Rubrics (Lat. rubrica, from ruber, red), in classic use, meant the titles or headings of chapters in certain law books, and is derived from the red color of the ink in which these titles were written, in order to distinguish them from the text. In mediaeval and modern use the name is restricted to the directions which are found in the service books of the Church, as to the ordering of the several prayers, and the performance of the sometimes complicated ceremonial by which they were accompanied. The same name, together with the usage itself, is retained in the Church of England Prayer book; and in all these, even where the direction has ceased to be printed in red ink, the name rubric is still retained. Where red ink is not employed, the rubric is distinguished from the text by italics, or some other variety of print. In the Catholic Church a considerable controversy exists as to whether the rubrics of the missal, the ritual, and the breviary are to be considered preceptive or only directive — a question into which it would be out of place to enter. A similar controversy has existed at various times in the English Church. The science of rubrics is with Catholics a special branch of study, the chief authorities on which are Gavanti, Merati, Cavalieri, and other more compendious writers.