Sunday, 26 December 2010


Today, as you can read on The Tridentine Rite blog, is Gaudete Sunday. There is a lightening in the penitential mood of the Advent Season today, and the Ministers of the Mass may wear violet Dalmatic and Tunicle rather than Folded Chasubles (I had planned on writing something about the history of folded chasubles, but since some would question my knowledge based on a simple human error of fact, I have decided against this), though since about the 18th century, where it be the custom, Rose colour vestments may be worn. I must say that I have never actually seen tasteful Rose colour vestments in the flesh before - and for this reason alone would argue for the use of violet Dalmatic and Tunicle over hideous vestments. But what constitutes the colour Rosacea then? Certainly not the sickly bright pink hue which passes for Rose colour in Traddieland, which probably dates no farther back than the mid 20th century - how traditional! I expect that this is more complex than simply saying that any single colour is ''Rose colour'', and a contrary shade isn't (roses come in many colours), and probably entails something of the history of dying. I personally lean more towards a more purple shade of pink, or would simply use purple vestments (a favourite colour of mine) with a pink cruciform or embellishments - which would encompass the memory of both the colour of the Season, and the lighter mood of the Day.

However traditional the use of Rosacea is, Gaudete Sunday is still an excuse to wear pink and drink pink Port. It wasn't for naught that I bought my mother a pink cashmere scarf for ''Boxing Day''. I wanted one myself but when I looked at it I had already spent well in excess on myself.


  1. Just checking I've got this right: By following the Julian calendar, you are declaring a wish to follow a mistake made by a pagan Roman emperor, rather than a correction made by a Christian pope?

  2. Salve Magister Foster,

    Seems somewhat anachronistic to call Gn. Julius Ceasar an Emperor. Yes he was "Imperator" but in 45BC that was quite different thing to what it came to mean under Tiberius or Claudius.

    I recommend Fergus Millar's "Emperor in the Roman World" to you.

    Happy Christmastide!

  3. Yes, P, very droll!

    We mustn't ever dogmatise things that are a matter of human calculation; which is to say, we mustn't confuse theologia with technologia, or means with ends. The liturgical cycle is bound up with that of the Cosmos, which, being created, is entirely open to rational investigation. Bringing liturgy and cosmos into a more precise synchronicity by the application of technologia is a wholly laudable enterprise, and a proper exercise of the rational faculties.

    Julian Calendarism, on the other hand, arises mainly from the determination of certain of the Orthodox to resist anything capable of being construed as capitulation to western heretics, or engagement in Hell-instructed ecumenism. Although that's understandable (even inevitable)- it's nevertheless unfortunate and (in my opinion) mistaken.

    In any case, your duty couldn't be clearer: follow the calendar prescribed by your bishop. If you can't trust your bishop's judgement because he isn't Orthodox, then you have an absolute responsibility to seek communion with a bishop who is. Anything else is just messing about. God does not mess about.

  4. David Forster, when, at the Synod of Whitby, St Wilfrid argued in favour of the Roman calculation of the date of Pascha over the Celtic reckoning, he argued in favour of the Julian Kalendar because this was, until 1582, the Roman tradition. The Gregorian Kalendar, imposed by the Pope, is an innovation and disrupted the Liturgy. It is by no means a ''pagan error.'' By implication you think the Roman Church was in error for 1500 years? To me it is much more likely that she has been in error since Trent rather than before.

    Anagnostis, my opinion about the Julian Kalendar does, confessedly, have something to do with my reluctance to render the Pope any obeisance beyond that of an ordinary bishop, but I cannot simply throw aside communion with him. He is after all the Bishop of Rome.

  5. David,

    I wouldn't fancy your chances if you said that to Ukrainian Catholics!

    Talking of paganism last time I looked Janus was a two-headed god - it seems the height of paganism to begin the 'New Year' in such a month rather than the old, proper, Christian practice of March 25th.

  6. I cannot simply throw aside communion with him. He is after all the Bishop of Rome.

    If I were a Roman Catholic, that would certainly mean more to me than it seems to mean to you. Perhaps you need to concentrate your prayers on the meaning and content of "communion". A legal fiction, or administrative convenience, or vague cultural attachment, it certainly isn't.

  7. Rubricarius, I agree whole-heartedly. As Tolkien said the Anglo-Saxons believed the 25th March to be the actual date of the Crucifixion - and so it is especially meaningful to begin the New Year with the triumph of Life over Death, and the Lord of all Creation over the Lord of this World. And of course the New Year began in Gondor on 25th March, the date of the destruction of the Ring.

    Anagnostis, the Holy Father's portrait still hangs in my room (though I did do away with the small shrine - and replaced it with another picture of Audrey Hepburn, and a Waterford Crystal vase). Nowadays I think I toast the health and memory of the Pope but simply ignore everything he says. I mean this seems perfectly sensible if the reigning Pope actively encourages such things as the use of six candlesticks and a Crucifix...