Of the Pope’s mozzetta…

Please help!

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Geoffrey says:

    Wouldn’t they have some already in the Vatican? The ones that weren’t used when His Holiness the Pope first appeared on the loggia? Nevertheless, I shall cross my fingers and say a prayer!

  2. vetusta ecclesia says:

    It seems odd when a man whose office is to guard tradition starts to ditch traditions he personally dislikes.

  3. kal says:

    Visions of Ken Untener are dancing through my head. You were spot on yesterday, Fr. Z., with your comments on the red shoes and again today about the Mozzetta. We need to continue to pray for the holy father and his ministry.

  4. SwanSong says:

    An Anglican speaks!: The current situation in the Vatican reminds me of how things are in an Anglican parish when a new vicar (parish priest) arrives. Everything changes to suit his particular vision of himself, the church, its teachings and the liturgy. Very unsettling. There’s a story that the churchwarden at a London church was asked by a newcomer to the parish what service [book] was used at the church. “Oh, we have the WTVL service,” came the reply. “WTVL?” asked the new parishoner. “I’m not familiar with that.” The churchwarden gave a weary smile and said: “‘What The Vicar Likes’, madam. That’s the service we have at St ——.” I must say that my heart goes out to Mgr Marini, who continues to smile through the tears. I guess we won’t see much more of him. I regret that Pope Benedict has lived to see all this.

  5. mitch_wa says:

    I would hope he would too. In formal occasions dress formally, in informal occasions (which to be honest things like Wednesday Audiences are informal relatively speaking) be informal.

    Personally for less than formal occasions I think the Pope should not wear the white soutane, but rather a black soutane with white trimmings. Like a papal version of a Cardinals Black Cassock with red piping, buttons, fascia and zucchetto; all would be white instead of red. The pope after all is not a Dominican, why should he wear white? And how is he supposed to eat spaghetti wearing papal white? (j/k on the last one, but otherwise my suggestion is quite serious). Also this would allow him his black shoes, but then for formal occasions requiring choir dress or vesting he could switch to the white soutane, red shoes, mozzetta, etc. Best of both worlds, a Catholic both/and.

    Someone get Msgr. Marini on the phone…

  6. kford says:

    I experienced it firsthand (was confirmed in the Civic Center in the 80’s).

  7. haribo says:

    My guess would be that the new pope was fine with wearing a mozzetta but hated the idea of wearing ermine. If he did order one, I’m willing to bet it’s a summer mozzetta and not the winter one. I’ll be very surprised actually if it’s not.

  8. Father Z, this blog posting and the one regarding the red Papal shoes express in near-perfect tone and charity exactly what has been weighing heavily upon my own heart for the last number of days, those of the first little while of our Holy Father’s Pontificate. I love His Holiness for many reasons and he has many admirable qualities that I am deeply grateful to the Father’s grace and Pope Francis’ cooperation for. Howbeit, as vetusta ecclesia also stated quite well, it seems tremendously odd that a Cardinal elected to the Episcopacy of Rome would ascend to the dignity and duty of Supreme Pontiff and immediately begin chucking the stylings, customs, and traditions that he does not himself enjoy or approve of. I cannot explain why a humble man such as our Holy Father would do such a thing, since that is rather the mark of a proud man than a humble man. May the Holy Spirit be in him always, and may the Blessed Mother pray for him.

  9. One other thought that I failed to mention in my original comment: The proper attitude toward the Latin Church, her traditions, her customs, and her rituals, as well as preeminently her Faith is humble acquiescence and propagation. It is not in the power of any man, not even the Pope, the change the Church to fit his own liking or tastes, or to suit his style. If that is what we have today as a situation, then shame on us as a Church, for Popes are guardians of that which came before them, not innovators.

  10. Didacus says:

    Father, were your prediction certain, shouldn’t the Holy Father have worn the mozzetta today during the greetings by heads-of-State?

  11. I watched the installation Mass this morning, and was very moved by the noble simplicity and yet the sense of awe that permeated the Liturgy. One could nit pick of course. But then Liturgy is not a Japanese tea ceremony nor is the Ricky Relevant rock event. My suggestion to anyone who wishes to get His Holiness a gift– white trousers. lots of them! God bless His Holiness as he begins his new ascent to Calvary. He seems to be a pious man, someone we can imitate in our daily lives.

  12. Aegidius says:

    That is all true and, of course, mozetta or no mozetta or new mozetta is of really, really minor importance, if at all. But, I wonder if spending extra money for a new, even less luxurious, vestment actually benefits the poor or promotes personal humility. Really, I do not get it.

  13. APX says:

    I’ve been thinking, unlike other popes, Pope Francis is a Jesuit, thus under a vow of poverty. Would his not wearing the traditional fancier papal garb have anything to do with this?

  14. haribo says:

    “But, I wonder if spending extra money for a new, even less luxurious, vestment actually benefits the poor or promotes personal humility. Really, I do not get it.”

    Just as red shoes cost the same as black shoes, and using an antique gold ring costs no more than using an antique silver ring. The sacristy in St. Peter’s is so full of vestments that no pope should ever have to make more. Commissioning “simpler” vestments is has more to do with the aesthetic than poverty.

  15. JacobWall says:

    Has anyone noticed that he is continuing with Benedict’s re-instated practice of having people kneel to receive communion from him? If I saw correctly, in the inaugural Mass, he also uses intinction while giving communion to his servers.

    These are good signs, aren’t they?

    Unfortunately, no mozzetta. Still no red shoes. Definitely a “mixed bag” with (as far as I can tell) some really good points, but other important ones missing.

  16. JacobWall says:

    @Hieromonk Gregory,

    I likewise watched the inaugural mass. Like you, I appreciated the “noble simplicity and yet the sense of awe that permeated the Liturgy.”

  17. Faith says:

    I’m also thinking of another pope who didn’t follow tradition and wore his simple habit because he belonged to a religious order. Much like Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley who doesn’t wear his bishop duds, but his Franciscan habit. [He most certainly does wear his “bishop duds”.]
    As I was saying, this pope didn’t wear a tiara either; he stayed in habit. BTW, I’m speaking of
    Pius V.

  18. BillyT92679 says:

    I agree Faith.

  19. Legisperitus says:

    Aegidius: Not everything in the Church is to be measured solely by how much it “benefits the poor.” There is the extrinsic glory of God to think of.

    APX: Since the Pope does not personally own his vestments, I’m not sure how using them would violate a vow of poverty. I’m not aware that the Franciscan Popes ever rejected the traditional papal vestments.

    Faith: There’s an interesting study at http://popes-and-papacy.com/wordpress/andrew-o-when-the-popes-started-wearing-white-and-why/ about the Popes wearing white cassocks prior to St. Pius V.

  20. Pingback: Liturgy Wars: A New Pope | Catholic Bandita

  21. Pope St Pius V, as i understand it, stopped the wearing of all cardinal red and stayed in his white Dominican habit…changing the Popes dress from martyrs red, to white….perhaps Pope Francis should return to that martyrs red cassock? since he is lacking some symbol of red on his person…
    also”…He began his pontificate by giving large alms to the poor, instead of distributing his bounty at haphazard like his predecessors. As pontiff he practiced the virtues he had displayed as a monk and a bishop. His piety was not diminished, and, in spite of the heavy labours and anxieties of his office, he made at least two meditations a day on bended knees in presence of the Blessed Sacrament. In his charity he visited the hospitals, and sat by the bedside of the sick, consoling them and preparing them to die. He washed the feet of the poor, and embraced the lepers. It is related that an English nobleman was converted on seeing him kiss the feet of a beggar covered with ulcers. He was very austere and banished luxury from his court, raised the standard of morality, laboured with his intimate friend, St. Charles Borromeo, to reform the clergy, obliged his bishops to reside in their dioceses, and the cardinals to lead lives of simplicity and piety. He diminished public scandals by relegating prostitutes to distant quarters, and he forbade bull fights. He enforced the observance of the discipline of the Council of Trent, reformed the Cistercians, and supported the missions of the New World. In the Bull “In Coena Domini” he proclaimed the traditional principles of the Roman Church and the supremacy of the Holy See over the civil power.
    But the great thought and the constant preoccupation of his pontificate seems to have been the struggle against the Protestants and the Turks. ,,, he standardised the Holy Mass by promulgating the 1570 edition of the Roman Missal. Pope Pius V made this Missal mandatory throughout the Latin rite of the Catholic Church, except where a Mass liturgy dating from before 1370 AD was in use. This form of the Mass remained essentially unchanged for 400 years until Pope Paul VI’s revision of the Roman Missal in 1969–70, after which it has become widely known as the Tridentine Mass;…”

  22. APX says:

    It says on the Jesuit web site that their members are to dress in a manner “not contradictory to the poverty [they] profess.”

