I received this excellent news via e-mail (edited):

When ___ and I were in Rome last February the guy at Gamarelli told us that they were busy making various things for the Pope.  I asked him if they had any plans to make the white silk Mozzetta that the popes used to wear during the Easter Octave.  To my surprise, he said that they had already made one for him, and that he should be wearing it that Easter.  Unfortunately, the Pope didn’t wear it last year.

As you should (hopefully) be able to see below, the Holy Father wore the traditional white Mozzetta today after Mass!  Whether it’s the one made by Gamarelli I don’t know, but who cares. 

It’s another small step in the Benedictine Revolution, reminding us that the Church didn’t start in the mid-1960’s.

Well, folks, lookie here!

We will have to wait for the Wednesday audience to see if he switches to the green shoes, which if memory serves, was part of this custom.  Maybe some of you know more about that.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    And here I thought I knew alot about the history of the customs of the Church! I never knew about this!

  2. Flambeaux says:


  3. D.V.M. says:

    The leftists must be quaking in their boots.

  4. Johnny Domer says:

    Now when exactly does he wear this? The Easter Season? Or just the Octave of Easter? Or just Easter Sunday?

  5. Rob says:

    Excellent! But never knew about the green shoes?

  6. Prof. Basto says:

    During the Easter Octave only, Mr. Domer

  7. Shane says:

    In what way is it different from what the pope normally wears? Is it because it is silk?

  8. Lauren says:

    I have no idea about the green shoes either…Anybody??

  9. TNCath says:

    I’d heard of the white mozzetta but never the green shoes. No doubt there will be naysayers that find this papal fashion change to be merely window dressing and cosmetic. However, this makes a huge statement about the direction in which the Holy Father wants to take the Church. So far we’ve seen the following restored:

    1. The ample pallium
    2. The red shoes
    3. The camauro
    4. The saturnalia
    5. The ad orientem position
    6. Roman and other older styles of vestments
    7. The lacey surplices worn by Msgrs. Marini and Ganswein
    8. The white mozzetta
    9. More widespread usage of Gregorian Chant in Papal liturgies

    and, of course

    10. Summorum Pontificum

    Am I missing anything else?

  10. Mark says:

    “We will have to wait for the Wednesday audience to see if he switches to the green shoes, which if memory serves, was part of this custom. Maybe some of you know more about that.”

    Fr. Z, are these the same [type] green Papal ‘shoes’ I saw when visiting St. Mary’s Basilica in Minneapolis this past year prominently on display from Pope Pius XI?

  11. bryan says:

    I don’t think you’re missing anything. We’ve only (I am sincerely praying) seen the tip of the iceberg…:)

    A lot of bricks to put back that the deconstructionists have scattered all over the place with their picket signs and noisy demonstrations. It will take a little while to put them all back together with the mortar we’ve all contributed by our white martyrdom of sufferering through the silliness.


  12. Prof. Basto says:

    We still need to see the pope wearing the camauro together with the winter ermine-trimmed mozzetta.

    The way Pope Benedict chose to wear the camauro was kind of strange. Perhaps that’s the reason why it was not reppeated. The camauro goes well with the winter mozzetta, though.

  13. Peadar says:

    Since the white mozzetta were worn by both John XXIII and Paul VI, both mid-1960s folks, I don’t understand your comment. If anything, it is a criticism of John Paul II and what he did to the papacy (and its attire) rather than some strike at “liberals” or folks who occupied the Chair in the mid-1960s. Does this mean that with each of these vesture gestures, the imprint John Paul II put on the papacy fades? Is that the point of them?

  14. Chris Peschel says:

    TNCath I think you forgot one

    11. The older style cross/crosier as opposed to the bent cross carried by Paul VI – JPII

  15. It’s also cold as all get out by usual March standards and the poor man had to stand out in the rain a lot this weekend! He needs an extra layer!

  16. TNCath says:

    Peadar wrote: “Does this mean that with each of these vesture gestures, the imprint John Paul II put on the papacy fades? Is that the point of them?”

