals and stockings are not embroidered, but bordered with a strip of yellow silk.
They use only one mitre—the simple mitre —of white damask, with red fringes at its fanons.
Besides Deacon and Subdeacon, they may have an Assistant Priest in cope; but they are not entitled to that honor if they pontificate in a Cathedral Church, or in presence of the Ordinary or of a Prelate superior to the Ordinary.
When officiating pontifically, they never let down the train of the cassock.
They wear a plain pectoral cross without gems, suspended from a cord of purple silk or from a gold chain. (b)
They read or sing nothing at the bench.
They wash their hands only once, at Lavabo.
They do not say Pax vobis, and they sing the ordinary blessing of a priest, which they impart with a single sign of the cross.
When going from the altar to the bench, and vice versa, while sitting, washing their hands, being incensed, and giving the blessing, they wear the mitre.
If they pontificate in presence of the Ordinary or of a Superior Prelate, they do not give the blessing, and they stand, head uncovered, while the Prelate is standing or walking.
With the permission of the Ordinary, they may celebrate Pontifical Vespers, but sitting on the bench, and not giving the blessing at the end. They may also use their pontificals when giving the benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; at solemn processions; and at solemn funerals, if they are called upon to give one of the five absolutions. For all these functions, the special authorization of the Ordinary, and the permission of the Superior of the church, if the church is "exempt," are, of course, required.
In Rome, when they celebrate Low Mass with some solemnity, they enjoy the same privileges as the Protonotaries Apostolic supernumerary. Outside of Rome, they enjoy these privileges when commissioned by the Ordinary to say a Low Mass on some solemn occasion.
At their ordinary High Masses, and at Low Masses celebrated publicly, they may use the hand-candlestick.
When Canons have obtained the concession of the pontificals, they must observe the rules laid down for the Protonotaries Apostolic ad instar participantium; unless special dispositions are contained in the indult of concession.
No Protonotary Apostolic or Canon should be buried with his mitre on; nor should the mitre be placed on his coffin at his funeral.
These dignitaries are also prohibited from placing the mitre over their coats-of-arms.
(a) There is a current opinion that Protonotaries have a right to pontificate four times a year; but this opinion is unfounded. The Protonotary may pontificate as often as it pleases the Ordinary, but never without the consent of the Ordinary.
(b) On account of the pectoral cross which they wear, they do not cross the stole, when vesting for Pontifical Mass.