Catholic Culture

On Tunicled Acolytes

There is an idea that I have been toying around for some months now; that is the practice of tunicled acolytes.
Normally, we can see tunicled crucifers alone in some Latin Mass communities, but in our case the practice of tunicled acolytes go far back to the days of King Philip II of Spain and the Emperor Charles V. It was brought to our shores (speaking about my homeland, the Philippines of course), and has been in use for large churches until the post-war Era, when the Church in the Philippines not only became poor but succumbed to the influence of the American Catholic way of doing things. Hence,  the proliferation of the Gothic or the American Roman cut over the Spanish cut, the repudiation of the use of the cortina for solemn feasts, wedding cake Gothic or neoclassical altars among others.  But that is a topic for another day.

But why toy around with tunicled servers? I firmly believe that the Roman Rite (I am referring to the Old Rite of course) has been celebrated with diverse uses that adorn it per country. To revive a usage that has been fallen by the wayside a few decades ago is laudable. It brings back an entire liturgical culture that has fed an entire generation of faithful.

To revive the Traditional Latin Mass is essential, no doubt, but the next step is adorning it with the laudable customs of old, and rejecting what is tawdry, saccharine and gaudy. 

To restore tunicled acolytes to solemn occasions adds the flavour and solemnity to an otherwise usual Missa Cantata, for example. There are some groups who does not have the resources to have a Missa Solemnis (Solemn Mass) By having tunicled acolytes one could introduce another level of solemnity to an otherwise usual Missa Cantata. This is not saying that a Missa Cantata is not enough, but instead it is all done in the principle of adorning the Sacred Liturgy with the treasures of the past.

I would also say the same with regards to the other lost customs. But that is for another post and for another day.

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