Dressing for Dinner

PDRPDR Shipmate
edited July 4 in Ecclesiantics
This has probably come up before, but it seems to be fairly common around these parts - MD, VA, MD - for the celebrant not to assume the chasuble until the offertory/peace/seventh inning stretch in TEC and ELCA churches. I have heard this referred to humorously and irreverently as 'dressing for dinner' but no-one has been able to tell me when it began and the rationale behind it. BTW, it would not be surprised if TEC and ELCA churches did the same thing, but for completely different reasons.

Where I am coming from is that in my "modern Anglo-Catholic" (TM) yoof thirty years ago not wearing a chasuble for the whole of the Mass except for the sermon was regarded as one of those things that 'made the baby Jesus cry.' I can think of one possible reason in summer - it is too blinking hot! I do occasionally get an unconvincing explanation that it is to distinguish the Liturgy of the Altar from that of the word, but historically that does not fly - unless I am missing something, which is more than likely.

Comments

  • No 'dressing for dinner' in these parts - our neighbouring clergy either sport the chasuble for the whole Eucharist, or sport just alb and stole. As for the evo clergy, I know not what they do...

    (...but - slight tangent - why remove the chasuble just in order to preach? Does lack of chasuble somehow make the sermon more holy, or something?)
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    The Evangelicals of my northern English yoof wore cassock, surplice and scarf or sometimes stole; the hipper ones might occasionally go for cassock-alb and stole. Evos have become a lot looser about vestments subsequently, though, even in rural area where one might suppose traditional standards might hold more weight.

    As for removing the chasuble for the sermon, the older ceremonial manuals seem to regard it a the norm, but it was a norm abandoned in the 1960s so far as I am aware. I would imagine that would have a lot to do with how much a chasuble gets in the way when one preaches. No need with a fiddleback, but some of the bigger gothic types, and conical chasubles do get in the way if you are given to waving your arms about.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    I'm currently doing holiday cover at a chaplaincy in Italy. The first Sunday the temperature was tolerable and I wore a chasuble throughout the mass. Last week it was in the high 30s (with no air conditioning) and I chickened out. Alb and stole was hot enough but I donned the chasuble at the offertory and just about survived.

    Removing the chasuble simply in order to preach seems strange, unless you're planning a gymnastic display or dramatic performance. The sermon is part of the Liturgy of the Word.
  • @angloid -I think you did well to assume the chasuble at all, under the circumstances!

    Before our Father NewPriest arrived, Father Helping-Us-Out*, a retired PTO of the evangelical persuasion, once or twice celebrated a weekday Mass in *gasp * just cassock-alb and stole!!
    :flushed:

    The church roof did not fall in, neither did the congregation flee from the scene of such Awfulness... :relieved:

    [*He was perfectly OK with wearing chasuble for Sunday Mass, and swinging the Holy Smoke about - he became quite good at it, and, I suspect, rather enjoyed himself.]

    As regards removing the chasuble for the sermon, could this go back to earlier Roman days, when the sermon might be praught separately, after the Mass itself? I may, of course, be completely off the track here.
  • BabyWombatBabyWombat Shipmate
    Back in the day when I was an MC at a very high-up-the-candle parish, the matching cope was worn by the celebrant through the liturgy of the word, deacon and subdeacon in appropriate matching tunicles. If the celebrant was preaching he removed the cope prior to doing so and put it on again for the Creed. If someone else was preaching, celebrant kept cope on. When deacon was preparing the table the MC had the opportunity to hold the cope up to form a sort of screen for the celebrant to mop brow with ice water, comb hair as needed, and then don the chasuble. Fussy? but course!

    Usual practice now in this corner of TEC is chasuble from the start and no removing it until the dismissal, or in hot weather alb and stole. In truly hot weather, stole, clerical collar removed. As best I recall the only time I've seen the chasuble removed during a service is on Maundy Thursday if the celebrant is washing the feet and doesn't want to kneel and splase in fancy dress.
  • IIRC, removing the chasuble during the Washing of Feet is in emulation of Our Lord, who took his coat off at the Last Supper.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Pre Vatican 2 it was common for priests to remove the chasuble at the sermon (RC).I don't know why.
    In these days most of the chasubles in the RC church were 'Roman' chasubles.. These are the ones which are sort of fiddleback, without actually being 'fiddleback' Since Vatican 2 almost all the chasubles in use in the RC church are 'Gothic' chasubles.That's the 'poncho' type.

