Vestments for a consistory

According to a a communique of the Office of Pontifical ceremonies, on Petrus:

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI may use for the Saturday consistory a miter of Pius IX, with images of the Blessed Virgin and the Lord, a cope of guilded silk with a stole coming from perhaps the 16th century, with images of Sts. Peter and Paul. 

On the feast of Christ the King, he will use a miter for for him and a chasuble used by John Paul II for his last consistory but made for Paul VI. The chasuble made with part of an old cope with an image of Christ the King with the three-tiered tiara, sceptre and orb.

Is seems as if theological statements are being made in the symbols of vestments.

It might be worth tuning in to see this.

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  1. Berolinensis says:

    I think this peace is somewhat confused: For the consistory proper, the Pope would wear choir habit (rochet and mozzetta), not cope and mitre. In an editorial of the same Petrus site ( everything becomes clearer – since this is making much more sense, I guess the guy who wrote the piece you quoted mixed up a few things. According to this editorial the Pope will wear the mitre of bl. Pius IX – which was given to him on the occasion of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854) and which shows sumptuous pictures of the Immaculate Virgin and of the Redeemer – for the Mass on Sunday. The chasuble, which has been worn already by John Paul II but was made in the Pontificate of Paul VI using the “stolone” (the broad, embroidered strip of cloth which runs along the edges of a cope in the front, from the shoulders to the bottom) of an antique (that must be the “perhaps 16th century” then) cope, which depicts Christ the King according to the traditional iconography: the triple crown (Tiara) on His head, the sceptre in His right and the orb (“sphera mundi”) in His left.

    So, from this it appears that the Pope will wear choir habit for the Consistory proper like last year, and these incredible vestments for the Mass on Sunday. I’d say, something to look forward to.

  2. Berolinensis says:

    Lest my comment become unintelligible: Originally, Father had only posted the first and second paragraphs, corresponding to the Petrus article linked to. The third paragraph of Father\’s post, as it is now, is trying to reconcile the two Petrus articles (the one linked to by Father and the second one quoted by me). However, I think the first one was simply confused. Looking at the chasuble John Paul II b.m. actually wore at the 2003 consistory, I think it is quite unlikely that it is the one described in the editorial:

  3. Timothy James says:

    Anyone know if this will be on EWTN?

  4. Berolinensis says:


    I don’t know, but you can watch it via internet on the Vatican Television,

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    Anyone know if this will be on EWTN?


    From St. Peter’s Square, Consistory with Pope Benedict XVI as he elevates 23 prelates to the level of cardinal.
    Sat, 11/24/07 4:30 AM Live
    Sat, 11/24/07 2:00 PM Encore

    Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Holy Mass for the Feast of Christ the King with the 23 New cardinals Concelebrating and receiving the Cardinal ring.
    Sun, 11/25/07 4:30 AM Live
    Sun, 11/25/07 12:00 PM Encore
    Mon, 11/26/07 12:00 AM Encore

  6. Matthew Mattingly says:

    If the Pope is gong to wear a mitre from the time of Bl. Pius IX, then I suppose it won’t be the horrible squat mitres He and JP II favored lately. These short mitres are stylish with the Anglicans Iwhich is why I don’t like them), but actually, they represent a very ancient type of mitre from about the 10th-15th centuries. After the 15th century, the mitres got taller and much more ornate until the Baroque period they were positively huge. Pius XII and John XXIII wore this type. Encrusted with beads, and precious jewels and embroidery. Sapphires, and amethysts actually sewn into the gold material. Magnificent.
    I don’t think Benedict XVI will wear this type this weekend. But his choices for vesture seem to be improving with the new MC, Guido Marini. I can’t wait to watch it on TV.

  7. Matt Q says:

    Look forward to what the Pope wears at the Consistory, no matter what he wears is his Prerogative.

    Matthew’s comment is very telling. Many bishops wear those squat little Protestant-looking mytres, which, yes, I dislike as well. In fact, it’s the IN thing here in Los Angeles where all six of our bishops look like Episcopalians. Obviously they do that on purpose.

  8. Patrick Rothwell says:

    “Many bishops wear those squat little Protestant-looking mytres, which, yes, I dislike as well. In fact, it’s the IN thing here in Los Angeles where all six of our bishops look like Episcopalians. Obviously they do that on purpose.”

    I’m sorry, but this post is complete drivel and totally uncalled for. To describe mitres worn by the ancient English Catholic bishops as “Protestant” headdress is completely ridiculous. Now, of course, these miters are popular with Episcopal bishops. But, historically, with the exception of the non-jurors and Samuel Seabury, the first Episcopal bishop of the United States, the only Anglican bishops who wore miters up until about 30 years ago were associated with the Anglo-Catholic movement of the 19th-20 century or otherwise “High Churchmen” with a high view of the episcopacy and the sacraments. Indeed miters were quite controversial amongst low and latitudinarian churchmen who went bonkers over photographs of mitred Anglican bishops such as the famous “Fond du Lac Circus.” Occasionally, some of the more Anglo-Catholic bishops wore the tall baroque miters mentioned above. Back when I was an Episcopalian 20 years ago or so, there was an episcopal consecration in my diocese in which one of the participating bishops wore a HUGE precious miter as ornate as anything John XXIII wore. Now, of course, the miters lack theological meaning in Anglican circles since even the crazies wear them – in fact, you should see the bizarre miters worn these days by the current President Bishop and people like Barbara Harris – but that’s beside the point.