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  24. Justin Martyr says:

    I have a question (because I truly don’t know the protocol in these situations). Would there be people in high places in the Vatican (including Msgr. Marini) who could kindly and patiently make suggestions to Pope Francis and/or explain some of the reasons why, despite his humble and simple nature, it is important to wear certain things (at least on certain occasions).

    Is this something that can be done? Or is everyone “walking on eggshells” currently? Or would it be completely disrepectful or insubordinate to disagree with His Holiness or to suggest strongly “Holy Father, I know you are a humble and simple pastor at heart, but I really think you should reconsider and wear the red shoes (or the mozetta, a more elaborate chasuble, etc.) as a symbol of your authority, and in honor of Christ and His Church.” ?


  25. Suburbanbanshee says:

    First off, _everybody_ notices the Pope’s clothes more than this pope. One of the security guys or the Papal Gentlemen even straightened his cassock cape out today during the stuff in the Square. I’m starting to think it’s a geek thing, although he doesn’t have the power to instantly wrinkle any clothing that many profs have.

    OTOH, he doesn’t seem to raise his shoulders much when he moves his arms, and I’ve already talked about the breathing thing on a previous post. So yeah, if he’s gonna wear one it probably will have to be tailored to be light and flexible, so as not to aggravate any arthritis or shoulder problems he may have.

  26. Lepidus says:

    If his decisions are a “religious order” thing, it would be nice if he would come out and say that. I think the Cardinal O’Malley parallel is a good observation. In that case, he made his intentions and reasoning clear and I don’t think the Boston faithful are concerned that his actions are a precedent. (Of course, Jesuits don’t have a distinctive habit, so that arguement might take things a little to far in his case).

    My bigger concern is that the Holy Father’s actions are going to be interpreted as a free-for-all by some of the left leaning cleargy. He doesn’t wear his mozzetta, so they don’t have to wear their roman collar, chasabul, whatever. He doesn’t genuflect, so they don’t either. Not that these guys are current doing any of the above or that they were using Benedict’s examples at all. We just don’t want these guys to have another excuse that can’t readily be argued.

  27. robtbrown says:

    This is the first pope elected from a religious congregation since Gregory XVI in 1831, who was from the Benedictine branch of the Camaldolese. BTW, GXVI was the last man elected pope who was not yet a bishop.

  28. Matt P. says:

    I am a fierce defender of tradition, and I don’t want to recognize the Pope’s austerity as anything but sincere, but I think his simple trappings and humble gestures may also serve to distance him from what many perceive to be the status quo (corruption, abuse, aloofness, etc). I think there is an immediate expectation on the part of many, both in and outside the Church, that this Pope represent something ‘new’. If he is able to promote unity and rekindle people’s faith by promoting humility and prayer, and not by endorsing a progressive agenda, I’m all for it. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the weeks and months to come, Pope Francis dons more traditional vestments. I’m not suggesting that this is all contrived and carefully manipulated, but perhaps in the election of Pope Francis the cardinals saw an opportunity.

  29. alanphipps says:

    Fr. Z.,

    This Italian blog to which you link seems to be spreading a fair amount of rumor in recent days.


    “He doesn’t wear his mozzetta, so they don’t have to wear their roman collar, chasabul, whatever.”

    Though the Holy Father has not eschewed collar, chasuble, etc, so I don’t see how priests could justify that based on something like the Mozzetta. And if only all priests could offer the Holy Mass with the same reverence and reflection as the Holy Father!

  30. petrus69 says:

    Looks like lots of polyester for now considering all the vestments in the Vatican sacristy.

  31. Lepidus says:

    @APX – Interesting point about the Jesuit’s recommended dress. I wonder if someone was wandering around the conclave if they could tell by the style / make of his vestments and accessories that certain people were Jesuits (or other similar orders) versus ones who came up the ranks through the secular priesthood?

  32. jhayes says:

    Hermit sans permit wrote: “Pope St Pius V, as i understand it, stopped the wearing of all cardinal red and stayed in his white Dominican habit…changing the Popes dress from martyrs red, to white”

    Popes before Pius V had worn white. Here’s a contemporary painting of Sixtus IV in white cassock and red mozzetta about a hundred years earlier.


  33. BillyT92679 says:

    I love the Holy Father and I think he continues the run of really great Sovereign Pontiffs we’ve had over the past 150 years.

  34. Lepidus says:

    @alanphipps – That – unfortunately – is what I’m getting at with respect to some of these left-leaners – the fact that they take things completely out of context and use it as an excuse to defend their own whims. Your last statement says it…the one’s that are using the same revererance aren’t the ones we’re worried about.

  35. Anna says:


    If this is what Jesus says, then who can say that the Pope, who is head of the church, can not choose to do this?
    It’s in the rules of St. Francis that the brothers only get two cassocks, for their entire religious life.
    Poverty in dress is very Catholic. It’s not new.

    He is wearing a cassock. Poverty in dress and beautiful liturgy are not opposed.

    St. Francis admonishes his brothers not to despise those who wear gaudy dress, but his choice for his brothers is simple.

    Finally, being poor myself, according to western standards, I respect a poorly dressed priest in cassock more than a poorly dressed priest in old man clothes, I will give every ounce of extra money I make, to my church, to make it as beautiful as possible, for God. I would like to burn the ugly resurresifix and if I could I would carve a beautiful, new, crucifix.

    When the poor pour their money, their blood, their hearts and their souls into making a house for God, which is reverent and beautiful, it’s an insult to the same poor to take away from that. The great Cathedrals were built, mostly by poor people. Poor people need to go to heaven on Sunday, for a taste of the resurrection in contrast with their daily death on the cross of life.

    So I hope, I hope Pope Francis despite his own simple choice in dress, does not mean that he will discard the riches that the poor have given to the church, does not mean to turn away from the traditional liturgy, does not mean that he will despise the rituals that allow us to revere Christ with our bodies. But even if he does, I will chalk it up to his upbringing, pray that he changes and try to focus on the good that he does. For if we look for the evil in a man we will always find it, as all men are sinners. God love and make our Pope into Himself.

  36. greasemonkey says:

    $$$s to doughnut you aren’t going to see the mozetta! What a difference a few days makes… we have grown accustomed to fiddlebacks and fanons…
    They’re gone for now.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  37. pberginjr says:

    It’s my understanding that when a religious (or at least a Jesuit, as my uncle, a Jesuit, told me a while back) becomes a Cardinal he ceases to be a Jesuit or have any obligations toward his order. Following that line of reasoning, does it make any sense that the Pope would remain a Jesuit with vowed obedience to himself (maybe that would sort out the dress issues) and obedience to the Superior General?

    It seems Papa Francis has made a decision to show his Jesuit background (the coat of arms), but can his vows really still apply?

  38. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    What Matt P said.
    And, again and again, the pope is still a Jesuit. Canon 705.

  39. Faith says:

    OK, Father Z, I’ll clarify my comment about Cardinal Sean Patrick’s “duds”.
    99.999999% of the time, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley is in habit. In Rome, in ceremony, he’ll do as the Romans do. But he wears his habit 99% of the time. I’ll even venture to say, he sleeps in it. ;-)
    Before Pius V became pope, I really don’t know what the popes wore, but it wasn’t white. It was because Pius V, like Cardinal O’Malley, wore his habit 99% of the time, that the Dominican habit became the papal costume. The habit stood out.
    What I’m trying to say, is that the papal habit has evolved. So I wouldn’t call it a mortal sin if tradition is tweaked. Otherwise Pius V would be a heretic, because he broke the uniform rules.
    By the way, didn’t Pope Francis visit Pius V tomb on his first day in office?

  40. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Faith, in two points you are mistaken.

    1. The “heretic” question does not even enter here. Even following your line of argumentation and reductio ad absurdum, you could only say, “Otherwise Pope St. Pius V would have sinned mortally”. A heretic is a different thing.

    2. A Pope is free to exempt himself from merely human law, hence does not sin either mortally or venially in this.

  41. Imrahil says:

    Dear @pberginjr,

    if you add “effectively” to what you said, you may have a point.

