Monthly Archives: May 2011

Against Removing the Maniple for the Homily in the Classic Form of Mass [Extraordinary Form]

Here are the references against removal of maniple and/or chasuble.

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“Many rubricians direct the celebrant to remove his chasuble and maniple if he goes to the pulpit. There is no rubric which orders this. When the bishop preaches at pontifical Mass, he does so clad in the Mass vestments; if the assistant priest replaces him he is bidden to preach ‘sic paratus’ (i.e. in his cope, C.E. I, vii, 4). When the subdeacon goes to sing the Epistle, or the deacon the Gospel at an ambo, they are not directed to remove even the maniple. From the standpoint of the rubrics, therefore, there is no reason why the celebrant should remove his chasuble and maniple to perform an act which is part of the liturgy.”

O’Connell, J. B. [John Berthram], The Celebration of Mass: A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal, Bruce Publishing: Milwaukee, 1964, p. 484, n.55.

*For a discussion of the 1964 edition of O’Connell, see Alcuin Reid, 12 February 2007: [ ]
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“If the celebrant himself preaches, he may do so at the altar at the Gospel side or he may go to the pulpit (conducted by the M.C.). He does not take off his maniple or chasuble. The ministers sit at the sedilia. At the end of the sermon, they join the celebrant when he arrives from the pulpit and go with him, in the usual (longer) way, to the altar.”

Fortescue, Adrian and O’Connell,  J. B., The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, Maryland: Newman Press, 1962, p. 129, n.1.
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Under the heading of: “De concione infra Missam sine planeta et manipulo.” [The sermon within Mass without chasuble and maniple.]

The final word is: “sapit proinde talem hic ritus novitatem, ut reprobatione sit Dignus.”

[“therefore know that novelty in the rites such as this is worthy of rejection” or “it is wise that such ritual novelties are worthy of disapproval.”]

Centro liturgico vincenziano, Ephemerides liturgicae, Vol. 6, No. 6, Cuggiani Press: Rome, 1892, p. 288.


The contrary opinion of Lohner in 1759 is perhaps due to the “novelty” of preaching inside of Mass, something Jesuit missionaries around the world were not accustomed to:

“If the Celebrant himself preaches, let him stay on the Gospel side; chasuble and maniple are laid aside, but if this can not conveniently be done, the chasuble and maniple are laid aside at the sedilia and he proceeds without the ministers.”

Lohner, R. P. Tobia, S.J., Instructio practica prima de Ss. Missae sacrificio juxta Ritum Romanae Ecclesiae offerendo, Bencard Press: 1759, p. 54.

Adrian Fortescue mentioned above has only a footnote in 1917 which repeats Lohner:

“If the celebrant himself preaches, he may do so at the altar, in which case he need only take off the maniple and hand it to the M.C., who lays it at the sedile [sic]. If he preaches from a pulpit, generally he will go to the sedilia with the ministers, take off the chasuble and maniple (assisted by the M.C.), and will leave them there. The M.C. may accompany him to the pulpit. The ministers sit at the sedilia. At the end of the sermon the celebrant comes to the sedilia and puts on the chasuble and maniple; the ministers go with him, in the usual (longer) way, to the altar.” (page 124, n. 1)

As late as 1956 Mueller repeats Fortescue:

“If the C[elebrant] himself preaches, he may do so either at the altar or from the pulpit; in the later case he removes the chasuble and maniple but wears the biretta (where it is customary.)

In Handbook of Ceremonies by John Baptist Mueller, SJ  (revised and edited by Adam C. Ellis, SJ).  St. Louis, Mo. and London: B. Herder, 1956, p. 193.

*Formerly both the distribution of Holy Communion and preaching were done outside of Mass. The practice of removing the chasuble and maniple [which are specifically eucharistic] to preach comes from when preaching was done outside of Mass, usually before the Mass. The practice may have orginated in the hotter Mediterranean climate. In an era before microphones, preaching may have been much closer to classical rhetoric when hand gestures supported the voice. The location of the pulpit in the middle of the church, well outside the sanctuary area, may have contributed to the “non eucharistic” and therefore extrinsic perception of preaching. The Fore-Mass or Liturgy of the Catechumens did not demand eucharistic vestments. Less concrete arguments seem unconvincing.

*Holy Communion was distributed after the final blessing, i.e., after Mass. The priest said “Ite missa est” and then went to the tabernacle to retrieve the ciborium and to give Holy Communion to the faithful.

With thanks to Father David Jenuwine of the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan.

Frequently seen in Michigan

Hooray for the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales!

By the practice of penance every Catholic identifies with Christ in his death on the cross. We do so in prayer, through uniting the sufferings and sacrifices in our lives with those of Christ’s passion; in fasting, by dying to self in order to be close to Christ; in almsgiving, by demonstrating our solidarity with the sufferings of Christ in those in need. All three forms of penance form a vital part of Christian living. When this is visible in the public arena, then it is also an important act of witness.

Every Friday is set aside by the Church as a special day of penance, for it is the day of the death of our Lord. The law of the Church requires Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays, or some other form of food, or to observe some other form of penance laid down by the Bishops’ Conference.

