The Pseudo-Distinction Between Rose and Pink


After Gaudete Sunday I noticed a number of priests on social media posting on the supposed difference between rose and pink. I claim that this distinction has very little foundation in reality; it has more to do with contingent cultural associations with the word “pink” than with a fair reading of the rubrics of the Roman Missal, or of the actual tradition of vestment making in the Roman Rite. The rubrics indeed speak of rose, but this could just as well be translated pink, since Latin does not have a separate term for pink. Indeed many languages (eg. German) make no distinction between the two colors.

Both of the English words are derived from flowers, but roses and pinks come in myriads of overlapping shades.

Indeed, as soon as one begins to think about the naming of colors, one’s native Platonism begins to give way, and one begins to suspect that there is something to…

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4 thoughts on “The Pseudo-Distinction Between Rose and Pink

  1. I respectfully disagree.

    As Catholics, language is important. How we say our words, what words we use, and in what context means the world to us.

    So, yes, there is a distinct difference between ‘Rose’ & ‘Pink’. Why do the words exist in the first place?


  2. The priest at the local parish said that part of the joy of Gaudete Sunday is that we get to see the priest in rose vestments, which he was clearly identifying as pink (and hence funny-looking on a man). He also said that the white of Christmas plus the violet of Advent equals the rose of Gaudete Sunday. I’m not quite convinced how that fits on a classic color wheel, but okay.


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