    Principally, the vows continue to be binding.
    As regards poverty, bishops are exempt wherever they judge an expense appropriate for the episcopal office especially.
    As regards obedience, he who becomes Pope naturally gets exempt from it. On normal bishops, the thing is more difficult, but they still have the right to exempt themselves wherever their episcopal office (including the time to spend in it) is directly concerned.
    Yet e. g. Jesuit bishops (after explicitly telling the Pope they do not seek this office) are bound to consult the Jesuit general with a certain regularity even on their office, and tell the Pope beforehand that they have this obligation.

  42. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Imrahil: “2. A Pope is free to exempt himself from merely human law, hence does not sin either mortally or venially in this.” I know it’s just a combox post, but that statement is too broad.

  43. RidersOnTheStorm says:

    Pope Francis laid down a clear marker when he chose the name of Il Poverello, [Actually, he chose the name of “Francis”.] and just as Saint Francis took off his fine clothes, handing them back to his father and naked in the piazza was clothed with the bishop’s cloak, [and then went to live in the bishop’s palace… not exactly a box under a bridge….] our Pontifex Maximus Franciscus has eschewed the mozetta in favour of the simple white.

    The signal is clear and strong in the footsteps of Francis and Our Lord – He comes not to be served, but to serve. [As if other Popes… what… didn’t?][Perhaps you are psychic, but I am not sure what this all means yet.]

  44. Faith says:

    Whoa! Sorry to change the thread. How about hopping over to this site and voting. Let’s make the media scratch their heads. http://www.newsmax.com/surveys/PopeFrancis/Should-Pope-Francis-Change-the-Church-/id/68/kw/default?promo_code=12C9E-1

  45. Jon says:

    Words mean things. So do clothes.

    That said, I’m a simple Benedictine Oblate. St. Catherine of Siena was a simple Dominican Tertiary. Although she was eventually canonized a saint, and I’m quite confident I never will be, nonetheless, our status in the Church is parallel. St. Catherine, even in her lowly status, presumed to advise the pope. As such, I’d like to say this to Pope Francis:

    Holy Father, I believe it would behoove you to remember, for your sake, and that of the Church, that when Our Blessed Lord charged St. Peter to “feed My sheep,” thus commissioning him His Vicar on earth, He did so not in Rome, but on the shore of Lake Galilee. Peter was Supreme Pastor first and foremost. The See of Rome is later, and thus incidental to his charge.

    End of rant.

  46. robtbrown says:

    Dr. Edward Peters says:
    Imrahil: “2. A Pope is free to exempt himself from merely human law, hence does not sin either mortally or venially in this.” I know it’s just a combox post, but that statement is too broad.

    What would be an exception?

  47. Imrahil says:

    I guess it is, thank’s though.

    As it were, though, I was referring to the binding force of the law per se; about which I’m not sure why I’m wrong. Charity, governing prudence, voluntary perfection in justice, the reason why the law was decreed in the first place, and other things may very well press the Pope to not exempt himself.

    And even concerning law per se, while an exemption is okay, an exemption has perhaps to be explicit (at least in thought), and does not excuse mere negligence.

    I guess it was too broad.

  48. Rouxfus says:

    Fr. Z wrote:

    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.

    Consider it no longer a rumor. This Rome Reports video posted to their YouTube feed on March 11 features a look at the Room of Tears, all outfitted and ready to receive the lacrimations of the newly-elected Successor of Peter. There is a garment rack of vestments, including white cassocks in three sizes, the ermine-lined red mozetta, one size fits all, and the stole. The table also shows shirts with a set of cufflinks, and a facsimile copy of the Urbi et Orbi blessing text so the Holy Father might practice his delivery. There are seven scarpe (shoe) boxes sized from 40-46.

  49. Jon says:

    And I was afraid O’Malley would be elected.

    An actual son of St. Francis, immediately before the Conclave:

    We should’ve been so lucky.

  50. Mom2301 says:

    Lepidus says: My bigger concern is that the Holy Father’s actions are going to be interpreted as a free-for-all by some of the left leaning cleargy. He doesn’t wear his mozzetta, so they don’t have to wear their roman collar, chasabul, whatever. He doesn’t genuflect, so they don’t either. Not that these guys are current doing any of the above or that they were using Benedict’s examples at all. We just don’t want these guys to have another excuse that can’t readily be argued.

    Unfortunately this is already happening where I live. Our local priest is more than just leaning left. His usual apparel is a polo shirt and dress pants. For special occasions he dons a sport coat. He loves that Francis has “made it clear that wearing clericals is NOT important. Wearing robes (a chasuable) is not important. What is important is that everyone is welcome.” He has come straight out and used the Holy Father’s “example” as an excuse for his desire not to be recognized as a Catholic priest…ever.

    I fear this will make it harder than ever to stress the importance of beauty, reverence, symbols and tradition. When those things are removed there becomes little difference between the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and a self-help seminar. For the record, I do not think that Pope Francis would agree with our priest, but the message he is sending is definitely be interepreted this way.

  51. Maynardus says:

    Just thinking… what if Pope Francis retains the Benedictine altar arrangement and B16’s norms for distributing Holy Communion – and generally refrains from anything unseemly at Mass, but uses “simpler” vestments (i.e. modern Gothic-style chausibles) and keeps his black shoes? Does that satisfy everybody… anybody… nobody?

    I mean, just so long as Cardinal Balony Mahony is happy ;-)

    Seriously, insofar as Msgr. Marini retains any influence, I’m sure he has to be very judicious in picking his battles…

  52. robtbrown says:

    My point in noting that the pope comes from a religious congregation was not a juridical one but rather that he was born (when he took vows) and bred to live the vow of poverty, simplicity of life. After 50 years he’s not going to change, whether he keeps the SJ or not. Combine that with the fact that Jesuit life is without high mass and liturgical simplicity follows.

    On the other hand, Jesuits are very adaptable, and so I wouldn’t be surprised if he adopts some of the papal paraphernalia favored by BXVI.

  53. Daniel says:

    I would certainly like to see President Obama restore some dignity to his office by restoring some past traditions like wearing a powdered wig with stovepipe hat. On second thought, never mind.

  54. pmullane says:

    Lepidus – I think generally speaking a Priests ability to flake about with his dress, and to an extent his ability to flake about with the liturgy, depends more on the diocesan bishop than on the Pope (assuming we are talking about a secular priest in a diocesan parish). A priest who wants to forego the correct liturgical attire (or indeed the coorect clerical ‘street’ clothes) will do so if his bishop lets him. If the bishop doesnt let him, he wont. Not to say that its all the bishops ‘fault’ if a priest does not dress/vest appropriately, just that he will set the tone in the diocese, and if it comes to his attention that a priest is improperly vesting or dressing he can either tell him to stop or allow him to continue. I dont imagine that the priest would be able to say ‘but the Pope didnt wear a Mozetta’ as an excuse. That is why it is important that the bisop is aware of any shenannigans going on in a parish (its not hard to keep things from the bishop, think of the priests who you never see in clerical attire until the bishop pays a visit).

  55. Jon says:

    On April 19, 2005, I paid a visit to what was then my parish church to see how they were taking the news of Cardinal Ratzinger’s election. The priest I spoke to was livid.

    He was also wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

  56. pmullane says:

    robtbrown makes a good point, the Pope is who he is. He is an old man who has been doing things a certain way for a number of years. He has been thrust into a job where he has an intense spotlight on him, in a foreign and (relatively) unknown country. He has also been tasked with ‘cleaning up’ the curia. He has, at his disposal, a lot of men whom he does not know that well. This past week will have been a whirlwind to him. He needs to be cagey and he needs to tread carefully. He needs to know who he can trust. He needs to show that he is his own person and that his authority is to be respected. This is not Benedict, who knew Rome as well as any living man. If he acts in a way that he feels comfortable whilst he is sussing out the place then who is to blame him?

  57. Giuseppe says:

    Robtbrown, I completely agree. Pope Francis has meaningfully incorporated his Jesuit priesthood vow of poverty with all he has done. He will figure out how to do this as Pope as well.

    My image of Pope is that of JP II clad all in white, so I personally love his look. I seem to remember JP II wearing dark shoes often. Is it written to ‘wear the red and shelve the black’?

    BTW, I do love the silver (ARGENT) cross Papa Francis has worn.

