A maniple is a liturgical vestment formerly common in the Roman Catholic Church and occasionally used in some Anglican churches. Its use, in the Roman Catholic Church, was made optional after the Second Vatican Council in the year 1967. It is still seen in those who practice the Tridentine Rite and in some Anglo-Catholic circles.
A maniple is an embroidered band of silk, about 110 cm long, 8 cm wide and with ends about 12 cm wide. In the same liturgical colours as the other vestments, it is worn upon the left arm of the priest. It is only used during the Mass itself, and not during the administration of other sacraments, Benediction, the sermon or Gospel reading (in a Low Mass). Originally it was only a piece of linen with which the clergy used to wipe their face and hands—in a word, a handkerchief. It does not seem to have been used in the Roman liturgy before the 6th century. Symbolically the maniple refers to the rope whereby Jesus Christ was led, and the chains which bound His sacred hands. It also became known as an emblem of the tears of penance, the fatigue of the priestly office and its joyful reward in heaven. In the Anglican church the maniple is also a symbol of servanthood.
The Pope formerly wore a special maniple with intertwined red and gold threads, symbolizing the unity of the Eastern and Western rites of the Catholic Church. This vestment has not been used since the late 1960s.
In the post-Vatican II simplification of liturgical vestments, the maniple was made optional by the Catholic Church for all clergy (it should be noted that the subdiaconate itself was also supressed).