The Bishops wish to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the lives of the faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity. They recognise that the best habits are those which are acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness. It is important that all the faithful be united in a common celebration of Friday penance.

Respectful of this, and in accordance with the mind of the whole Church, the Bishops’ Conference wishes to remind all Catholics in England and Wales of the obligation of Friday Penance. The Bishops have decided to re-establish the practice that this should be fulfilled by abstaining from meat. Those who cannot or choose not to eat meat as part of their normal diet should abstain from some other food of which they regularly partake. This is to come into effect from Friday 16 September 2011 when we will mark the anniversary of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom.

Many may wish to go beyond this simple act of common witness and mark each Friday with a time of prayer and further self-sacrifice. In all these ways we unite our sacrifices to the sacrifice of Christ, who gave up his very life for our salvation.

What has now happened has been gathering momentum ever since the pope’s visit to Britain. It will be recalled that during the papal afterglow some very surprising people started to recommend the restoration of the Friday fast. Bishop Kieran Conry, for instance, argued that abstaining from meat on Friday “…. was one of the most obvious signs of Catholic identity, apart from going to Mass. It determined the diet in places like prison and hospital, and was something that Catholics were instinctively conscious of: we knew that we couldn’t have meat like everybody else that day, and it was a source of a sort of pride – it marked us out as different”.

Dr. Germaine Fry Murray adjusts her glasses, May 2010

The Silver Pall for Solemnities

Dr. William E. May : “Standing With Peter: Reflections of a Lay Moral Theologian on God’s Loving Providence”

William E. May
Standing With Peter:
Reflections of a Lay Moral Theologian on God’s Loving Providence
Requiem Press:  Bethune,  South Carolina,  2006
ISBN-10: 0-97-88687-0-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-9788687-0-3
92 pages, paperback
by Reverend Brian Van Hove,  S.J., Ph.D.
Alma, Michigan

Dr. William E. May was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He celebrated his 80th birthday on 27 May 2008. In Chapter One of these autobiographical reminiscences he wrote about his early years in St. Louis where he had a happy childhood. He loved the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet who taught him, and the diocesan priests who served at St. Margaret of Scotland and at St. Luke the Evangelist. He tells about his early dream to become a Maryknoll missionary in China, a dream never realized. May definitely had a positive childhood in “Catholic St. Louis” and his memories of Catholic institutions were a source of joy for him.

In Standing With Peter we also learn about seminary life in Washington, D.C. Archbishop Ritter in 1948 sent William May to the Sulpician Seminary or Theological College as a Basselin Foundation scholar. The foundation had been set up by Theodore Basselin decades earlier to train seminarians in philosophy, English and public speaking. During those fine years May met a number of fellow students who went on to become well known in the story of American ecclesiastical life ― among them were Joseph Bernardin, Christopher Huntington and Jude Patrick Dougherty.

In 1954 May left the seminary and subsequently worked for two Catholic publishing houses, first the Newman Press in Westminster, Maryland, and then for the Bruce Publishing Company in Milwaukee; Bruce (formerly “Bruss”) was the largest Catholic publishing house of the era.

He left Maryland for Milwaukee in the hope of finding a young Catholic woman, and met Patricia Ann Keck, a St. Louisan, on 13 December 1957. They met at a pre-Christmas dance sponsored by the Catholic Alumni of Milwaukee, a group of graduates from Catholic colleges around the country. Bill and “Pat”, as he called her, married on 4 October 1958 at St. Mary’s Church in Mount Vernon, Illinois. Eventually they had seven children. William May earned a doctorate in philosophy from Marquette University in 1968, but continued in the profession of book editor until entering academic life at The Catholic University of American in the fall of 1971.

Since then May has been professor of “Christian ethics” or moral theology. To his regret, in a moment of weakness in 1968 he signed the protest against Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae vitae”. Though he inwardly repented of this act, by 1971 he had not yet made a formal public retraction, and he wrote that this probably made him a more favorable candidate to be hired at CUA. Charles Curran, the mastermind of the dissent movement among the American Catholic academics, was then teaching in the CUA Theology Department.

William E. May spent the rest of his academic career after 1971 promoting and defending the morality of the Church, with special reference to the teaching on contraception and abortion. In 1978 he was instrumental in founding The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. In 1986 Pope John Paul II appointed him to the International Theological Commission, and in 1991 to the present he has taught moral theology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family inWashington, D.C. In 2008 he directed the successful doctoral dissertation of Father James G. Knapp, S.J., a faculty member of Saint Louis University High School.

Given his defense of “Humanae vitae” over a long career, and his high profile position at The Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America, St. Louisan Dr. “Bill” May was pleased at the announcement that in 2008 a symposium entitled “The Legacy of Humanae Vitae: 40 Years”, co-sponsored by Saint Louis University’s School of Nursing and the Office of Natural Family Planning of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, was held on July 25 and 26.

The final chapter and the concluding reflections of Standing with Peter carry the title “The Battle Over Contraception and Its Significance”. May succinctly explained the dualistic understanding of the human person which is explicit in the contraceptive act, and how it is philosophically incompatible with a Catholic theology of the body.

Published in the St. Louis Review, vol. 67, no. 22 (30 May 2008): 14.