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Roman Chasuble

By Author: PSG Vestments
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Roman Chasuble

The Roman chasuble is the outermost liturgical vestment worn by clergy for the celebration of the Eucharist in Western-tradition Christian Churches that use full vestments, primarily in the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches, as well as in some parts of the United Methodist Church.

"The vestment proper to the priest celebrant at Mass and other sacred actions directly connected with Mass is, unless otherwise indicated, the Roman chasuble, worn over the alb and stole". Like the stole, it is normally of the liturgical colour of the Mass being celebrated.

The Roman chasuble originated as a sort of conical poncho, called in Latin a "casula" or "little house," that was the common outer traveling garment in the late Roman Empire. It was simply a roughly oval piece of cloth, with a round hole in the middle through which to pass the head, that fell below the knees on all sides. It had to be gathered up on the arms to permit the arms to be used freely.

As the casula became a liturgical garment in the West, it was folded up from the sides. Strings were generally accustomed assist during this task, and therefore the deacon may facilitate the priest in folding up the perimeters of the gown. starting within the thirteenth century, there was a bent to shorten the perimeters somewhat, as are often noticed within the illustration here of a fifteenth-century Roman chasuble. In the course of that fifteenth century and the following century, the Roman chasuble took something like the modern form, in which the sides of the vestment no longer reach to the ankle but only, at most, to the wrist, making folding unnecessary.

At the end of sixteenth century the Roman chasuble, though still quite ample and covering a little of the arms, had become less similar to its traditional shape than to that which prevailed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the Roman chasuble was reduced to a broad scapular, leaving the whole of the arms quite free, and was shortened also in front and back. To make it easier for the priest to join his hands when wearing a Roman chasuble of stiff material, the front was cut away further, giving it the distinctive shape often called "fiddleback". Complex decoration schemes were often used on Roman chasubles of scapular form, especially the back, incorporating the image of the Christian cross or of a saint; and rich materials such as silk, cloth of gold or brocade were employed, especially in Roman chasubles reserved for major celebrations.

In the twentieth century, there was a tendency to return to an earlier, more ample, form of the Roman chasuble, sometimes called "Gothic", as distinguished from the "Roman" scapular form. This aroused some opposition, as a results of that the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued on nine Gregorian calendar month 1925 a decree against it, that it expressly revoked with the Delawareclaration Circa dubium de forma paramentorum of twenty August 1957, feat the touch on the prudent judgement of native Ordinaries. There exists a photo of Pope Pius XI wearing the more sufficient Roman chasuble while observing Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica as right on time as 19 March 1930.

After the Second Vatican Council the more abundant frame turned into the most as a rule seen type of the Roman chasuble, and the bearings of the GIRM cited above show that the magnificence should originate from its drapery and shape as opposed to expand beautification. Consequently, the pervasiveness today of Roman chasubles that achieve practically to the lower legs, and to the wrists, and brightened with generally straightforward images or groups and ophreys.

Some see a preference for the "fiddleback" as a sign of traditionalism or even rebellion against the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. However, some priests express simply on grounds of taste and comfort a preference for the scapular form, which continues to be included in mainstream catalogues of liturgical vestments; and other traditionalist priests prefer, for similar reasons, ampler Roman chasubles of less stiff material.

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