  58. William Tighe says:

    For Faith (and others):

    I remember reading, years ago, that the first pope to wear white garments was Pope Innocent V, who was pope from January to June 1276, and who was the first Dominican pope.

    “Legisperitus” referred Faith to the website: http://popes-and-papacy.com/wordpress/andrew-o-when-the-popes-started-wearing-white-and-why/

    which is pretty basic, but for a more detailed and scholarly treatment please see *The Pope’s Body* by Agostino Paravicini-Bagliani (Univ of Chicago Press, 2000). The Paravicini-Bagliani study explains the origins of the red and white vesture – and the origins of such traditions as “papa luget in rubro” – in fair greater detail.

    And mozzettas appear in abundance here: http://www.shetlersites.com/popes/

  59. Giuseppe says:

    Jon, re ‘Hawaiian shirt’. That is priceless! Made my morning!

  60. Absit invidia says:

    I’m just not able to understand people’s reactions to the new pope. I’ve heard a lot of the following:

    “finally” . . . “at last” . . . “humble” . . . “charitable” . . . “horizon of hope” . . . “rockstar” . . . “pope of the people” . . .

    as if Pope Benedict possessed none of these qualities (perhaps not rockstar). Pope Benedict was very humble, very charitable, very peaceful – his red shoes are simply a traditional symbol of blood – as in willingness for martyrdom – Pope Benedict brought hope to Anglicans, SSPX, Catholics all over the world who finally breathed a sigh of relief at the New Translation of the liturgy, Pope Benedict produced the beautiful encyclical “Deus Caritas Est” – “God is Love”:


    Yet we are hearing these strange things from people like “finally a humble pope” . . . “at last one who can make a difference” . . . “hope and change” . . .

    We’ve all heard these immediate, kneejerk accolades of another recent leader: Barack Obama, and it gives me great apprehension. We love our new pope, Pope Francis, we love our old pope, Pope Benedict and we will continue to pray for them both, but the swooning, the rockstar attention, the hysteria seems as strange as the attention Obama received. Like with Obama, I hope that when the honeymoon is over Pope Francis and we are years into his pontificate that he will have done a better job and not be the disastrous disappointment Obama turned out to be.

  61. Imrahil says:

    wearing clericals is NOT important. Wearing robes (a chasuable) is not important.

    Hm. Wrong. Wrong argument also. Pope Francis, as a matter of fact, does wear clericals. He has done so before elevation to the papacy. He has a cassock and collar on this picture in the subway.

    How did we rejoice as fresh soldiers of two months, when we were first allowed to wear uniform on the weekend train home (which is forbidden in the first weeks)! And that includes, due to conscription, comrades quite critical of the military.

  62. Lepidus says:

    @Mom2301 – and I bet you any money that your priest had no intention of ever using Benedict as an example for how the liturgy is to be celebrated, even given the fact that there is a lot more to go on there (if for no other reason, Pope Francis hasn’t been here long enough yet to be used as an example).

    @pmullane – Which is exactly why I was concerned about another cardinal whose name was mentioned alot in the US before the conclave. He “put in his time” here with nothing to show for it.

  63. Hidden One says:

    I’m with you on this, Fr. Z.

    I am glad that Sacra Liturgia 2013 is already well planned out and fairly soon in coming.

  64. acardnal says:

    I note Pope Francis at his inauguration Mass delivered his homily standing – unlike his predecessors.

  65. Mitchell NY says:

    So the Mozetta that was supposedly delivered in a rush for the Installation today was not used? I can’t find a definitive answer anywhere….

  66. pberginjr says:

    [b]Dr. Peters[/b] Thanks for the clarification, I was hunting through CIC to find an answer (and looked on your blog to see if you’d commented. I even tried to find an email to contact you with the question). In any case, that clears it up, Thanks!

  67. robtbrown,

    The Pope cannot exempt himself from all “human laws” on two accounts. But, for our purposes only one is of concern. He is bound to be a protector and steward of our Catholic traditions. This is not simply to be a steward and guardian of the Deposit of Faith. He is also a steward of what we like to call these days, tradition “with a small t.”

    Also, the understanding of religious poverty is a bit idealized here (especially the Jesuit understanding of poverty). Religious poverty is not an end in itself. It is in the service of the virtue of detachment. But, even if poverty were an end in itself (like some Franciscans take it) poverty does not extend to the Liturgy. On the contrary, it is an act of injustice against God to not offer the finest of materials and art that a community can provide for Divine Worship.

  68. Catholictothecore says:

    The vow of poverty he took at his ordination may be the reason why he is not “dressing the part.” He is caught between a rock and a hard place. If he does dress the part, some people are bound to say uncharitably, “look at him, couldn’t wait a moment to break his vows. What a hypocrite.”

    Pope Francis has been favorably received around the world. Not sure of the statistics yet but 88% of Catholics in America like him so far. That’s a huge number. The ones who aren’t enamoured of him and feel he has wronged them in some way, look at yourself, examine yourself. It’s not between you and Pope Francis, it’s between you and Our Lord.

  69. StJude says:

    Jon wrote:”was also wearing a Hawaiian shirt ”
    That gave me a big chuckle.

    When I was in RCIA, one Sunday the youngest Priest came to talk to us about his calling ect..
    One person asked him why outside of church he was always seen in either a blue or green sweater.. what was the significance?
    He replied by saying Costco had a 2 for 1 special.

  70. Johnny Domer says:

    I would also like to mention, without any commentary as to the intent or meaning behind it, that the Pope has not worn a pontifical dalmatic for any of his three public Masses as Pope. I figure this is relevant to a discussion regarding the use or non-use of articles of vesture by the Pope.

  71. Miserando says:

    “If the great paradox of Christianity means anything, it means this — that we must take the crown in our hands, and go hunting in dry places and dark corners of the earth until we find the one man who feels himself unfit to wear it.”

    G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

  72. bobbyfranky says:


    I was reading CAF (Catholic Answers Forum) on this and was surprised to discover great info from a Brother there who posts.

    thread: Red Mozzetta? Coat of Arms?

    one post in particular: http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=10504962&postcount=77

    Highlights of that post, there are many posts in the thread by JReducation that are enlightening:

    “Not wearing the mozzetta or the pontifical stole is not a rejection of tradition. On the contrary, it’s very consistent with the tradition of the regular popes. ”

    “The Dominican popes, Pope Benedict XI, Pope Benedict XIII, Pope Innocent V, and Pope Pius V wore the Dominican habit, not the red robes. Pope Pius V was such a holy and beloved pope that Pope Gregory XIII honored him by wearing a white cassock, hence the traditional white cassock worn by popes.

    As you can see, there is a tradition that is part of the line of regular popes. We’re not familiar with it, because none of us were alive during the pontificate of the last regular pope.”

    “Next, we have not had a regular pope in almost two centuries. Our experience of popes, since the late 18th century has been secular popes who do not have a vow of poverty and all of whom have been European.
    This pope is a regular bishop, not a secular bishop and he’s not European. Like most of those born in the colonies, he has European ancestry. In fact, he’s first generation Argentinian. ”

    “What the Holy Father chooses to do, to wear, to speak, or not do, etc is all a mystery, because we have never had a Jesuit pope. ”

    Very interesting information!

  73. fizzwizz says:

    The fact that 88% of catholics like him doesn’t really impress me. Most catholics I know couldn’t hold a sensible 30 second conversation on their religion.
    Today someone told me they were glad the pope is now not wearing the mozzetta and red shoes.”it is good to see all this pomp and circumstance going . He should be wearing more modern outfits”what!!!!!!! is he not in charge of God’s kingdom on earth. Does that not give him kingly status. How would a track suit do? My advice to the Pope would be to start wearing the the garbs of his office and stop cheapening it. The church is the bride of Christ after all.

  74. Jenelle says:

    @Absit invidia

    I feel exactly like you… thank you so much for posting your thoughts.

    Pope Benedict may have been the Pope of Christian Unity but after this week for me, he will be known as the Unappreciated Pope.

    I love Pope Francis already but this has been overshadowed by the the exact situation you have described. Like Benedict wasn’t humble… HUH?!

  75. Msgr. Corvo says:

    The Inaugural Mass went fantastically – good to see an absence of the frippery, ten meter tall miters, and oceans of silly lace ! [You aren’t given to hyperbole, are you!]

