Thursday, 22 October 2015

Costume Of Prelates Of the Catholic Church according to Roman Etiquette. By The Rev. John A. Nainfa S.S. Part 34.

CHAPTER VIII. Some Practical Rules of Etiquette.

1. "Equilibrium." — 2. Prelates Assisting at a Funeral. — 3. The Preacher of a Funeral Oration. — 4. Use. of the Cloak. — 5. "Academic Dress" Audiences of Kings; "Etiquette Dress." — 6. Rules for Laying Out the Remains of a Deceased Prelate.

Some of the rules of clerical etiquette to be dealt with in this chapter are of frequent application, but are either ignored or too easily overlooked. Some others are not of daily practice, but it is well to know them, so as to observe them when occasion requires it.

1. The first to be mentioned is called by Liturgists and Ceremonials the rule of "equilibrium" in the prelatial dress. According to this rule, a Prelate should not have the main parts of his dress differing from each other in material or color. For instance, a Bishop should not wear a purple mozzetta over a black cassock; a Cardinal should not wear a red silk mozzetta over a winter cassock of red cloth; a Domestic Prelate should not put on a woolen mantelletta over a silk cassock, etc., etc. The only exception to this general rule is in the cappa magna of Bishops—the cappa magna is always purple, whatever be the color of the cassock. Prelates should also take care that the hue of the purple be the same in the mozzetta or mantelletta as in the cassock.

2. Another rule of etiquette, which is frequently lost sight of, is that concerning the choir dress of Prelates attending a funeral service. According to the Ceremonial, Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops should, for such an occasion, put on mourning; therefore a Cardinal should vest in purple, trimmed in scarlet; while Archbishops and Bishops should wear the black cassock and the mantel-letta (or mozzetta, as the case may be) of the same color, all the parts of this choir dress being lined and trimmed in purple.

Only the Prelates di mantelletta and di mantellone should wear purple at a funeral service, because they do not put on mourning, except on the death of the Sovereign Pontiff and on Good Friday.

This rule may be a surprise to people who think that purple is the "episcopal color" (a) and are shocked at seeing a Bishop in black, while an inferior Prelate is clad in purple; but, in this case, the black dress means higher rank, since the inferior Prelate has no right to wear it.


3. Connected with this, is the rule concerning the preaching of a funeral eulogy. All know that the Prelate or priest who delivers such an oration does not put on his choir habit. But the cassock does not by itself constitute a complete ecclesiastical dress; and a Prelate or a priest should never appear before the public without being completely and correctly dressed. Now, as, in this case, the orator, though speaking in church, is not authorized to vest in his rochet or surplice, he should throw on his shoulders the ecclesiastical cloak (ferraiolo or ferraiolone), which completes the clerical costume in default of the choir insignia. Therefore, if the orator is a priest, he should wear a black cassock and a black cloak of woolen material; if a Prelate, a black cassock, or simar, trimmed with purple, a black cincture and a black silk cloak. Should it happen that a Cardinal delivers such a sermon—a rather rare occurrence—his cassock should be black with red trimmings; his cincture, purple; and his cloak, purple, with scarlet trimmings.

4. In some parts of the country, owing to the influence of Bishops and priests who have sojourned or studied in Rome, the wearing of the Roman cloak becomes more and more frequent. Such tendency is most correct and deserves encouragement. Clergymen should know that the cloak is the necessary complement of the ecclesiastical dress outside church ceremonies, and has, besides, the advantage of being very elegant. Prelates and priests would do well to take the habit of wearing it, whenever it is possible for them to do so. Some occasions, on which it is proper for ecclesiastics to wear the cloak were mentioned in the chapter of this book, where the rules concerning the making up and wearing of this garment are especially dealt with.

5. There is another dress of Bishops and Prelates which is not commonly known; it is the "academic dress." This should be worn by a Prelate when he assists at academic solemnities, as college or university graduations, foundation of university chairs, inauguration of the Rector of a college, of a seminary or of a university, the solemn reception of the Prelate himself as a member of a Roman academy, etc.