    Why do many AngloCatholics tend to use Roman chasubles ?
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Re : removing chasuble,There may have been a feeling that the sermon was not really the Mass,as also the wearing of the cope for the Asperges,which was not technically part of the Mass.
  • Because we're more Roman than Rome?
    :wink:

    Actually, we don't use fiddlebacks at Our Place now (IIRC, we've only one, anyway). Gothic-style is our default now.

    I do know of one or two A-C places which use fiddlebacks. Their clergy are...er...quite short in stature, so the fiddlebacks seem to fit better.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited July 4
    Forthview wrote: »
    Re : removing chasuble,There may have been a feeling that the sermon was not really the Mass,as also the wearing of the cope for the Asperges,which was not technically part of the Mass.

    I remember reading the infamous somewhere that when the rubrics were revised after Trent, the large square chasuble then in fashion would have cramped the preacher's style, so they allowed it to be removed when - which initially was not that often - the sermon was preached during mass. The old conical chasubles of the high Middle Ages would have been next to impossible to preach in unless your favoured style is rooted to the spot like a statue.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Forthview wrote: »
    Pre Vatican 2 it was common for priests to remove the chasuble at the sermon (RC).I don't know why.
    In these days most of the chasubles in the RC church were 'Roman' chasubles.. These are the ones which are sort of fiddleback, without actually being 'fiddleback' Since Vatican 2 almost all the chasubles in use in the RC church are 'Gothic' chasubles.That's the 'poncho' type.

    Why do many AngloCatholics tend to use Roman chasubles ?

    I am of pre Vat2 vintage. I have never seen a priest remove his chasuble to preach.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 4
    It certainly does seem to be a practice which has fallen into desuetude, however widespread it may, or may not, have been. A local custom peculiar to certain countries, perhaps?

    Mind you, I can think of priests who obviously remove their brain whilst preaching, but...
    :worried:
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    I certainly remember the removal of the chasuble in the 1950s both in the West of Scotland and also in Austria.It tended to be older priests who did this, which makes me think that the custom was perhaps dying out before Vatican 2
  • Graven ImageGraven Image Shipmate
    In California, I have seen this in three different Episcopal churches. The chasubles in two cases were laid carefully over the altar rail and in the third church the priest stepped out during the offertory to put it on. I have no reason why this was done.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I can only concur with the comments of angloid and PDR regarding the weather. I prided myself, secretly, in wearing a chazzie in all temperatures up to and even above 45C, inland heat with low humidity, or high 30sC tropical coastal with 100% humidity. They were though relatively lightweight, not the heavy brocade of yore, and not everyone is as mad a dog and Englishman as I am.*

    Basically in those climes common sense should trump sacramental/liturgical theology (I clearly didn't have any). But On the really hot days I dis sometimes delay the donning until the Peace. If there was a theology to it it was , contra PDR, precisely the segue from Liturgy of the Word to Celebration of the Sacrament.

    * In my current climes I would wear two chazzies, two albs and two soutanes if I could! What the hell I'm doing "South of 45" I can't work out.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited July 4
    I’ve not seen “dressing for dinner” in TEC churches in NC. The norm as I’ve always seen (since the early 80s, at least) is a chasuble worn for the entire Holy Eucharist (very rarely called a “Mass”).

    As for ELCA Lutherans, I’ve never seen a chasuble among them in these parts. Alb and stole seems to be the norm.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited July 4
    Zappa wrote: »
    I can only concur with the comments of angloid and PDR regarding the weather. I prided myself, secretly, in wearing a chazzie in all temperatures up to and even above 45C, inland heat with low humidity, or high 30sC tropical coastal with 100% humidity. They were though relatively lightweight, not the heavy brocade of yore, and not everyone is as mad a dog and Englishman as I am.*

    Basically in those climes common sense should trump sacramental/liturgical theology (I clearly didn't have any). But On the really hot days I dis sometimes delay the donning until the Peace. If there was a theology to it it was , contra PDR, precisely the segue from Liturgy of the Word to Celebration of the Sacrament.

    * In my current climes I would wear two chazzies, two albs and two soutanes if I could! What the hell I'm doing "South of 45" I can't work out.

    Your plight south of 45 reminds me of Percy Dearmer's remark about celebrants who feel the cold wearing a surplice under their alb. I have never been able to work out how one would do that, though.