    No, I don’t think so at all. I believe the papacy of John Paul II has given Benedict XVI the ability to further the authentic interpretation of Vatican II. Everyone seems to forget that John Paul started it with the moral and theological reform of the Church, clarifying Catholic belief and practice via the Catechism, the revision of Canon Law, the appeal to religious to espouse the Essential Elements of Religious life, combating the Culture of Death, etc. Benedict has only picked up where John Paul left off, taking the liturgy as the basis of his reform.

  17. TNCath says:


    Yes, the crosier! Although I didn’t particularly object to the “bent cross.”

    Correction to my previous post where I wrote: “Everyone seems to forget that John Paul…”

    I should have said, “Let us not forget…”

    “Everyone” is an inaccurate term!

  18. Maureen says:

    Ttto “Raspberry Beret”

    Back at that time,
    Church looked like a five and dime
    Archbishop liked his chalice glass
    Went to Mass to dine
    Vestments shouldn’t look too fine
    Peeps in pews should wear jeans and a T

    Don’t know why I kept comin’ round.
    Mass meant somethin’ close to nothin’
    Priest tried bein’ hip, he just was a bore
    That’s when I heard him
    Sayin’ we should turn east
    Sayin’ we should turn to the Lord

    (He wore a)
    Easter mozzetta,
    The kind that Blessed John and Paul the Sixth wore.
    Easter mozzetta
    White for the Octave, joy we’re feelin’ once more.
    Easter mozzetta
    I think it’s cooooool, too.

    Maureen, who had a radio back in the day on which only the
    choruses of pop songs were audible. I do not associate myself or
    this parody with verses I could never make out. :)

  19. Julie says:


    Now, for something truly insightful: Isn’t papa handsome? Don’t you just want to hug him? He’s like a big polar bear with the mozzetta and the cutest english speaking, Italian infused, German accent you ever did hear. Every time I hear the words “I welcome all the English speaking pilgrims here today” I smile ear to ear Great post, Fr. Z.

  20. TNCath,

    You also forgot to mention the seventh candle.

    I would argue, though, that the use of the “ample pallium” is not an actual, real restoration…

  21. Different says:


    Why is it not an actual, real restoration?

  22. RichR says:

    It looks cozy.

  23. Fr Z.

    Will you add some photos of the Sabine farm? I am having withdrawal symptoms.

  24. TNCath says:

    Yes, the seventh candle AND the restoration of the crucifix to the center of the altar. Also, I seem to remember somebody mentioning seeing a chalice veil sometime during Holy Week.

    Why wouldn’t the return of ample pallium not be considered a restoration? Just because Pius XII didn’t wear it? It comes from the first millenium. Remember that the Church didn’t start in the 1930’s, either.

  25. Geoffrey says:

    TNCath: Excellent comments on Pope Benedict continuing where John Paul the Great left off. I firmly believe that was the direction the Servant of God was heading next. Look at his last encyclical… one of (if not the only) documents of his pontificate to be praised by the SSPX! Brick by brick!

  26. Prof. Basto says:

    Daydreaming of the falda…

  27. NC says:

    Ater ‘surviving’ an English seminary in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and having to endure what I have had to endure since then at diocesan ‘inspiring liturgies'(I just don’t go to those nowadays), these little and great changes and moves on the part of HH fill me with such joy!

    I really feel for those older priests who loved tradition but never lived to see the day, but then, DV, they are enjoying much finer things in the Heaveenly liturgy.

    I feel a shopping trip to Rome coning on …..time to ‘rest’ some of our vestments and introduce something a little more comfortable!

  28. Brian Day says:

    Can someone confirm the previous use of green Papal shoes?

    I’ve done a quick Google search on “green papal shoes” and nothing definitive comes up, only speculation.

  29. Prof. Basto says:

    Well, when it comes to Papal extra-liturgical wear, John Paul II, and not his predecessors, was the true demolisher of tradition.

