FIDDLEBACK CHASUBLES

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I am not particularly fussy about the cut of vestments I use. Most priests in the TAC wear both Roman (fiddleback) and Gothic styles, depending what a given church has in its sacristy. Nearly all my vestments are fiddlebacks, but I do have a couple of Gothic-shaped chasubles - one rather nice one in black with red orphreys and a simple yellow set I usually use with my travelling Mass kit.

Until recently, I would simply say that I use what I've got, even though my altar is in medieval English style. Then, I was flabbergasted when one of my Use of Sarum list members came up with something on his blog Medieval Ecclesiastical Art - an English medieval chasuble that is almost identical in cut to a 19th century French chasuble like the one I wore for our Christmas Mass (shown above). Here it is:

This is a very glorious fourteenth century Constable chasuble, a wonderful example of the Opus Anglicanum embroidery English needleworkers were famous for. See this entry of my friend's blog. It can thus be said that fiddlebacks were worn in the days of riddel posts and hanging pyxes, and would thus perfectly fit in with the English tradition. They are not to be stigmatised and associated with a particular theological tendency within late Anglo-Catholicism.

I appreciate order and discipline in the liturgy. Dom Bernard Botte once said that one has to incense an altar somehow, and it doesn't hurt to be told how to do so. However, good liturgical practice should not degenerate into pharisaical rubricism, extending to the cut of vestments, just as long as they recognisably conform to traditional standards, whether they are fiddleback or Gothic.

I hope soon to produce a page with images of all my vestments, including dalmatics and copes. I have two chalices, two ciboria and a fine early 19th century baroque monstrance. The only thing I am still looking for is a pax brede (instrument of peace).