    My own rule is that if the inside temperature is above about 77F (24C?) I will leave the chasuble off until the offertory. Even then there is the odd Sunday when I decide discretion is the better part of valour, and celebrate in alb and stole even though I look like a sack of spuds tied in the middle. The organist gets the worst of it, though, he is up in the west gallery where the temperature is a good 5F warmer than floor level. He is a local and seems not to mind it. I grew up in the north of England when we still believed central heating was for soft southerners, and churches rarely got above 15C in winter and in 18C summer, so my tolerance of heat is limited to say the least!
  • What is it with organists and getting the worst of the internal climate? In most English churches of my experience the organist seems to suffer freezing cold draughts.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited July 5
    It seems to have to do with architects never having a clue as to where to put the organ, so it ends up "somewhere." The organ in our new-to-us shack is crammed into an organ chamber above the sacristy and rector's office which is basically triangular. At least the tuner/ tech has room to work, even though it is a bit snug in there. The console, on the other hand, is in the gallery about 15'above floor level, and the A/C vents are - you guessed it - at floor level. There used to be a unit in the gallery, but it went "phut" years ago, and our predecessors never mended it because they always had their services in the morning. Until, we get the unit fixed there is no A/C up there. Being one unit down also explains why the chasuble is currently partly disused - especially at afternoon Eucharists. Right now I am rather glad that my green set is a fiddleback I can just about cope with that on in a morning. As for a cope - forget it!
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 5
    /tangent prolonged/

    Older English churches often have organs stuffed willy-nilly into available (but not always suitable) spaces, such as former chapels or choir galleries.

    The area occupied by the pipe organ at Our Place - east end of the south aisle - was made into a small, but useable, All Souls/Requiem Chapel some years ago, when the organ was dismantled and sold. The present electronic organ, and its companion, a grand piano, have plenty of space in the aisle*, with no nasty draughts to incommode the musicians.

    *We are blessed by not having rows of fixed pews - the aisles are free of pews, with plenty of room for Processions, and the nave pews can, if required, be moved around by several strong peeps. They are not fixed to the floor - the pews, that is.

    /back to vestments/

    We did acquire some years ago, from some nice nuns in Poland, a couple of lightweight chasubles for weekday use. One is green, and the other cream, with blue fleur-de-lis and Ave Maria decorations thereupon.

    IIRC, I bought them via eBay for about £10 each (plus postage), and, although they are not likely to be as durable as our older vestments, they are ideal for a summer Ordinary Time or Walsingham Low Mass.
  • PDR wrote: »
    Zappa wrote: »
    I can only concur with the comments of angloid and PDR regarding the weather. I prided myself, secretly, in wearing a chazzie in all temperatures up to and even above 45C, inland heat with low humidity, or high 30sC tropical coastal with 100% humidity. They were though relatively lightweight, not the heavy brocade of yore, and not everyone is as mad a dog and Englishman as I am.*

    Basically in those climes common sense should trump sacramental/liturgical theology (I clearly didn't have any). But On the really hot days I dis sometimes delay the donning until the Peace. If there was a theology to it it was , contra PDR, precisely the segue from Liturgy of the Word to Celebration of the Sacrament.

    * In my current climes I would wear two chazzies, two albs and two soutanes if I could! What the hell I'm doing "South of 45" I can't work out.

    Your plight south of 45 reminds me of Percy Dearmer's remark about celebrants who feel the cold wearing a surplice under their alb. I have never been able to work out how one would do that, though.

    It *used* to be expected by the rubrics for bishops and canons to wear their albs over their rochets at a high mass, removing only their mozette at the end of terce. What actually happened in practice was, I'm sure, more varied.

    I have certainly seen "dressing for dinner" fairly frequently in the USA, and once in England (in one of Her Majesty's Chapels Royal, no less). I'm not a fan of it from a liturgical standpoint. But, as I'm currently in Hideously Humid Washington, DC,* I would not begrudge anyone any even remotely reasonable measure to avoid heat exhaustion!


    *I believe this is its official name.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    In my last parish, my predecessor used to wear shoes, socks, BVDs and a cassock rabat under his cassock in the summer. The awkward part of this came when he would vest for the Eucharist he would lock the sacristy door and exchange his cassock for an alb. We all have our strategies for beating the heat. I cannot imagine doing full mass vestments in DC. The place was designed by God to be a swamp, and some yo-yos put a city there. Terribly silly messing with the divine plan that way.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 6
    I had to Google, but I understand BVDs are a sort of boxer shorts, and a cassock rabat is a sort of false clerical shirt-front, with collar.

