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vestment & divestment

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Apr 06, 2007

At yesterday's Chrism Mass, Pope Benedict made use of liturgical vestments as catechetical tools to remind priests of the meaning of their vocation:

In administering the sacraments, the pope said, the priest "no longer represents himself and no longer expresses himself," but speaks and acts for Christ. For that reason, he said, priests must continually configure themselves to Christ, something that is symbolized in the liturgical vestments they put on.

The amice, which traditionally covered the shoulders and head, reminds priests to concentrate on the celebration of the Mass and on the figure of Christ, and not to let their thoughts wander, he said.

The amice? Didn't that go out with Fish-on-Fridays tribal Catholicism?

Today's thinking Catholics generally embrace a more inclusive and machine washable model of church. The Velcro collar strap on Father's Linen-Lyke alb, accordingly, symbolizes a fully adaptable approach to full-time ministry.

(A fuller account of the Holy Father's homily is available here.)

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  • Posted by: - Apr. 07, 2007 10:30 AM ET USA

    Our pastor wears an amice and on Holy Thursday, ties is around his waist and uses it to dry the feet of twelve men. On the flip side, at the parish I work at as music director, two priests wash the feet of a deacon and his wife, who then wash the feet of the priests and anyone else who wants to come up -- no amice is used. Plastic dish basins, plastic beer pitchers, a roll of paper towels, and hand sanitizer round things out.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 06, 2007 4:47 PM ET USA

    The amice went out with the sacred vessels and following rubrics.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 06, 2007 12:46 PM ET USA

    The vestments metaphor makes obvious the strength of the Church’s traditional bond between “lex orandi” and “lex credendi.” It’s amazing to me, then, that the bishops refuse to acknowledge the virtual absence in the Novus Ordo liturgy of rubrics that demonstrate that bond. A palpable example is the now-common twin practices of communion-in-hand and communion under both species, both of which belie the theology of the Real Presence that was clearly defined by the Fathers of Trent.

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