    I am likewise happy to see Msgr. Marini all decked out in fine linen with a minimum of lace, altho it has sent Rocco Palmo and the rest of the poofters over the top in apoplexy – Rocco also fumed that he could see the Pope’s black trousers beneath his white simar ! Horrid !

    As I predicted here a few days ago, the silver pectoral cross is a permanent accessory, [We are how many days into the pontificate? And you know that… how?] so I guess the dozens B16 used can now be sent, along with the laceys, back into the Vatican closets. [Did he use dozens? Can you back that up or are you just feeling enthusiastic?]

    Time is nigh to get to work on the reform the Curia – and the Church – needs so badly

    [BTW… since you are identifying yourself as a “Monsignor”, please drop me a line right away and tell me where you are. Thanks. Otherwise, you need another handle and you need it fast.]

  76. I have read a lot on line about whether or not the Pope is a humble man, be he Francis or be he Benedict. Humility as understood by the desert fathers is an interior disposition of the soul which tends to hide itself from the view of others. Hence who can say for certain whether or not a man is humble. The most we can say is that he shows signs of simplicity, which is evident to the beholder.

  77. Anna says:

    @ Giuseppe just in case you thought I wanted to burn the pope’s argentinian cross, I actually meant the ressuresifix (they have one of those in my local parish, and in my bank, and they had one in my school as a kid) http://img1.etsystatic.com/000/0/5150086/il_fullxfull.368558617.jpg (I will say the ones I’ve seen are a little uglier than this.)

  78. timothyputnam says:

    In response to “vetusta ecclesia”

    You said, “It seems odd when a man whose office is to guard tradition starts to ditch traditions he personally dislikes.”

    Surely you, who love the traditions of the Church, know that there is a marked difference between Tradition and tradition. The office of the pope is to guard Tradition (that is, the deposit of faith). Disciplines and traditions can come and go, it is Tradition that cannot change.

    If you were truly horrified by changes to tradition, why then do you not cry out when the Pope wears a white cassock instead of red? Why do you not decry clerical celibacy? These are changes to tradition (and yet not changes to Tradition).

    Put your hope in Christ and in the Faith once delivered. Find anchor in Tradition, and don’t confuse it with tradition.

  79. AvantiBev says:

    To ABSIT INVIDIA: I for one did not find Barack Hussein Obama and his administration disappointments. I found them to be exactly what I knew they would be; but then I am a Chi town gal! They don’t call it the “Windy City” because of meteorological conditions. It was a sarcastic term for the boasting of our politicians and citizens. He was exactly the community organizer I knew him to be. Those “communities” by the way are where 6 month old babies get shot and killed.

    I am not a fashion diva so my only question Father Z is this: Can Summorum Pontificum be abrogated? Overturned? Ignored? Likelihood that the spread of EF Masses will be frozen during this pontificate?

    [The Supreme Pontiff can eliminate Summorum Pontificum with a flick of his pen. But there is no upside to his doing so. And what was started can’t now be stopped. The tank has only on gear now. It is time to push ahead, not stall, not hesitate, not slow down, but put the peddle to the metal.]

  80. Daniel says:

    Has everybody noticed that there is quite a difference in the chair used by Pope Francis versus the one used by Pope Benedict for the same Masses? Not only in the style, but in it’s placement.

  81. Daniel says:

    Has everybody noticed that there is quite a difference in the chair used by Pope Francis versus the one used by Pope Benedict for the same Masses? Not only in the style, but in it’s placement.

  82. JKnott says:

    Maybe this is a little off topic but I just read the Pope’s Inauguration homily for the Solemnity of St. Joseph with great disappointment.
    The theme was to protect the environment and others.
    No mention of protection for the unborn and the elderly.
    No mention of the Holy Family and the threat to marriage.
    The whole world watching.
    Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden must have been in ecstasy.

    Here it is: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2013/03/19/full-text-of-pope-franciss-inauguration-homily/

    Benedict’s Inauguration homily interestingly speaks about the symbolism of the Pallium and the Fisherman’s Ring.

  83. pmullane says:


    I’m fairly sure Pelosi and Biden wouldn’t have understood a word of it.

  84. Blog Goliard says:

    What I look for most of all, when changes to ritual come about, is whether those changes do more to modify or to clarify, to illumine or to cloud, the symbolism and underlying meaning.

    I thought that Papa Francesco’s decision to introduce himself to the world in the simple white cassock was the positive, clarifying sort of change. To most of the world (including even most Catholics), it’s exceedingly simple: white cassock = pope, and that’s all there is to it. I believe that foregoing the red mozzetta served to amplify that symbol, that visual cue, in the eyes of the hundreds of millions of casual observers, more than it took away from or harmed other symbolism and tradition.

    Further, I believe that his choice to emerge without the stole, then put it on to give the Apostolic blessing, then take it off again (kissing it as he did so!), afforded the casual observer an object lesson regarding vestments and sacramentals, which would have been missed had the stole been worn the whole time.

    I do join Fr. Z in hoping that our wonderful new Holy Father is able to accommodate formality–even elaborate formality–as time goes by, when such is truly called for.

  85. Ben Dunlap says:

    timothyputnam, I don’t think the distinction between Tradition and tradition is as easily discerned as you suggest, particularly in matters touching the liturgy (which would include, at least to some extent, the mozzetta) — and even if the entirety of the liturgy is simply ‘tradition’, small-t, it still follows that it influences our disposition to receive and understand Tradition — lex orandi lex credendi.

    In any case this thread on Catholic Answers is really fascinating and helpful — a Franciscan who clearly respects ‘tradition’ is arguing there that we are seeing very intentional manifestations of Pope Francis’s background as a solemnly-professed Jesuit, from the lack of mozzetta to the silver ring to the standing up while preaching (which is apparently the norm for all Jesuit bishops). It puts everything in a quite different perspective.

  86. tgarcia2 says:

    JKnott, as if His Holiness HAD to talk about those things. He chose a topic, and went with it. What was telling was his statement not to mistake kindness for weakness…either way, I am getting a bit tired of the “sky is falling” attitude here, especally with the vestment talk. The Church has SURVIVED 2,000+ years, and I’m sure if St. Peter came back in sandles (which is what he would have worn) there would be still people here complaining how St. Peter didn’t wear the red shoes, etc. This Jesuit will get the job done with the Vatican curia and will continue the year of Faith well.

  87. tgarcia2 says:

    @ Ben Dunlap- good point! “In any case this thread on Catholic Answers is really fascinating and helpful — a Franciscan who clearly respects ‘tradition’ is arguing there that we are seeing very intentional manifestations of Pope Francis’s background as a solemnly-professed Jesuit, from the lack of mozzetta to the silver ring to the standing up while preaching (which is apparently the norm for all Jesuit bishops). It puts everything in a quite different perspective.”

    It does not matter that the vestments in the Vatican are not “his”, the poverty vow goes beyond that. If that is his reasoning, then respect the vow he took.

  88. GAK says:

    Matt P., thank you!

    I also by no means think our Holy Father is sly or calculating; yet, I think it highly likely he is as wise as a serpent in stressing his role as the “Bishop of Rome” of late.

    Because when the machete falls to decapitate some, in his rightful capacity as the Vicar of Christ, it won’t be preceded by months of him talking about his Petrine authority.

    I think he is going to wield that authority as he sees fit without a lot of chit chat. Calm and cool like.

  89. bobbyfranky says:

    Jknott I guess you did not read the homily? The theme was NOT protecting the environment. It was more centered on protecting all of God’s gifts to us, ESPECIALLY people, who were mentioned over and over. (Btw, we are also called by God to be stewards of the environment, the planet He gave us, believe it or not.)

    Before saying we should be protectors , Pope Francis defined ‘the what’ we are to protect – God’s gifts to us. He specifically mentioned some of these gifts we need to protect, including all people:

    “The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. ..”

    Here the Pope moves to ‘people’:

    “It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts! ….

    Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness! …

    … to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us! …”

    You might want to go back and re-read it more carefully.

    God bless you.

  90. bobbyfranky says:

    tgarcia2 et al

    The point the poster JReducation, a Franciscan Brother apparently, on that CAF thread is making is that this Pope IS following the tradition of a ‘regular’ pope, versus a ‘secular’ pope, and he points out that we haven’t had a ‘regular’ pope for several hundred years, so nobody alive knows the traditions, which do not include things like the mozzetta.

    God bless you.