    Nor is it charitable or accurate to say that all of your LA bishops wear small miters – the same miters that virtually all other Catholic bishops wear these days – so that they can be more “Episcopalian” – if for no other reason, the liturgy would be more tasteful, even if vacuous and vague – not to mention the fact that Cardinal Mahony, and much could be said about him, is hardly a theological clone or wannabe of his Episcopal counterpart, Bishop Bruno.

  9. Geoffrey says:

    I’m watching the consistory live on EWTN… the mitre looks magnificent! And the throne that His Holiness is stting in looks different to me… very big and ornate… very nice!

  10. Berolinensis says:

    So it turns out the first report actually was accurate – mitre and cope for the consistory. And a splendid sight it was, especially together with the throne. I think the Holy Father already used this throne for his last Christmas address to the Curia, but as far as I know, this is the first time this throne was used for a liturgy inside St. Peter’s for quite a long time. Now, if only it could be moved back to the apse, in front of the Cathedra, where it belongs.

  11. prof. basto says:

    The pope wore beautiful vestments today. A sign of the times of the new Mons.
    Marini. However, I have a question: Why is it that Popes preside
    over some ordinary public consistory for the creation of new Cardinals in
    pontificals (Mitre and Cope) and preside over other consistories of the same
    kind in choir dress (mozzeta)?

    Pope Benedict presided over his first consistory for the creation of new
    cardinals wearing his ermine mozzetta (a.k.a. winter mozzetta), and therefore
    he was vested in choir. Now, for his second consistory, he chose to be vested
    in pontificals (mitre and cope).

    Surely, wearing choir vestments, especially
    the ermine mozzeta, highlights that the creation of new cardinals is an act
    of jurisdiction, of supreme governance, while the wearing of pontificals
    places emphasis on the ordinary public consistory as a pontifical liturgical

    However, shouldn’t there be (or, wasn’t there in the past) a standard rule
    regulating the vesture of the pope for an ordinary public consistory? I mean,
    Mitre and Cope are liturgical vestments, and the mozzetta is an extra-liturgical
    vestment. For the same action (ordinary public consistory) the pope should
    always wear the same kind of vestments, either liturgical
    or extra-liturgical, but not sometimes liturgical and sometimes extra-liturgical.

    I have seen at least one photo(Dappled Photos blog) showing Pope Pius XII presiding over
    an ordinary public consistory for the creation of new cardinals. The picture
    I recall depicts Pope Pius placing the red hat on the head of a new cardinal,
    and the Pope was wearing the ermine mozzetta .

    Now, Pope John Paul II almost never wore the mozzetta, and never wore the
    ermine mozzetta. As a result, and given that the mozzeta constitutes the
    Pope’s choir dress, during his pontificate Pope John Paul II either wore plain
    habbit (in the form of the white papal cassock with white sash) or sacred
    liturgical vestments. Thus, all consistories of John Paul II were presided
    by the pope clad in pontificals. For his first consistory, Pope Benedict,
    who had restored the use of both forms of the mozzetta, seemed to re-introduce
    the practice of presiding over the creation of new cardinals in choir dress.

    But now, the Pope reverted back to wearing pontificals for a consistory, and
    left me confused. I have got to say, though, that the vestments were magnificent.
    I was glad to see the big Throne, and a Mitre truly beffiting a Pope, that was
    once worn by blessed Pope Pius IX.

  12. There is no hard and fast rule about what the Pope wears for the consistory. It depends on a) the MC, b) the location and sometimes c) the desire and/or capability of the Pope. Comparisons to what used to happen before the pontificate of Pope Paul VI aren’t helpful because the entire way of creating cardinals was changed. So, making comparisons to what was done by, say, Pius XII is irrelevant.

    Now the creation of cardinals has gone from 3 ceremonies to two and the conferral of the galero has been replaced by the conferral of the biretta as the “principal” ceremony. Keep in mind that while it is not a sacrament the Public Consistory to create cardinals has the character of the LITURGY of the Word.

    In the past Pope John Paul II sometimes wore choir dress and sometimes wore vestments. Yes, he DID wear choir dress for some of his consistories when he was younger. When he became older and more ill he seemed to favor vestments as they were easier to put on. At his last consistory he wore a cope directly over his cassock without an alb or a rochet because it was easier to put on so his health was a factor. In addition, these consistories have occaisionally taken place in the Aula Paolo VI where it may have been felt that choir dress was more appropriate than vestments. The same could be said for the piazza although the Pope routinely says mass there so that hardly makes sense.

    Moving the event into the basilica (Pope Benedict’s preference) would indicate that it would be better to preside at a liturgy of the Word in vestments.

    I think two things are at work here. The first is a new MC. We shouldn’t underestimate that. I believe the Pope chose his new MC because he definitely wanted to make a break with what had been done. In addition, I think we should all get used to things (candles on the altar, vestments, music, etc.) being different because I think the Pope is purposely trying to set a new tone slowly and very deliberately. So far, the differences have been small and relatively unimportant as if more matters of style than anything else. Nevertheless, there are too many and they are too noticeable simply to be accidents.

    Finally, I think everyone should stop trying to reach conclusions about what “has always been done” especially when that is based solely on events in the pontificate of John Paul II. Even a cursory examination of such matters over the last 40 years will show that many of these items of minutia concerning papal ceremonies can and do change from Pope to Pope and from MC to MC. So, there won’t be a set way the Pope should “always” vest for consistories, etc. and we should just learn to live with that in my opinion. These things are not, contrary to desire and/or belief, written in stone.

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