    Granted, he was less liberal than Paul VI, had a strong Marian devotion, battled against the culture of death, and, in spite of certain grave concessions to the hermeneutic of rupture here and there, such as Assisi, he was the one who started to reverse the trend of the “Spirit of the Council” especially in the latter years of his pontificate (from the second half of the 80’s onwards, and mostly in the 90’s and 2000’s, in a crescendo, an ascending spiral, that reached its peak with Redemptionis Sacramentum, Mane Nobiscum Domine, etc).

    HOWEVER, so far as papal dress goes, he stripped the Holy See’s traditions to the barest of bones, and his liturgical attire wasn’t better either.

    From the standpoint of Liturgy, his Pontificate was very poor indeed.

    And that’s why I believe that, in spite of his many encyclicals, etc, his message on topics such as Marian devotion, the Eucharist, etc, remained skin-deep, superficial. Of course, we that frequent the Vatican website daily do not sense it so much, but the vast majority of people never visit ecclesiastical websites or religious blogs. For the Christian people in general, Liturgy is THE moment when the Christian receives any sort of religious teaching. The average Catholic does not read encyclicals, he only reads about them in newspapers. And that’s not so bizarre, since in the past Encyclicals were adressed only to the Bishops to begin with. Now, papal Liturgy sets an example for Liturgies across the Church. And since, Pope John Paul II’s pontificate was so poor in liturgical practical examples, the message of devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist, to our Lady, etc, never quite reached the modern man in the pews. I believe Pope Benedict IS trying to reverse that: a pontificate less of written, theoretical documents, and more of examples of adoration towards Christ. Of examples of traditional Catholic ways of devotion. Thus the candles, the crucifixes, etc.

  30. Ben D. says:

    Prof. Basto: I think you overlook the most important of Pope John Paul II’s influences; namely on the vocations of our youngest priests and seminarians, who, at least in my anecdotal experience, tend to be vibrantly orthodox. These are the men, by the way, who are hungry to learn the EF in seminary.

    Compared with that, papal dress is a non-issue (which is not to say that, taken in itself, papal dress is unimportant).

  31. Cornelius says:

    Prof. Basto – I think you just gave the most balanced thumb-nail appraisal of
    Pope John Paul II’s pontificate I’ve ever read, with its strengths and

  32. Peadar says:

    TNCath–thanks for your response. I’m still not following the logic you are offering. You seem to say that Benedict’s vesture can be read as consistent with John Paul’s approach; but that very vesture fell out of use during the papacy of JPII. If Benedict’s revival of papal attire signals a revival of sorts, it can’t be consistent with John Paul II since he was the one who discontinued (I think one person wrote “deconstructed”) the very things we see B16 reviving. Benedict looks and acts far more like John XXIII and Paul VI than John Paul II. In other words, Benedict acts like the Roman Pontiff, not the uber-bishop of the world–the image that John Paul fashioned. If we are to see signals in Benedict’s dress (and frankly, so much of this is a bit too close to the old Kremlinologist’s scouring of photographs), logically it is his departure from John Paul. Do you see my point?

  33. Scott Smith says:

    Anyone notice the little hood?

    Paul VI abolished the little hood for the mozzetta when he made it part of the choir dress for all bishops, not just those with jurisdiction.

  34. Stephen says:

    Hasn’t anyone checked their copies of “The Church Visible: The Ceremonial Life and Protocol of the Roman Catholic Church” by James-Charles Noonan (Author), John P. Cardinal Foley (Editor) to see if green shoes existed. If my memory serves me correctly, at one time the pope wore white satin shoes during the Octave of Easter.

  35. Stephen says:

    Pope Paul VI abolished or supressed many things that Pope Benedict XVI seems to be restoring.

  36. Father Bartoloma says:

    I’m honored to say that although I wasn’t the one who sent Father Z that email at the top of the post, I was however the “-” (dash) that he edited out. I’ve been looking forward to the Octave and I hope that his Holiness has many audiences with diplomats scheduled for this week so we can see more if the spiffy mozetta!