  91. Ben Dunlap says:

    bobbyfranky — my thoughts exactly (on both the CAF thread and the homily). Notice also that in the original Italian homily he uses the word creato five times and creazione only twice. This distinction, which was almost certainly not haphazard, is not preserved in the official English (where we get “creation” six times and “created world” once).

    I know nothing about Italian idiom but I wonder if even “created world” is a relatively weak translation of creato. I suspect that he meant something more like “what God has made”, which has much a different sense than the English “creation”.

    Note also:

    in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death

    Was Herod mentioned in today’s Gospel? Nope. But what did Herod do that St. Joseph had to protect the Holy Family from? Exactly. This was a subtle but extremely pointed word of salvation directed at the political leaders present.

    “let us be “protectors” of creation [creazione], protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”

    This was not a weak homily. Gentle, yes. He covered that distinction in the homily too…

    Finally this bit is worth savoring:

    But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!

  92. Katylamb says:

    The pope did too mention protecting the elderly in his homily. Also, of course the weakest and frailest among us includes the unborn. He has spoken elsewhere about the unborn and we know what he thinks of abortion. I thought it was a beautiful homily. Talking about protecting “all of creation” is no sin, is it? We are told to be good stewards of God’s gifts- he isn’t the first to say that. And after all, I didn’t hear him say we should put protection of the environment above God, concern for other people or saving our souls- did you?
    I guess some people won’t like what he has to say no matter what it is. Sad.

  93. Allan S. says:

    1. The Holy Father was selected as the best candidate to respond to scandal and “clean out the stables”, and deal directly and forcefully with a curia gone off the rails. A reformer Pope, called forward due to the resigmation of a predecessor who felt he lacked the necessary health and vigor.

    2. Then, he inaugurates his pontificate with a homily on meekness, gentleness, forgiveness and mercy – plus some references to the environment and the poor.

    Perhaps someone a lot smarter than me could connect the dots here, because it seems hard to read this as anything other than a set up for a major disappointment on #1….

  94. JKnott says:

    Well, thanks everyone for your good insights. I am more encouraged.

  95. Blog Goliard says:

    @Allan S.: “Softly, softly, catchee monkey.”

  96. majuscule says:

    One of my lefty environmental woman’s-right-to-choose Facebook “friends” highlighted the “protect the environment” part of the homily. These people only see what they want to see. Besides “the environment,” creation (as the Holy Father pointed out) includes our brothers and sisters, born or yet to be.

    I’m heartened that at least he’s reading about what the pope said.

  97. Katylamb says:

    AlanS: Jesus also spoke of meekness, gentleness, forgiveness and mercy – then he made a whip and drove the money changers out of the temple…

  98. Katylamb says:

    I’m sorry for misspelling your name Allan S.

  99. AnnAsher says:

    Allen S- I think it would be that much more decisive and positively shocking when this Pope with his humility and meekness executes orders to clean out the Curia. I’m on pins and needles waiting and I have not given up hope.

  100. Kypapist says:

    Over at the blog “That the bones you have crushed may thrill,” there are several pertinent entries about the Holy Father’s choice of name and fashion style, as well as a very entertaining spot on the perils of spurning ermine. Do visit Bones today, it will be worth your while.

  101. mamajen says:


    Thank you for that link to the CAF. It makes a lot of sense (though for a moment I was quite confused about what he meant by “regular”!). That said, I don’t think his claims are entirely accurate, as Google searching has turned up images of some of those regular popes wearing the mozzetta, and even in some cases the tiara! I suppose it’s possible that artistic license was involved and they didn’t actually wear those things, but it seems unlikely. He mentioned St. Bonaventure, and many of the images I found back up his claim that “He never wore anything other than the brother’s grey habit”, but even then I found some here and there showing him wearing fancy vestments on top of his habit. So, the regular popes (and bishops) may have generally behaved very differently from secular popes and bishops, but it seems that even they made exceptions from time to time when appropriate (as Father Z suggests).

    I do think that Pope Francis’ choices to date have very much to do with his Jesuit background and his very close involvement with the poor. Like others have said, it is unlikely that he is going to suddenly make a dramatic change in that regard. Personally, it doesn’t bother me at all. Both the extreme left and the extreme right are reading into it what they want to see, and it’s getting tiresome. His homilies and public statements so far have been excellent, and his masses very reverent. He is clearly not rejecting tradition, just not using all of its trappings (so far). I do hope he does something to pleasantly surprise my good level-headed Catholic friends who are a little disappointed–I’d like to see you all get some good news.

  102. alanphipps says:

    @Allan S:

    “Perhaps someone a lot smarter than me could connect the dots here, because it seems hard to read this as anything other than a set up for a major disappointment on #1….”

    I don’t think it’s that hard, is it? The two are related and reflect the point that Pope Benedict XVI consistently made: reform, all reform, begins at home, with us.

  103. Ben Dunlap says:

    Allan S., I think a better summary of his homily would be that we are all called to be, like St. Joseph, custodes — guardians — of what God has made (in Italian, creato).

    He then points out that creato includes the environment and the poor but also the elderly, children, “those who are most fragile”, the unborn (again, note the reference to “Herods who plot death”), our own children, our own parents when we are grown, “God’s design inscribed in nature” (i.e., natural law), and our own hearts.

    And being vigilant for these things need not exclude the tenderness displayed by St. Joseph, the strong, brave, working-man custos of the Holy Family.

    I think it was a magnificent homily for a mass on the Feast of St. Joseph attended by many of the most powerful church and secular leaders in the world.

  104. Mary T says:

    Thank you to the poster who pointed out that humility, etc. were NOT lacking in Benedict XVI. I had to laugh at the near hysteria in the secular media about Francis “walking” on his first day and meeting the “crowd,” as the EXACT SAME THING was written about Benedict XVI on April 20, 2008:

    The newly elected Pope, clothed completely in the distinctive white vestments of the papacy, caught onlookers by surprise when he chose to travel on foot, walking the few hundred yards to the apartment in the Citta Leonina where he had lived for years. When the news spread that the Pontiff was walking through the city, hundreds of people quickly gathered, and he spent some time in front of the apartment building, greeting the people and blessing young children. Italian police and Vatican security officials did their best to control the crowd, preserving some breathing room for the Pontiff.
    After a short stay in his old apartment, the Pontiff reappeared, entering a black car that was waiting for him at the entrance of the building. He paused again to wave to the crowd, turning slowly from one direction to another so that he could greet as many as possible. The crowd burst into cheers of “Long live the Pope!” and the chant that has already become familiar: “Benedetto!” Pope Benedict later commented that he was “very moved” as he resumed direct contact with the faithful.

    One thing that greatly saddened me was a Catholic woman on television gushing over the “Horizon of Hope” phrase Pope Francis used, a phrase used many times by Benedict XVI, including during his trip to the US in 2008. She said she was a writer who was going to use it as the title of an article, implying it was something new and definitive for Pope Francis. Sigh. How soon we forget.

  105. MouseTemplar says:

    So..I may have missed a page here, but is this the Mass which was to be attended by Pelosi and Biden? While we were checking for the mozetta, did anyone see them sneak up for Comunion?

  106. Jim of Bowie says:

    “…a curia gone off the rails” – …”clean out the curia.” I hear words to this effect a lot these days. What and who does this refer to, Burke, Piancensa, Canizares-Llovera, Ravasi, Ouellet, Bertone?, all men I respect. Can someone direct me to where I can get more information and then close this rabbit hole?

  107. i also like how he said in Italian ‘custodian’-(custody-caretaker)’, which i prefer in my English/French ears over the Official English translation of protector

  108. mamajen says:

    Really I think it’s rather pointless to get all worked up about the liberals comparing Pope Francis and Pope Benedict. Of course they hate Benedict. Of course they are going to see what they want to see in our new pope. It’s who they are. It doesn’t actually mean anything as far as the truth is concerned. As Father Z said before, they will turn on Pope Francis soon enough…but if they still praise his connection with people from time to time, so be it. I am a very introverted person and a thinker, and I have spent my whole life being seen as a snob, or cold, or boring by people who don’t really know me. That doesn’t make it true, and I find comfort in knowing that a few people understand me and appreciate what I have to offer. Real Catholics can appreciate what both men have to offer without impugning one or the other. Who cares what the rest think?

  109. Pingback: Feast Day of Saint Joseph - Big Pulpit

  110. mamajen says:


    I read somewhere (sadly I can’t recall where), that heads of state and the like are never given communion at the inaugural mass, so it seems a lot of people were fretting for no reason.

