This week I have been working on a new series for Pray Tell that has me digging through Collegeville’s liturgical vaults. Working on this project got me thinking: When is it appropriate to use historic vessels and vestments?
Often times, these historic pieces seem ostentatious and at first glance, appear to be incompatible with the reformed liturgy. For instance, the gold thread fiddlebacks of yesteryear are hardly ever used within the context of the post-Vatican II liturgy because for some, they are a symbol of the pre-Vatican II Church and a rallying cry for those who wish to limit its reforms.
I get it. The ardor with which the fiddleback is tied to the Tridentine liturgy makes it unsuitable for fiddlebacks to be used in the post-conciliar liturgy despite their beauty and artistic worth. However, there are other historic items which are less controversial and which could be used today.
How do we prevent our historic vessels and vestments from becoming museum pieces? Vatican II must be our guide when determining what is acceptable to keep in liturgical use.
What are your thoughts? What does your community do with its historic vessels and vestments? Please comment below.