  37. TNCath says:


    Yes, I do see what you are saying. I just wouldn’t say that he is completely throwing out the legacy of John Paul, however. More good than bad still came from his pontificate. Nonetheless, there were many aspects of his liturgies that were less than ideal. I truly believe the John Paul’s liturgical “style” (I use that word very guardedly) was directly influenced by Archbishop Piero Marini, who admitted that he and John Paul had struck a deal of sorts regarding liturgy. Because John Paul was not a liturgist, he trusted (perhaps a bit too much) Archbishop Marini’s ideas on liturgy which we all know that Benedict does not share. In the later years on his pontificate, John Paul spoke and wrote a number of times about priests and bishops faithfully observing the GIRM and other liturgical regulations. He appointed Cardinal Arinze as Prefect for the CDW. He allowed the indult “Ecclesia Dei Adflicta” and established the Ecclesia Dei Commission. His pontificate paved the way for what Benedict is doing now. And, by the way, John Paul celebrated his morning Masses in his private chapel ad orientem!

  38. techno_aesthete says:

    Una bella mozzetta!

  39. techno_aesthete says:

    TNCath, you also left off your list the red velvet, ermine-trimmed mozzetta.

  40. Alice says:

    He looks perfectly cuddly. I want one.

  41. John says:

    Other things Pope Benedict has restored:
    Lace albs and rochets
    The “oversleves” on the simar

    I would guess the green, as well as other colored shoes shown on one blog page are aactually pontifical slippers that were worn by the Pope and all bishops, abbots, prothonotary apostolics for ponitifical high Mass as well as ordiantions that took place in a low Mass. Thre were made optional in 1968 and are no longer mentioned in the Ceremonial of Bishops.

  42. Beth V. says:

    Don’t forget the return of the Ombrellino on Holy Thursday and one previous time (I think Vespers and Benediction at First Sunday of Advent this past year).

  43. Joshua says:

    Also to be noted the mantelleta used by some bishops on Passion Sunday. Maybe that is not an innovation, but I had though the mozzetta was not standard for all, even with jurisdiction.

  44. How about using one of these at the Requiem for the Cardinals who have died the previous year?


    Blessed Easter to ye all.

  45. David O'Rourke says:

    1) Sorry Ken but the green shoes behinid the glass in that picture are green Pontifical sandals which would be worn with green buskins at Pontifical Mass by all when the vestments are green.

    2)The small hood on the mozzetta seems never to have been abolished for the Popes. Exactly why it was abolished for other prelates I can’t imagine as the mozzetta looks better with the hood.

    3)The pallium evolved naturally over at least a millenium to the form worn by archbishops today. The large pallium worn by Pope Benedict was never the victim of the hermeneutic of interuption as were the other items discussed here and, in fact, it will look rathr anachronistic if it iw worn over a Baroque chasuble and fanon for which it was never designed.

  46. Melody says:

    Personally, when speaking of disciplines and customs, we must allow for variation. The two blessed men you speak of are different.
    Pope John Paul II was a classic ascetic in both personal and private life. I believe he wanted people to see the essentials of the faith through a “no-frills” approach that directly addressed outer accusations–that our faith is more than just its ornaments and expressions. With respect to Prof. Basto, he forgets that John Paul II was the first Pontiff to release his encyclicals as published books available in mainstream shops. I read one of them, “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” as a teen, and it basically changed my life.

    But reform is like a pendulum: It must be pushed forward, then drawn back before reaching equilibrium. The old errors of iconoclasm and manichaeism has crept up from John Paul’s asceticism and now Pope Benedict is reminding us of all our old symbols.

  47. Phil says:

    Melody has a good point.

    Also, while I like very much what B XVI is doing, I don’t think we should take it too far. With that I mean that if we attach weight to even the color of the shoes his Holiness wears outside Mass, we’re creating a high standard, probably too high. Every time he chooses a different pair of shoes, if only cause the one used last time weren’t comfy, it will be interpreted as meaningful.
    I don’t think that’s a good idea – the energies of the Vatican and especially the Pope himself are better focussed on the major parts (and don’t get me wrong, what happens during the liturgy is an important part of that) than on such details. Tradition is great, but we should not become overly fixated on historical details. Green shoes during an audience sounds a lot like that from my perspective.

