Follow up to 1st Vespers: COPES

I tip my biretta to MG who alerted me to the differences in the wonderful John XXIII cope used by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the 1st Vespers ceremony the other day. 

Here is the cope as worn by Pope Benedict.

Here is the cope worn by Pope Paul VI.

Notice anything different?

Keep in mind that Pope Paul was fairly tall, and Pope Benedict is not.  Also, remember that the cope is generally help up by deacons when moving, so the length was not a problem for either Paul or Pope John.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Brian Day says:

    Got to love those Italian tailors.

  2. Guy Power says:

    And thank goodness Pope Benedict XVI is not so short that the tailor had to remove the Stemma! Fr. Guy would have cried!!

    –Guy (naw…. I’m the other Guy)

  3. Johnny Domer says:

    Aw, come on…why did they shorten it?

    The cope when it was used by Paul VI was actually called a “papal mantle,” and I guess it was only used on more special occasions (that was at Vatican II when Paul VI was wearing it). I’m going to guess Don Guido wanted it shortened so it would just be a cope and so it could be used in more ordinary liturgical functions like Vespers, etc. According to the wikipedia, its use ended under (*gasp*) Paul VI after the post-VII reforms.

    The other major difference between the two pictures is that Benedict doesn’t have a dour Cardinal Ottaviani standing next to him, which would definitely make his picture way cooler.

  4. Theodorus says:

    I think Paul VI and Benedict XVI are about the same height, the long papal mantle just made Paul VI look taller. I hope they just folded the hem inward rather than cutting off.

  5. Actually, papal mantles are supposed to reach from 7 up to 10 feet in length,
    so I was wondering why the cope worn by Pope Benedict XVI was, well, short
    as a modern cope, even though it was John XXIII vintage.

  6. Graham says:

    It would have been nice to have seen him attended by two Cardinal Deacons,
    but it was wonderful all the same!

  7. Berolinensis says:

    From the pictures where the cope is held open for walking (e.g. ), you can see that it was not folded in, but really cut off, a pity. However, in comment on Hallowedground (where this was originally discussed), latinmass1983 said: “Someone told me that it was Paul VI who shortened it to its current state, but still, there are other Manto’s in the Papal Sacristies waiting to be used.”

  8. Adam says:

    Well there are differences, but viewers ought note that Card Ottaviani, next to
    Paul VI is not wearing an alb while he is wearing the deacon’s vestment. Why is
    this so? Half dressed perhaps and you would not see that today. Also, paul VI
    was not that tall either. I have stood next to Paul VI at an audience in the
    vatican when he was alive and he was only about 5ft 9ins at the most, not much
    taller than Benedict. But the old vestments are being brought out of
    storage by Marini II since he took over in late october. The big change though
    was the raised dais at Vespers last Sunday which is a throwback to Paul VI
    time. So, this could now be a solid restoration which is good for St Peter’s
    and ought be in regular use. Semper fidelis…

  9. Christian says:

    The cope was shortened by Paul VI. Ottaviani is wearing a rochet rather than an alb because the deacon and sub-deacon of honour in a Pontifical Mass from the Throne wear that in the old rite. In the New Rite equivalent they should wear albs like the first deacons. That said, if one goes to ‘Orbis Catholicus’ and sees pictures of some of the better Cardinals taking possession of their churches (ie. in the context of a full Pontifical Mass in the New Rite) their deacons of honour are wearing rochet as if it were the Old Rite. I must say… I am not complaining!

  10. David Kubiak says:

    It has been observed many times on these blogs that the Deacons at the Throne
    at a trad. Pontifical Mass, Papal or otherwise, do not wear an alb, but the dalmatic
    directly over the surplice or rochet. To do otherwise is unrubrical.

    What I always notice in these “close to the end” pictures from the early
    60’s is how sad Cardinal Ottaviani looks. I never neglect an op-
    portunity to say ‘Laudetur semper nomen eius a nobis omnibus’.

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