This just in – I hear that Bishop Morlino of Madison, WI instructed his priests at a funeral this morning to wear purple or black vestments for funerals. General Instruction of the Roman Missal for the U.S. at no. 346 allows violet, white, or black (in that order) for funerals.

I suppose this might disappoint some, but I have some sympathy for the bishop’s instruction, liturgically speaking. (The political prudence of the decree at this point in time is another question.)

When Sacrosanctum concilium says at no. 81 that “the rite for the burial of the dead should express more clearly the paschal character of Christian death,” I take this to refer to the entire paschal mystery including suffering, death, and resurrection. White is a bit one-sided and too “happy” for my sensitivities. I’m intrigued by the suggestion that we introduce the color gray (grey for some of you) for funerals, a sort of blending of white and black.

Anyone out there have more details on the Madison instructions?

awr