  48. Lindsay says:

    I agree with Melody–I don’t think that appreciating Benedict’s strengths and preferring certain choices of his in any way disparages JPII. I have a child I named for him (Karl Josef–our last name is German, but the intent is there), and I believe him to be a saint. However, I love that Benedict is addressing the areas I felt JPII did not. What is the saying? Something like, you follow a fat pope with a skinny pope, or vice versa. Even the saints had different strengths and weaknesses.

  49. Prof. Basto says:

    I have got to say that my post was by no means exaustive of the ups and downs of the pontificate of John Paul II. For starters, I was being called to a meeting, and so I had to quickly summarize the ideas that were crossing my mind, send the message, and close the web browser.

    Then, during the meeting, it occured to me that I forgot to mention Pope John Paul’s very important practical stance against Communism. A stance that, reversing Paul VI’s conciliatory Ostpolitik, was already expressed in his inauguration’s homily, when, with that strong, forceful voice, he said:

    … Non abbiate paura! Aprite, anzi, spalancate le porte a Cristo!

    Alla sua salvatrice potestà aprite i confini degli Stati, i sistemi economici come quelli politici, i vasti campi di cultura, di civiltà, di sviluppo. Non abbiate paura!

    His support of the Solidarity movement, his first visit to Poland etc., that helped produce the first crack in the iron curtain.

    In that regard, he was a real improvement on his immediate predecessors. I mean, while I can understand and support Pope Pius XII’s cautious approach vis a vis Nazi Germany – he personally helped jews and avoided persecution of Catholics by the Nazis – I can’t understand the total silence of the Church in the 60’s and 70’s vis a vis Communism. The threat of persecution wasn’t the same.

    And then, an Ecumenical Council convenes, an Ecumenical Council, the most solemn form of ecclesiastical gathering – right when half of mankind was under the yoke of brutal Marxist anti-Christian, anti-religious dictatorships – and, you take a look at a remissive index of the Acts of the Ecumenical Council and what do you find? Total silence, not a sentence regarding Communism. THAT’S a real shame. A Council that issued a Constitution on the Church in “the world of the present time” (badly translated, perhaps on purpose as the “Church in the Modern World”), and you do a word search and you discovered that the word “Communism” isn’t even there at all, when it should have been condemned by name, most solemnly, as Pius XI and others had done.

    Now, John Paul II clearly changed that stance of silence, and that has to be added to my list of the good factors of his Pontificate.


    Now, Melody: as for the “no-frills” approax, us showing our great Faith without the help of the externals, if there ever was that intention, it is totally misguided. The externals have a really important role to play.That has always been the Catholic way, and, by the way, that of the Orthodox as well. Abandonment of them goes against two millenia of Catholic tradition.

    The externals certainly exist in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions by action of the Holy Spirit, and their obliteration in Protestantism is only co-natural with their lack of belief in the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, in the fact that the Sacrifice of the Calvary is trully made again present at Mass, etc.

    Kneeling is important to show Faith in the Real Presence, as are Communion in the tongue only, a meaningful Eucharistic Fast, etc. Plus, the presence of crucifixes in Churches help us maintain focus on that central aspect of the Christian Faith: the Sacrifice accomplished by God the Son for our Redemption.

    And Liturgy should be a fitting act of worship of God’s Majesty, if we trully believe in him.

    Starting with Liturgiam Authenticam, the Wojtyla Pontificate began devoting more attention to those important issues. Again, the average Catholic is the man that only receives Christian teaching during Sunday Mass.

    Of course papal teaching is in and of itself important, in the face of the world, of history, etc. But, as far as influencing the salvation of souls and true devotion, true catechism of those in the pews, what a Pope writes in an Encyclical has only a marginal effect, if it is not accompanied by enforcement, by sound liturgical appointments – not Mahony-style ones – and by examples of Liturgical decorum. Because in the end, the goal of all that – the papal instructions, laws and teachings, the content of the Liturgical Books, their strict observance, the sound appointments, the enforcement of canonical discipline, etc – is to make the average Sunday Mass celebrated in the other side of the world more reverent, celebrated with more decorum, with the parish priest teaching his community sound doctrine. That’s what benefits vocations, the salvation of souls, the religiousness of families, etc. You can’t do it without the point-man, that is the priest, parish priest or his assistant. That’s why I believe Pope Benedict places such high importance on examples, such as the question of the crucifix in the Altar, the candles, etc.