    I was delighted that I didn’t see Pelosi or Biden at all while I watched, and I was viewing NBC’s live stream!

  111. AMEN to that ‘mamajen’

  112. Supertradmum says:

    I love Italian rumor machines. They have been all over the place with the Pope’s clothing, habits, friends, etc.

    But, it is all from the heart, it seems. God bless our Pope. I missed the Mass, as I was at local Mass, for the Solemnity of St. Joseph. I am so glad the Pope spoke of protectors. There are WAY too many predators out there and we need more protectors and to be protectors.

  113. GordonB says:

    I found the link to Catholic Answers to be helpful to understanding the RANGE within which we can expect a “Regular” to behave as Pope… I could be shown that the information presented was a bunch of BUNK, but given that it APPEARS to have been written by a member of a religious order, I think that it has credibility at this point. These actions, at the least, don’t appear to be the slap in the face to Benedict that Mahoney wants to cast it as…

  114. bobbyfranky says:

    I wish people wouldn’t mention Cardinal Mahony at all, as in ‘ever’! Let him fade away from public life, from public mention, as Archbishop Gomez desires. Those times are times gone by; the focus needs to be on ‘today’.

    God bless you.

  115. Making a distinction between the size and precise case (upper or lower) of the “t” in Tradition or tradition is a very minimalist way to look at anything. When it comes to the case of the Popes and the Liturgy it is simply a cheap excuse for people who do not want to see anything “wrong” with the choices the (past or present) Popes have made or make.

    While any Pope may do away with the mozzetta and the tiara and the red shoes and the falda and the sedia gestatoria, etc., (as they have already) without any scruple of committing a venial or mortal sin, it does not automatically exempt them from making wise or foolish decisions that will, in the end, affect others in the short and long run.

    The Popes are supposed to be the protectors of tradition, and the definers of Tradition, especially when it comes to the Liturgy (in the West). While the current Pontiff … sorry, scratch that, while the current Bishop of Rome may have his own “style” and “taste,” when it comes to tradition, it does not always give the impression of humility simply to throw what you don’t like out the window. In the case of the Liturgy, because everybody knows by now how low Liturgy has fallen even at the Vatican, the excuse of humility and poverty, etc., does not make the cut.

    No one can deny that St. John Vianney was a humble man (he ate boiled potators!) and spent about 16 (or more) hours in the confessional, yet when it came to the Liturgy he had the reputation of buying the best Vestments and things needed for Mass. I cannot think of any same person who will be able to say that that undid his humility. St. Francis of Assisi gave away everything that was worldly, not anything that was spiritually meaningful. He also did not think himself worthy of being ordained a Priest, etc., etc. Had he become a Priest, his humility would not have turned to nothing simply by that fact.

    If the present Holy Father really wants to follow that way of thinking, or more accurately if people in the comment boxes are going to throw examples of the humility of St. Francis, then pull those things out. And then you will conclude that the current Pontiff should have not accepted to be consecrated a Bishop and that he should have declined the Papacy. But no one will think that to be good logic.

    The Holy Father can do whatever he likes, but it does not make it the best decision simply because he wants things a certain way.

  116. anna 6 says:

    Allan S. :
    “The Holy Father was selected as the best candidate to respond to scandal and “clean out the stables”, and deal directly and forcefully with a curia gone off the rails. A reformer Pope, called forward due to the resigmation of a predecessor who felt he lacked the necessary health and vigor.”

    I find the notion that the curia has “gone off the rails” to be over played. Yes, there is careerism and structural problems that need to be addressed. But I doubt that the broad brush depiction of the”curia” as a “den of vipers” is accurate, nor was the new pope selected for the purpose of addressing a single issue…or at least I hope not.

    Breathless, panicked calls for change within the first 100 days seem like a recipe for disaster to me. Benedict’s calls for transparency and renewal were met with resistance in some places and probably caused some of the friction that came to a head in the last few years. So we can expect more tension as Francis moves to streamline some of the bureaucracy. Patience people.

    Papa Francesco has my love and prayers.

  117. LarryW2LJ says:

    Fr. Z,

    Thanks so much for these topics and the ensuing discussion, which you encourage – I have been learning so much.

    I have to agree with you and mamjen and so many others – the media will turn on Pope Francis once they come to realize that he is Catholic.

    As Salomon wrote in Ecclesiastes “There is nothing new under the sun”. I am old enough to remember how the media went gaga, after Nixon’s resignation, when Gerald Ford was seen in the White House kitchen, toasting his own english muffin. I was also reminded how they again went delirious when Jimmy Carter eschewed the limousine and chose to walk the route of his inaugural parade.

    My point is not to say that Pope Francis is anything like Ford or Carter; but rather this is the type of stuff that the media gets all hyped up about and likes to report. If I might play the prophet, however, and state that the media will soon be asking where “all that stuff” went once Pope Francis gets settled and does make the hard decisions and keeps on making the tough and unpopular anti-secular statements that he will need to make, in order to carry on his duties as Pope.

  118. monmir says:

    signs of office, solemn and traditional, have their proper place. They send signals. The non-use of these symbols also sends signals.

    Very well said Father; I agree.

  119. BLB Oregon says:

    This topic leaves me somewhat torn. I don’t think the mozzetta and other non-liturgical but nevertheless truly symbolic garb of the Holy Father ought to fall into disuse, not at all. OTOH, I also feel as if Tradition (the one that counts most) requires a certain amount of docility from me with regards to what the Supreme Pontiff and Supreme Liturgist decides to do with regards to these things, particularly when the topic is protocol. It is certainly within my purview to have an opinion, and even to make direct appeals in favor of one thing or another, but in the end it is his office to make these decisions, not mine. What would be a worse public face to the world, after all: the world taking it as a sign of disrespect that he dispenses of a particular garment, or the world taking it as a sign of disrespect that we have more concern for the garment signifying the office than for the authority that the garment signifies? In other words, the garment is not unimportant, not at all, but when it comes to what God expects of a saint–that is, to accept or to have the unfortunate duty to protest to legitimate authority–I think that acceptance is going to be the order of the day, alas. It may be that he will surprise us all, and will wear the mozzetta, but not when he entertains heads of state. He may decide he will only wear it when he visits the poor and the forgotten, in order to show them the deference that the rest of the world denies them.

    I did have a conversation with a friend today who mentioned having had lunch with a person of some fame (as this fellow had acted a part on a well-known TV show) and being appalled at the total lack of privacy and even personal space that people afforded this fellow. He said the actor took it all in good stride, but he imagined it must be exhausting to have people press upon you so. It made me think that perhaps it will not be long before the Holy Father sees why the papal apartments are so large. He used to have all of Buenos Aires to live in, and only needed a small space to sleep and prepare a little meal. With no desert to withdraw into any longer, though, he may find that the papal apartments are all the camera-free and microphone-free monastery that he gets. That thought made me think that the wearing of certain garb may also be an area in which his thinking may evolve as time goes by. (For instance, if just one little boy ever asks “Holy Father, why won’t you ever wear your red cape for us?”, that could do it!)

  120. pseudomodo says:

    I agree with Fr. Z and will miss the trappings of papal elegance if they are truely gone.
    I would add that just like suffering is not useless to the christian mind, beauty and elgance are also not useless. I pray for return of these things.
    Of course it would be too far to suggest that the Holy Father should be offered a straw mattress in the corner of the papal apartment. Nor would I suggest that the papal household set his table with paper plates and plastic knives and forks, but he should reconsider the message he is sending.

  121. BLB Oregon says:

    And there is this:

    The Holy Father got on the phone before his inaugural Mass and spoke to the people assembled in Buenos Aires. He said to them, “”Dear sons and daughters, I know you have gathered in the square. I know that you are saying prayers, I need them very much,” he said. “It is beautiful to pray because we look to heaven and know that we have a good father who is God.”

    Pope Francis called the cellphone of one of his aides, Father Alejandro Russo, rector of the cathedral, according to the Argentine newspaper Clarin.

    “I want to ask a favor of you,” he said. “I want to ask for us to walk together, to care for one another, for you to care for each other. Do not cause harm. Protect life. Protect the family; protect nature; protect the young; protect the elderly. Let there not be hatred or fighting. Put aside envy.”

    In a saying well-known in Buenos Aires, he added: “No le saquen el cuero a nadie,” which means literally, “don’t flay or skin anyone alive.” Figuratively it means, “don’t gossip, don’t criticize one another.”

