I read on an Italian blog (and so this is at the level of rumor for now) that the Roman ecclesiastical tailor shop Gammarelli sent a mozzetta over the the Apostolic Palace. A mozzetta is the elbow length red cape, often trimmed in ermine, worn by the Roman Pontiff over his white cassock.
Tuesday, today, is the Mass of the “inauguration” of Francis’ pontificate.
Tomorrow the Pope has an audience with delegations of Christian ‘churches’. Were the Pope to put on the mozzetta, that would be a good occasion. That would be the apt thing to do. It would be a sign of respect. The Pope will also soon have an audience with the diplomatic corps. The Pope, a head of state, should dress his part. The rest of the diplomats will.
This leads to “the point”, in case some of the enthusiasts run to the combox having missed it.
Remember, a mozzetta, in itself, is nothing. Popes don’t have to wear a mozzetta all the time. There are, however, occasions in which such trappings and signs of office, solemn and traditional, have their proper place. They send signals. The non-use of these symbols also sends signals.
People who say that these things are not important, or are bad, or that they should be eliminated are just plain wrong. That is a naive, shallow, approach to who we are. Catholics are not “either/or” when it comes to the dynamic interplay of the humble and the lofty. We are “both/and”, in proper measure, time and place.