1. Is the deacon required, like the priest, to wear an amice under the alb?
2. What is the authority for the use of the dalmatic by a deacon? Why is it used sometimes and not others,
and what is the proper basis for deciding?
According to the
General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), "All who wear an alb should use a cincture and an amice,
unless other provision is made." (n. 81)
"An amice should be put on first if the alb does not completely cover the street clothing at the neck. (n. 298)
These two passages taken together show that the use of the amice (by priest and deacon) is optional but recommended.
Msgr. Elliot, in his book Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, comments that "Although it is
optional, the amice has a certain hygienic and practical value, especially when priests share the same
albs. It absorbs perspiration and is easily laundered."
According to the GIRM, ". . . for the deacon: alb, stole, and dalmatic; the last may be omitted either out
of necessity or for less solemnity;" (n. 81)
"The dalmatic, worn over the alb and stole, is the vestment proper to the deacon." (n. 300)
The only time that I can see a necessity not to wear a dalmatic is when there are none available.
Since the dalmatic is the vestment unique to the deacon, he should wear it as often as possible. The unfortunate
trend has been to abandon its use completely.
More solemn occasions would include bishops' Masses, feasts and solemnities and sung Masses. Even so, there is no
reason why a deacon could not always wear the dalmatic.