I had no clue what it was, exactly. We sat towards the back, so it was hard to distinguish each ritual, each vestment or other liturgical object. But, I knew that if it had gone away, I wanted to know what it was, and why it had disappeared.
A few years' later, I discovered the blog of Fr. Zuhlsdorf. He has often posted about the maniple, and has pointed out that it fell into disuse after the Missal of Paul VI was implemented. However, it was never abrogated. This view was also shared by a priest writer for ZENIT, the apostolate dedicated to answering our questions and reporting from Rome, which Father Z shared. Apparently, it comes from the website of the Office of Liturgical Ceremonies of the Supreme Pontiff, taking the lead of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. They both highly recommend using the vesting prayers, which are obligatory only in the Extraordinary Form.
5) The maniple is an article of liturgical dress used in the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Holy Mass of the Roman Rite. It fell into disuse in the years of the post-conciliar reform, even though it was never abrogated. The maniple is similar to the stole but is not as long: It is fixed in the middle with a clasp or strings similar to those of the chasuble. During the celebration of the Holy Mass in the extraordinary form, the celebrant, the deacon and the subdeacon wear the maniple on their left forearm. This article of liturgical garb perhaps derives from a handkerchief, or "mappula," that the Romans wore knotted on their left arm. As the "mappula" was used to wipe away tears or sweat, medieval ecclesiastical writers regarded the maniple as a symbol of the toils of the priesthood.
|The late '60s? Guess who it is!|
Anyways,I saw a cloth in his hands that matched the vestments, and it was weird since his chasuble was on; that meant it couldn't be the stole! Then, I saw the piece of elastic, kind of like a pants waistband (for athletic shorts), that signaled it was a maniple! Keep in mind, on Sundays I only serve the Ordinary Form.
Outside, I said, "I wondered when that was coming back." Remember that he is a canonist, and does not take these things lightly.
"Well, you know it was never abrogated."
There you have it.