    If that's what you meant, it seems eminently sensible and..umm...seemly, though I take the point about going into the sacristy to exchange cassock for alb.

    But could he not have worn the alb from the start (presumably for Morning Prayer before the Eucharist)?
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    He was from an age where one just did not wear an alb for MP, and one did wear a cassock around the church on Sundays. He wasn't really High, but slightly to the sunny-side-of-MOTR, so he was very concerned about being proper.

    My usual when it is HOT as opposed to merely hot is Old English Surplice and a tippet over street clothes for MP and EP, and alb and stole for the Eucharist. The church has A/C but there are no vents in the chancel, which was thoughtful of them.
  • OblatusOblatus Shipmate
    In California, I have seen this in three different Episcopal churches. The chasubles in two cases were laid carefully over the altar rail and in the third church the priest stepped out during the offertory to put it on. I have no reason why this was done.

    Parish Use where I am (at a solemn Mass) is for the celebrant to wear a cope from the entrance to the Offertory. Once the altar is set and ready for the celebrant to offer the elements and cense them and the altar, the sacred ministers stand at the foot of the altar and the celebrant kneels and is helped off with the cope, which an acolyte takes to the sacristy. Meanwhile the MC retrieves the chasuble from the side altar and brings it to throw over the kneeling celebrant's head. Once all is adjusted and straightened, the MC cues the ministers to ascend to the altar. All of this is during the choir's offertory motet or anthem.

    I can't quite explain the "why" of all this except it's what a previous rector prescribed when designing how the parish would do High Mass with the 1979 BCP.
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    edited July 7
    @Oblatus - the cope until the offertory use is one that seems a bit strange to me, but then I grew up in the UK. It seems pretty common over here.

    The odd times I was taken along to the local A-C shack back in Blighty, the cope was worn for the Asperges, and then Father would don a chasuble for the introit. That said, I don't recall him being ever any more modern than the 1958 edition of the English Missal. He was the sort of priest who, if he ever did the modern rite, did it at 6am on Mondays in Lent. The shack itself was not a thing of beauty - 1960-ish Methodist converted for Anglican use c.1972 when bomb damage finally caught up with the Victorian parish church up the road. It was part of local Anglo-Catholic legend because it was said that Abp. Coggan consecrated it on a Saturday with a freestanding altar, and by Sunday at 8:00am the then Father had it back against the wall with a tabernacle the size of R2D2, and the Big Six on it.
  • Hookers_TrickHookers_Trick Admin Emeritus
    I have always assumed 'dressing for dinner' (which I have only ever seen in the US), was a consequence of the desire to introduce liturgical vestments but not scare the horses with 'sacrificial garments' worn for the whole of a service in which the congo were generally more used to surplice and stole throughout. Especially in Virginia/ mid-Atlantic. It's always seemed ironic to me as it introduces an extra bit of quasi-liturgical dressing reminiscent of high-candle celebrants shedding the cope and assuming the chasuble at the end of the Procession or Asperges, which doubtless was not at all the original intent.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    The only time I’ve ever seen it was nearly thirty years ago with a fairly traditional liberal catholic priest in the north-east of England.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    There was quite a fashion at one time (dating from Series 2/3 etc) to see the Eucharist almost as two separate services, and the understanding that a chasuble was a 'eucharistic' vestment in the narrow sense and not the uniform of the priest for the whole of the liturgy. Even CR Mirfield played around with this for a while, with the president in a cope for the liturgy of the word. Daft and divisive! Fortunately they, and most of the church, soon saw sense.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited July 10
    Yes, and I now recall that, around the time of Series 3/ASB Rite A, the then Vicar of the parish church of a large village adjacent to the town of the Church Of My Yoof did indeed 'dress for dinner'. I suspect he may have thought as @angloid says, though AFAIK he usually wore alb and stole for the Ministry of the Word. Maybe he used a cope on major Festivals, of course.

    (His church was a haven for refugees fleeing from the overwhelming Evangelicalism of most churches in the town...and, AIUI, still is.).
  • ComplineCompline Shipmate
    My own neighborhood ECUSA rector "dresses for dinner." In fact, I've seen a few Episcopal priests and Lutheran pastors do so in my area, though it isn't universal (and neither are chasubules). This in the Baptist-y part of Florida, so it could be the churmanship or the temperature that they're trying to keep low (or both).
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