31 March 2011

MANIPLES: the Finer Points

Since maniples are in the news again, I recycle this post from last July. I fail to understand why some fairly traditional clergy regard the maniple with abhorrence, but use burses and veils. Sadly, at the Anglican Shrine in Walsingham, maniples, burses and veils were all - I have been assured in the Sacristy - destroyed in the 1960s.
Moi, I am a pedant. I always take my maniple off before saying the Leonine Prayers at the foot of the Altar. According to O'Connell, this is the strictly logical thing to do ... but it is, he says, commonly ignored.

It is the strictly logical thing to do because only the maniple is worn only during Mass. The Chasuble might sometimes be worn in extra-liturgical ceremonies ... but never* the maniple. I remember that when Paul VI made the maniple optional, there was a most irate article in one of the old-style Anglican Papalist periodicals which still then survived ... it might have been the dear old Pilot ... in which some lovely ancient priest pointed out that, since the maniple is the vestment which par excellence is worn during Mass, the new rule meant, in fact, that some clergy would now be saying Mass unvested.

One of the last of the old generation of Anglican Papalist priests, Fr Clive Beresford, followed such rules to the letter. Back in the early 1960s, in churches where the 'Western Rite' was followed, it was quite common, especially on Sundays, for some little bits of Cranmer to pop their heads above the parapet. For example, after the Secret, Dr Cranmer's Prayer for the Church Militant might be interpolated; after the Postcommunion, his Prayer of Thanksgiving After Communion. When pastoral necessity compelled Fr Beresford to incorporate these dodgy additamenta, he always took his maniple off before doing so.

We Anglican Catholics are a very principled people.


*Except, Rubricarius tells me, in those smaller churches which have the Palm Sunday Blessing of Palms without Deacon or Subdeacon; but then, that ceremony is really a missa sicca, isn't it?


austin said...

Vintage Hunwicke, so redolent of the Anglo-Catholics of yore who thrilled this colonial boy.

In Salisbury, Rhodesia, the dozens of "straw" subdeacons at the cathedral used to strap on maniples to distribute communion at the High Mass. I'm not sure how correct that was, but it was certainly picturesque.

A little sad to hear from the estimable Fr. Nichols that the liturgical register for the English ordinariate will be resolutely modern. To my mind, archaism and antiquarianism were distinctly patrimonial. I should be sorry to leave them in the fading shrine parishes of the CoE.

ardmacha said...

There was a magazine called Crux, didn't Fr Beresford produce it and always called in "crooks", giving an authentically ultramontane sound to it.Wasn't there a papalist one called The Dome ?

Rubricarius said...

One school of thought, certainly popular in the first half of the last century, suggested that the Blessing of Palms was a Missa sicca but other ideas as to its origin have been proposed. Interestingly the old Blessing of Waters at Epiphany had pericopes, responsories, a Creed, Preface, Sanctus, post-Sanctus, Pater noster, Libera me etc and was not described - as far as I am aware - as a Missa sicca the hypothesis that these are forms of solemn blessing, clearly non-Roman in origin, appears more credible.

Paul Goings said...

The other examples of the maniple being worn apart from the Mass, strictly speaking, are the Maundy ceremony, at which the deacon and subdeacon wear the maniple for the reading of the Gospel only (perhaps with the thinking that this was a highly truncated Missa Sicca), and the proclamation of the Exsultet at the Easter Vigil, at which the maniple is worn by the deacon (whether the subdeacon should also wear the maniple for this is a disputed point among the approved authors). The Vigil ceremony itself might be another example of this, although that depends on whether it is considered to be a part of the Mass of the Easter Vigil, or a separate ceremony, even if intrinsically attached (like the Palm Ceremony).

Henri said...