As his "academic dress," a Cardinal wears the scarlet cassock, and the cincture with gold tassels, over which he does not put on the rochet, but the mozzetta, the pectoral cross suspended from its gold chain, and the red silk cloak (ferraiolone) , the small hood of the mozzetta being thrown back over the collar of the cloak. With this costume, the Cardinal should wear gloves of red silk, with the cardinalitial ring over the gloved fourth finger of the right hand, low shoes of red morocco leather, with gold buckles, and the ordinary ecclesiastical hat of red felt, with band and tassels of red silk, entwined with gold.

An Archbishop, within the limits of his province, and a Bishop in his diocese, wear the same costume, but in purple—cassock, cincture with purple tufts, mozzetta, pectoral cross and cloak; black shoes, with gold buckles; purple gloves of silk, ordinary ring, and black hat, with green band and tassels.

The "academic dress" of an Archbishop outside the limits of his province, or. of a Bishop outside of his diocese, consists of the purple cassock, purple cincture with tufts, the mantelletta and the pectoral cross; black shoes, with gold buckles, purple silk gloves, ordinary ring, and black hat, with green band and tassels.

A Prelate di mantelletta wears the same "academic dress" as a Bishop outside of his diocese, except that he does not wear the pectoral cross, and the band and tassels of his hat are red or purple according to his rank in the Prelature. He wears the ring, if entitled to do so.

For the Prelates di mantellone the costume is the same as for the other Roman Prelates, but they put on the mantellone instead of the mantelletta.

If Cardinals, Bishops or Prelates have not an ecclesiastical hat—as is often the case in this country—they may wear instead the prelatial biretta, scarlet for Cardinals, purple for Bishops, and black with a colored tuft for other Prelates; but the hat is more proper.

According to strict ecclesiastical etiquette, Cardinals, Bishops and Prelates should wear this costume when received in public or private audience by a Sovereign; but the court regulations may be different, and one has to comply with them, and to act according to the directions given by the high officers who have charge of the court ceremonial. As a matter of fact, this costume has become antiquated, and is often replaced for such occasions by the "etiquette dress," which consists of the black cassock or simar, trimmed in red or purple—according to the rank of the wearer—cincture, cloak, black hat, with colored band and tassels, low shoes with buckles, and silk gloves of the same color as the cloak. If the Prelate is entitled to wear the pectoral cross and the ring, he puts on the pectoral cross, suspended from its gold chain, under the cloak; and the ring over the gloved finger, if the ceremonial of the court does not forbid the wearing of gloves in presence of the Sovereign.

The "etiquette dress" is the one prescribed for the audience of the Pope; but, before being introduced, the visitor must leave his hat in the room of the Bussolanti, and take off his gloves, which he may keep in his pocket.

6. This chapter will be concluded with a few remarks concerning the laying out of the remains of a deceased Prelate.

The law of the Church is that a dead ecclesiastic should be laid out vested in the insignia of the office or dignity which he held while living; but this principle must be rightly understood.

As the priestly or episcopal character is what is the most important in the person of an ecclesiastic, and, according to the teaching of the Church, is destined to last forever, the law is that the body of a dead priest or Bishop should be dressed in his sacerdotal or episcopal vestments. There are indeed exceptions, but, in this case, they can be said to confirm the rule. By sacerdotal or episcopal vestments, we mean such ornaments as the Prelate or priest should put on while preparing for the celebration of solemn High Mass, which is the greatest act that a Prelate or priest can perform.