  50. Prof. Basto says:

    You can clearly see that I forgot to close the italics at the end of the homily quote

  51. Habemus Papam says:

    Can we be sure that John Paul II was the author of his later encyclicals and that Cardinal Ratzinger didn’t make a significant contribution to them? I read JPIIs first encyclical and found it so dense I didn’t try again until 1988 (equally dense). It seems clear that Benedict XVI is distancing himself from his predessor, with the change of Papal Staff being only the most recent sign.

  52. Jeff says:

    “I have no idea about the green shoes either…Anybody??
    Comment by Lauren — 24 March 2008 @ 12:11 pm ”

    The green shoes take you to Connaught instead of Kansas.

  53. PAT says:

    Father, the 2008 award buttons are here:


    There are buttons for both Nominee and Winner.

  54. RBrown says:

    Prof Basto,

    I agree with much of what you said, but I don’t think it’s just a question of adoration.

    The re-introduction of Latin liturgy goes beyond the liturgy itself. The study of Latin, made necessary by Latin liturgy, is the foundation for formation not only of the priest but also of the laity. The benefits of the study of Latin, not only grammar but also the classical texts, are obvious. Exposure to Latinitas, which transcends local culture, makes the student aware of the Catholicity of the Church. It is also excellent preparation for the study of philosophy, and–following philosophy–theology.

    I hope that SP will be the platform for beginning the re-introduction of the study of Latin in the Church.

  55. Prof. Basto says:

    Dear BRBrown,

    I agree with that. I do agree.

  56. Shawn says:

    Bravo! Your point is well made and important.

  57. D.V.M. says:

    Aren’t we blowing the Pope’s wearing of a white mozzetta a tad out of proportion? If he were wearing this at the signing ceremony of a Papal Bull banning Communion in the hand, banning altar girls, and mandating Tridentine Masses in all parishes throughout the Latin Rite, then maybe we’d have something to talk about. But to call this a small step in the Benedictine Revolution–at this rate the Pope would have to live to be 200 years old before we saw the fruits.

  58. Habemus Papam says:

    D.V.M: we sure would have something to talk about; anarchy in the pews.

  59. Petrus Wilkinson says:

    Tridentinum has SANDALI PONTIFICALI PIO IX (Sandalia) in liturgical colours. But perhaps these do not count as ‘shoes’? They cost E350,00.

  60. Richard T says:

    “We will have to wait for the Wednesday audience to see if he switches to the green shoes, which if memory serves, was part of this custom.”

    Well – did he?

  61. Castor says:

    Let’s end the green shoes thing- there are no such thing?
    During the octave of easter, the pope wore (and now wears again) a white-damask mozzetta trimmed with ermine, after which he switches to the summer mozzetta of red silk. With this mozzetta, he wore WHITE SILK SLIPPERS, as opposed to red ones. Remember that the dress of prelates was divided between ecclesiastical summer and winter. in winter, the pope, cardinals, bishops, etc. wore warmer wool (and ermine) and in the summer silk. this included cassocks. Benedict XVI, thus far, has begun ecclesiasdtical winter on the feast of the Immaculate Conception and sweems to switch to the summer mozzetta later. And yes, z, that os the same mozzetta that they were making, which was commissioned by 2 people resident in Rome.
    as a previous comment stated, the shoes shown in the photo are liturgical sandals. Someone will have to explain why there are so many different colours, as, previously, when pontificating,the popes retained the ancient custom of only two liturgical colours- white and red. This is why the pope “luget in rubra”. Thse were the senatorial colours, inherited by the Pontifex Romanus and also retained in the Byzantine Liturgical tradition.

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