Coped Cantors during EF Processions
  • It is a very popular custom in Rome and many English-speaking countries to have cantors in copes for processions in the EF. Are the cantors supposed to wear the copes just for the procession or can they wear copes for the ceremonies prior?

    For instance, may cantors wear copes for the blessing of candles at Candlemas or may they only wear it for the procession that follows?
  • In the EF non-clerics may not wear vestments.
  • Sponsa,

    Do you mean that they may not wear copes, chasubles and dalmatics, or do you mean that they may not wear cassock and surplice?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,524
    We (EF) have had coped (Lay) cantor once, it was controversial, Although we can see plenty of examples of (lay) coped cantors in Paris at Masses sung by our Friend in the Schola Sancte Caecilia.

    As for Dalmatics, I have worn one while carrying a Blessed Sacrament canopy, at what would be described as an OF procession generally following EF rubrics! It is normal for our seminarians and occasionally lay men to carry the canopy vested in Dalmatics.
    Thanked by 1Jehan_Boutte
  • awilliamsawilliams
    Posts: 100
    I think, perhaps, a distinction needs to be made here. There are times in the traditional liturgy when a coped minister performs an office which is similar to that of a cantor, such as in Vespers when up to four coped assistants may be used which have the office of intoning antiphons. In such a case, the intention is that these four ministers are the four highest ranking clerics present besides the priest officiant. However, lacking these, it is permissible for the office to be fulfilled by a layperson.

    In the Cathedral office, these ministers are seated on stools in the center of the sanctuary, facing the altar. However, in the monastic usage, they assemble around a lectern usually positioned at the base of the choir on the Abbot's side.

    They are not, however, singers/cantors who are part of the schola, but separate ministers.

    The other times these ministers are employed are Lauds (if celebrated solemnly), and Terce (if a solemn Mass followed immediately). Otherwise, they vest simply in cassock and surplice.
  • Although we can see plenty of examples of (lay) coped cantors in Paris at Masses sung by our Friend in the Schola Sancte Caecilia.

    Indeed. It is a French custom to vest laypeople with copes for greater feasts.
  • I do not know if this is permitted in the standard EF Mass.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • It is a French custom to vest laypeople with copes

    Copes for all!!
  • Whilst looking for something else, I came across this post.

    As was pointed out, coped assistants aren't cantors. Lay people may not wear the cope. You need to be tonsured. Do people do it? Yes. Am I especially scrupulous? No comment. It is also not ordinarily done, and I think it's an affectation, to have coped rulers of the choir or whatever at the TLM.

    Cantors do what the assistants do if there aren't any, or if you only have two. But they're not the same in the context of the office. (Also, it's up to six assistants, not four.)

    There's no real place nowadays for coped cantors in a procession…
  • I find lay people wearing dalmatics (rather than caccock and perhaps surplice, or even albs) much more worrying than lay people wearing copes, which were essentially meant to cover normal choir dress. Dalmatics are proper liturgical vestments in the fullest sense (akin to a chasuble).
  • But the cope has evolved, and it's the proper vestment of a bishop for things like processions that also happens to have other uses.
  • But it’s also a vestment proper to priests, not just bishops. And there are records of whole monasteries dressing in copes “in choir” for festal solemnities. So I don’t think we can say copes are for bishops only. Good Friday is an excellent example, for instance.
  • It’s not proper to priests in the way that the chasuble is. In fact, it was illicit to wear one at baptisms or marriages without indult until quite recently, unless you were a bishop, and outside of the US, or another place with the indult, the norm for the traditional rite is only the surplice (or, for marriages, the Mass vestments without the maniple for convenience).

    I don’t know what about Good Friday is an excellent example.

    In any case, the cope’s other usages for priests (processions, Lauds or Vespers with ceremony) more or less relate to the fact that it is the vestment of the episcopal order, and even if we don’t want to say that the cope has evolved to have a special meaning for bishops, its usage by lay people should, if not bother us, be something to be thought about twice before doing it. It was always worn by tonsured clerics before the modern period, and the rule is explicitly reiterated in Stercky, probably because it was illicitly worn by lay people.