Sunday, April 22, 2018


This model wears this simple alb at the proper length, touching the top of his shoes. Why is it that we see priests and deacons wearing way too short albs in some cases mid calf and dirty and wrinkled? Is this just an OF problem? Have you ever seen albs too short, too dirty and too tattered in an EF Mass?


Henry said...

Sloppy liturgical attire betokens a sloppy attitude--and a lack of respect--for the liturgy itself. Also, a lack of self-respect of the priest for his own role as a priest. Hence, it would be most surprising to see this in an EF priest.

John Nolan said...

The alb would normally be the same length as the cassock (or habit). I've noticed that Dominicans tend to wear their habits above ankle length, so that they can get about more easily, and this is noticeable when they celebrate ad orientem!

A few years ago, when I used to attend the Novus Ordo more frequently than I do now, the celebrant at a cathedral Mass preached the sermon while walking back and forth across the sanctuary. This was annoying in itself but it was made more so by the fact that under his too-short alb he sported a pair of frayed blue jeans.

I was resolved to say something about it to him afterwards but the press of the people exiting the church made this impracticable. The sermon was crummy, too.

The complaint made time and time again about the Novus Ordo in the average parish setting is 'lack of attention to detail'. This is not inherent in the Rite itself. The Oratorians celebrate the OF with as much attention to detail as they do when celebrating the EF. It's a question of attitude. Bergoglio, when he was in BA, used to wear an open-necked alb and no amice, which is very sloppy. As Pope he no longer does this, so Guido Marini has had some effect!

I recently watched again a video of B XVI celebrating Mass. He seemed engaged in the liturgy, not just when he was singing or saying it, but when he was listening to (say) the Gloria. His eyes said it all. PF, by contrast, mumbles the prayers in a perfunctory manner and spends a lot of time looking glumly at his (black) boots.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I have albs that are too short, I am sorry. The reason:

- I bought two that were really marked down, and I didn't really notice they were too short. One I keep in my car so I always have one, especially for Masses at the nursing homes. It does tend to get wrinkled; how can it not?

- My first alb, which I bought when I was a seminarian, is still in use. However, my profile is less vertical than it used to be, so the material has to make more of a detour before it reaches my shoes. As a result, it no longer does.

- I do not pay anyone to iron my albs, and I do not iron them myself. Nor do I ask anyone to do it.

TJM said...

I encountered a young priest in the sacristy prior to Mass back in the 1970s. Instead of a parish priests I knew, a young, long-haired man in blue jeans and a sweatshirt showed up and began vesting for Mass. I looked at him and said "you've got to be kidding showing up like this!." The "Mass" he celebrated was not edifying in the least. He left the priesthood shortly thereafter to live with a man. We were fortunate he left.

Henry said...

"I recently watched again a video of B XVI celebrating Mass. He seemed engaged in the liturgy, not just when he was singing or saying it, but when he was listening to (say) the Gloria. His eyes said it all. PF, by contrast, mumbles the prayers in a perfunctory manner and spends a lot of time looking glumly at his (black) boots."

Indeed, the difference in their liturgical attitudes and degrees of engagement could hardly be more obvious. As I've said here before, any claim of liturgical continuity between Benedict and Francis is arrant nonsense.

The mere fact. that under Msgr. Marini's direction there are no bongo drums or dancing girls, does not mean that current papal Masses are exemplary. They're not.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. Fox mentioned his albs are too short, and sometimes wrinkled.

Father, I belong to what is called the St. Martha's Guild at our parish, we take care of repairing vestments and cassocks, and also altar linens, for our church. The parish has a professional dry cleaner and laundry that takes care of the cleaning and washing of vestments and altar linens, but we do mending and occasional ironing (but not too much ironing).

With regards to your albs being too short, that could probably be remedied inexpensively with a piece of cloth of the same type added to the bottom to increase the length. A liturgically appropriate lace or other trim between the alb and new piece would make it look like it was made that way, or some type of trim over the place where the new piece is sewn on would make it look right. Like this:

Or this:

I wonder if you could find some interested parishioner(s) who know how to sew to do this for you, and do other minor sewing repairs for you. They also may be willing to press some of your vestments to help you out. It really isn't too much work, and it's very rewarding for us to help out this way.

Our St. Martha's Guild group meets on Saturday mornings for an hour or two. It is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours. The priests and brothers of our parish leave items to be mended in a closet nearby the room where we meet, with a note describing what needs to be done. Sometimes they just need buttons sewn back on. Sometimes they bring us the item to show us what's wrong and what's needed. We do the fix, and hang it back in the closet for them.

Maybe you could find a couple of people in your parish who could do this for you. They wouldn't necessarily have to meet at the parish, they could take the items home and do the work there.

God bless.

TJM said...


I knew that's why the priests at St. John Cantius all look so professional!

By the way, how is Father Phillips doing? I think and pray for him often.

ByzRC said...

We must be prepared for an 'Anonymous' to 'teach' us why we shouldn't care about those types of externals and only the sacrifice itself. Well, we should care. If in a hospital, I think I would care greatly instruments used for my care were dirty or, not maintained. Why should here be any different unless laziness and sloppiness were the order of the day. I'm sympathetic to some extent to what Fr. Fox mentions but, among the distractions that one seems to find with the OF are ill fitting vestments. This is particularly pronounced/distracting when the wearer's trousers aren't black and the shoes non formal. If worn at Grandma's funeral, one can at times think, "After a lifetime of being Catholic, she deserved better".

As for the EF, what to say. I have NEVER attended one where great care was not provided even for the smallest of details.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

TJM, well, although we do our best, I don't think the St. Martha's Guild can take credit for the high standards set by the priests for the look of the altar, vestments, and their own dress.

With regards to Fr. Phillips, I don't know what the restrictions on him are, but we have not heard anything as a parish from him. I was told by one of the priests Father is in good spirits and doing well. He told them this all would be for the greater glory of God, and for that he is happy. He asked for prayers for himself, Cardinal Cupich and his staff, and for the accuser.

An anonymous parishioner set up a web site where people can list prayers and devotions they are saying for Father, the Canons Regular, and all involved. It's helpful to see how many people are praying a great deal for this situation.

Thanks for your prayers.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Heck, you can't really see the alb these days---the chasuable about covers it all up. In days of old, you would have those Fiddlestick or Gothic chausables that allowed you to see much of the alb---maybe we should go back to those days. Chasubles these days are too long---and bulky looking.

At Barbara Bush's funeral, the clergy (except for the two bishops present) wore albs and a beautiful gold stole---I suppose if they wanted a more somber service, they would have worn a cassock, surplice and stole. Unlike days of old, in the Episcopal Church today, most clergy wear a chasuble when celebrating the Eucharist (thought it is not required)---and then there are the more "Low Church" parishes wear the celebrant wears just an alb or stole---or even "choir dress".

TJM said...


Thanks for the update on Father Phillips. I am glad to hear he is doing fine under the circumstances.

Anonymous said...

This Anonymous isn't going to say we should not care about keeping vestments clean. Remember, cleanliness is next to Godliness.