I'm doing something I typically don't like to do. I'm going to post photos without a clear source or explanation. I searched for definitive sources and explanations, but didn't find much. I'm going ahead anyway because I'm intrigued. Maybe someone will be able to point me in the right direction?
I saw most of these Catholic funeral vestments on Pinterest first. A Google search led me to various Catholic blogs with photos, but provenance was often weak.
So, here is what I've learned: Catholic priests no longer wear black at funerals. This is because of the Second Vatican Council that took place during the 1960s and modernized the Catholic liturgy. (Don't quote me on this kids, my history of the Catholic Church is shaky at best.) There does seem to be a small movement to put priest back in black though, which is kind of cool. I love renegade priests.
Priests also haven't worn vestments (or chasubles) with skulls on them since before the eighteenth century. There is some reason for this, but most of the explanations were quoted in Latin which I never took in high school so you'll have to trust me.
Now, I give you photos with no good history, but are surely lovely to look at. Enjoy.
I think this chasuble is from Pomerania dating from the mid-eighteenth century.
This one (below) has no source either but comes from an amusing blog post by a priest discussing a rumor that white vestments would no longer allowed at funerals.
This is the reverse side of the above chasuble found on the New Liturgical Movement blog.
I don't know anything about the following vestments.
The image below was off of Google images. It linked to a blog called PhatMass (not kidding) and a post called Bad Vestments
. I can't make this stuff up. There was no picture on the blog, though, so I just don't know...
After finding these images, I'm more fascinated than ever. I did learn a few things: there are some interesting Catholic blog discussions going on; no one seemed very concerned with exploring the real meaning of the vestments or their history; and you should always read the comments on blog posts. I had a few chuckles reading comments that asked if these vestment were for black masses or satanic rituals. Some commented that if they wore this type of vestment today their congregation would be horrified. I sort of wish this type of vestment would make a come-back. It might inspire some serious contemplation.