Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict
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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Papal Mozzetta: To wear or not to wear; that is the question

Just what is a Mozzetta? From the Catholic Encyclopedia:


A short, cape-shaped garment, covering the shoulders and reaching only to the elbow, with an open front, which may be fastened by means of a row of small buttons; at the neck it has a very small and purely ornamental hood. The privilege of wearing the mozzetta belongs properly to no one but the popecardinals, exempt abbotsabbots general, and the four prelates di fiochetti;... the pope's mozzetta, is always red, except that, in Easterweek, he wears a white one. As regards material, hismozzetta, during the winter half-year, that is, from the feast of St. Catherine to Ascension Day is made of velvet or of cloth according to the character of the day or ceremony; in the summer half-year it is made of satin or fine woolen material (merino). It is edged with ermine only in the winter half-year...The mozzetta is not a liturgical vestment, consequently, for example, it cannot be worn at the administration of the sacraments. Sometimes it is traced back to the cappa, this making it merely a shortened cappa; sometimes to the almutia. From which of the two it is derived, is uncertain. The name mozzetta permits both derivations. In all probability the garment did not come into use until the latter Middle Ages. It was certainly worn in the latter half of the fifteenth century as is proved by the fresco of Melozzo da Forli painted in 1477: "Sixtus IV giving the Custody of the Vatican Library to Platina". From the beginning the mozzetta has been a garment distinctive of the higher ecclesiastical dignitaries, the popecardinals, and bishops.

7 comments:

Freyr said...

I think I get it now. The mozzetta is a kind of security blanket that reassures traumatized traditionalists that everything is all right.

Barona said...

Let us place traumatized traditionalists to one side.... they are a straw man.

I think, the real point is that Papal actions, words are - for better or worse - scrutinized. Pope Francis has to adapt overnight from being a somewhat obscure archbishop from a country being run by a crypro-fascist neo-pagan with hangups over the Falklands.

People - who actually have been traumatized - are looking for continuity. perhaps for some, the Mozzetta is one little piece of the puzzle of continuity. I, for one, do not wish to get bogged down in necessarily thinking that declining the Mozzetta is a good thing. It might well be; it may be not. Pius X was a Pope of change - but he lived in a time of full papal power (unlike the Popes following the changes post 1967 with Stato taking over the Vatican)...

Vox Cantoris said...

I really don't expect the "labelling" as you have done Freyr. If I wanted to be labelled and insulted I would read a puerile blog elsewhere.

Yes, security blankets are important.

I will say it again, had the generation today over 60 and their parents not sat by while the iconoclasts spent millions destroying churches and patrimony instead of helping the poor we would not be where we are today.

Freyr said...

I was 15 years old when Vatican 2 closed and I was going through my own difficulties. By age 19 I was on the streets and not even attending mass. I had nothing to do with destroying churches or the liturgy. I suggest you find another scapegoat.

Barona said...

Brothers!!!! Let us calm down!!! We ARE brothers, are we not?? On the Feast of St. Joseph?? !

Let us not forget the words of St. John: "Little children, let us love one another"... "let us love, because love is of God"...



James M said...

I suspect that the mozzetta, itself, hasn't been abandoned by Pope Francis (although the more elaborate forms of it surely have been). Notice how he uses the pastoral stole: he dons it only when the moment requires, and then removes it. He doesn't wear it when it isn't called for, as an adornment.

I think the papal mozzetta (along with the rochet) is going to be used by this Pope only as the situation calls for it. The mozzetta and rochet are, properly speaking, elements of choir dress. When papal choir dress is called for, I expect we'll see the pope wearing the mozzetta and rochet (just like any other bishop). It seems, however, that he will not wear choir dress for purposes of state, as his predecessors did. It makes sense, though, when you think about it.

Tom Redd said...

Thank goodness that Pope Francis is taking the Gospels to heart. The Gospel clearly prohibited religious leaders from prancing around is the kinds of outfits the last pope wore. Matthew's gospel is pretty strong on these types of unchristian displays. I look forward to a time when the papacy can return to the traching of Jesus. No more of these kingly outfits and no more of "His Holy Father" this or that. But more of in Christ we are all equal brothers and sisters.