These vestments should be of purple color. Therefore, the body of a deceased priest will be vested in his ordinary cassock; amice, alb, cingulum; purple maniple, stole and chasuble; shoes will be put on his feet, and the biretta on his head. A prevailing abuse consists in placing a naked chalice between the clasped hands of the deceased; this is indeed a touching symbol, but such practice should not be retained; the chalice being necessarily placed perpendicular to the body, such a disposition looks very awkward and unnatural; and, moreover, it is opposed to the spirit of the Church to expose sacred vessels— especially the chalice—to the public gaze; finally, the Church directs that a crucifix should be placed between the hands of the deceased ecclesiastic.

When a Cardinal dies in Rome, his body is laid out vested in the choir dress which Cardinals usually wear while in Rome; but, if the Cardinal is, at the same time, a residential Bishop and dies outside of Rome, the regulations to be followed in laying out his remains are the same as for an ordinary Bishop.

When the Bishop has breathed his last and his body has been properly embalmed, his attendants vest him in his mourning choir cassock—black, trimmed in purple, for an Archbishop or a Bishop; purple, trimmed in scarlet, for a Cardinal. The train of the cassock should not be unfolded, for this is regarded as a sign of jurisdiction, and all jurisdiction ceases at the death of the Prelate. Over the cassock, they put the cincture—black for a Bishop, purple for a Cardinal—and the rochet. They then vest the Prelate in his pontificals of purple—stockings and sandals, amice, alb, cingulum, pectoral cross without relics, stole, tunic and dalmatic, gloves, chasuble and maniple. On the fourth finger of the right hand they put the ring, clasp his hands on his breast and place between them a crucifix, tying them with a purple silk ribbon to hold them in place, if necessary.

If the Prelate was a Metropolitan—or otherwise entitled to wear the pallium—they place the pallium over his shoulders, if he is laid out within the limits of his territorial jurisdiction; if outside, the pallium should be placed under his head. If he has been the incumbent of several archbishoprics, the palliums of his previous sees should also be placed under his head.

The crosier, as being the main sign of jurisdiction, should not be placed in the dead Prelate's hands, or alongside of his body, or even in the room where the remains are laid out.

On his head, the attendants place the skull-cap—red or purple—and the simple mitre of white silk. At the foot of the bier they hang the pontifical hat, red for a Cardinal, green for an Archbishop or a Bishop.

The room where the body of the Prelate is laid out should be furnished with chairs or benches, so as to accommodate the clergy, who ought to recite there the "Office of the Dead."

A crucifix, between two lighted candles, is placed on a credence-table, with a black stole and a black cope, the holy-water vessel and the censer.

It would be proper also to erect a temporary altar, so as to have Masses celebrated in the room. Requiem Masses "in die obitus" may be celebrated there for the deceased Prelate, as long as the body remains exposed, except if the day is a "double of first class," or excluding the celebration of a feast of first class.

The clergy recite the Office of the Dead, and, at the end of each Nocturn, of Lauds, and of Vespers, the senior member of the clergy puts on the stole and the cope and gives the absolution.


The coffin should be lined in purple, and, on its lid, a metallic plate should bear engraved the name and coat-of-arms of the Prelate, with the date of his death.

The practice, which is in vogue in some parts of the country, to veil or drape in black the throne of the departed Bishop, should be abandoned. The throne should be hung in purple and used by the presiding Prelate, if this is a Cardinal or the Metropolitan of the deceased Bishop. The practice of veiling the throne and leaving it unoccupied is an old French importation, and, as such, opposed by decrees of the plenary councils of Baltimore, which prohibit any foreign customs from being introduced into the liturgy of this country. (a)

The remains of Prelates inferior to Bishops are laid out vested in the purple cassock and priestly vestments. If the dead Prelate had the privilege of the pontificals—as is the case for Protonotaries Apostolic—he may be vested in his pontificals; but the mitre should not be put on his head; his proper headdress is the prelatial biretta.

After the burial of a Cardinal, or of a Bishop, his pontifical hat is suspended to the ceiling of the church, above the place where the body is interred.

(a) Concil. Plen. Baltim. I., nn. 36, 42, 44.— Concil. Plen. Baltim. II., nn. 210, 213, 216, 218.