    If we pray for him about this, and do it in the spirit he talked about during this phone call, then perhaps God will intercede. Remember St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and the miracles she received through prayer. One answer to her prayer was a murderer who repented before his execution, yes, but another one was snow on the day of her clothing day. If God heard his St. Thérèse when she asked for snow, something she did not “need”, then surely it is OK to go to God and ask as a little one, as she did, to see the Holy Father wear his mozzetta again. What a great love it would signify then!

  122. bobbyfranky says:

    “surely it is OK to go to God and ask as a little one, as she did, to see the Holy Father wear his mozzetta again.”

    I don’t know, with all respect, this is crossing into the bizarro imho, this is bad form. With all the souls in purgatory that do not get prayers, with all the abortion, with all those walking without God in danger of being lost, to pray that the Pope will wear the mozzetta ‘so i can be happy again like I was when Benedict wore it!” seems – no i will be direct – is self-centerd, selfish, making the wearing of the mozzetta ‘all about me’. Please, please, please, get a grip people – put things in proper order. Show some proper form.

    God bless you.

  123. Denis says:

    “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.”

    Well said! Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity have an affinity for the Extraordinary Form. Clearly they believe that it is possible to cultivate the virtue humility and to serve the poor while at the same time affirming the liturgical traditions of the Church. Indeed, it is arguable that the additional discipline and dedication demanded by the traditional form of the Roman rite serve promote the virtue of humility. The prayers at the foot of the altar remind the priest of his sinfulness in a way that is lost in the new form of the Roman rite.

  124. Traductora says:

    On a flight to Rome right now – will be there tomorrow and hope to be in the piazza for Palm Sunday. And I really don’t care what he’s wearing. I think people are reading way too much into this.

    Yes, he’s making changes (minor, so far) very quickly, but one thing that probably brought down BXVI is that he moved too slowly and gave his enemies time to consolidate their opposition. So we shall see. But I think the Holy Spirit knows what He’s doing, and so far I really haven’t seen a thing that gives any solid reason for complaint.

  125. Katylamb says:

    I don’t see why it would be wrong or bizarre to ask God to let the pope wear a mozzetta. Didn’t Jesus tell us to ask for what we want? We should already be praying for the poor and the poor souls and all those other things. How long can it take to add a request that the pope dress in a certain way? In fact, I just said a prayer right now to ask God for that. Not for myself, because I don’t really mind if he does or not, but because it’s clear that it would reassure many other people and make them feel better. :)

  126. boxerpaws1952 says:

    prayers and love for our new Pope Francis and our Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI and the Church.
    the photo i saw most often this morning was our Holy Father stepping down and embracing the disabled man. It was everywhere and spoke volumes. That photos sums up our faith. Sums up the Holy Father’s homily.
    Maybe i’m reading it wrong but i forsee a rejuvenated Church under this pontificate and the New Evangelization Blessed John Paul and His Holiness Benedict called for. (Maybe this Pope will canonize Blessed John Paul II and declare Benedict a Doctor of the Church.i also have great hopes he will make Archbishop Ganswein a Cardinal).
    Not going to take this pontificate for granted. Only God knows how long we will have the wonderful Pope we now have. We’ve been through a great deal. I have a wait and see attitude to the concerns raised by Father Z et al.

  127. gjp says:

    Re: Ken Untener

    For those who might not know who that is, the Most Rev. Untener was the former Ordinary of the Diocese of Saginaw (Michigan) who was known for many things, not the least of which is that he rarely, if ever, dressed like a bishop. I grew up in the 1980s in Saginaw and it seemed the only thing “Bishop Ken” liked to wear was the purple zucchetto. In fact, he never took it off, not even during the Eucharistic Prayer when he was supposed to.

    In fact, when the now Archbishop of St. Louis succeeded Untener as Bishop of Saginaw, many Catholic schoolchildren were amazed to see him wearing a “pope hat” (the miter), because they actually did think that only the Pope wore it, Untener never did.

    The only lesson we schoolchildren learned from Untener was that if we could name all the Beatitudes, he would grant us one extra snow day each school year (it seemed like he visited us once a year). That was about it.

  128. anna 6 says:

    “one thing that probably brought down BXVI is that he moved too slowly and gave his enemies time to consolidate their opposition.”

    Benedict XVI was not “brought down”. When he resigned, his towering papacy was as elevated and lofty as ever.
    It was his age and health that motivated his decision for the good of the Church he loved and served.

  129. BLB Oregon says:

    “I don’t know, with all respect, this is crossing into the bizarro imho, this is bad form. With all the souls in purgatory that do not get prayers, with all the abortion, with all those walking without God in danger of being lost, to pray that the Pope will wear the mozzetta ‘so i can be happy again like I was when Benedict wore it!” seems – no i will be direct – is self-centerd, selfish, making the wearing of the mozzetta ‘all about me’. Please, please, please, get a grip people – put things in proper order. Show some proper form.”

    If you have read the Story of a Soul, then you know that expressing a desire for snow was hardly the only topic of the prayers of this Doctor of the Church. Far from it! Rather, there was nothing she did not bring to God. She brought everything, from her concern for a murderer that she feared would spend eternity in hell for his horrible crime and, yes, all the way to her little hope that there might be snow clothing the ground in beauty on the day she herself was clothed to start her lifelong service of God. Furthermore, she related that when her day seemed to have dawned too warm for snow, she was not crestfallen about it. She accepted it without any complaint. Yet she saw fit, this writer who was declared a Doctor of the Church, to point out that God does care about these little things, these things that both delight and edify us, and that it is OK to bring these things before the Throne of God, too, just as a little child might, and to be pleased when God sends us the little consolation of answering such a prayer.

    When we get too big to bring little things to God, we have gotten bigger than we are meant to get. If anything is big enough to be on our hearts, then it is big enough to bring to God. If it is wrong to bring it, if we ask for what is wrong, then the Holy Spirit will let us know. That is the best way to find out.

  130. Didacus says:

    New info over at Messa in Latino:

    «Aggioramento: alla cerimonia di inaugurazione la mozzetta non è stata utilizzata, nemmeno nel successivo incontro con i Capi di Stato e di Governo. Confermiamo tuttavia, per informazione diretta, dell’avvenuta consegna nella serata di lunedì 18 marzo della menzionata mozzetta. Vedremo nei prossimi giorni»

    (quick translation): “New information: on the inauguration ceremony the mozzetta wasn’t worn, neither was it during the following meeting with the heads-of-State and Govern. We confirm however, by direct information, that the mozzetta was indeed commissioned on the eve of the 18th of March. We will watch for it in the days to come.”

  131. Lot says:

    We see the problem when we use the Pope’s celebration of the Liturgy as the basis of how things should be done at the local level. I am learning that lesson the hard way. If we rely on the rubrics which are there for all who so desire to see, then we will be on much firmer ground for these are not so easily changed from one Papacy to the next. After laying that foundation, we can then use the Pope’s celebration of Mass or other Liturgical celebration as an example of the rubrics in practice.

    On a side note, I would be very happy to attend a Mass regularly that was celebrated with as much solemnity as the Papal inauguration Mass was this morning.

  132. bobbyfranky says:

    Fine, but some seem ready to harbor some sort of negativity towards this pope, if their prayer for the mozzetta is not answered in the affirmative. I have read much along this line already on various blogs, which is why it is even being discussed.

    I love God and know He loves me more than I could ever imagine; I also know I am no St. Thérèse of Lisieux and so my offering a prayer for the mozzetta would be a vanity.

    Remember, some don’t want Pope Francis to wear a mozzetta, so if he does, then those will be upset, and might pray that he never wear it again! I for one do not pray for laundry to be worn, or not worn. Whatever the pope wears is fine with me, he is and will always be my pope.

    God bless you.

  133. Mariana says:

    “There are seven scarpe (shoe) boxes sized from 40-46.”

    Oh dear, here I was hoping that maybe his feet were too large for what was on offer, but I don’t think I have ever even seen a pair of size 46 shoes! Maybe someone could hide his black shoes and fill his wardrobe with red ones : ) ?

  134. BLB Oregon says:

    bobbyfranky, you make a very important point: If we are going to pray as St. Thérèse did, then we have to accept the answers as she did. She did not pout when it seemed certain would be no snow on her special day. She did not blame God or anyone else. She was willing to accept whatever answer she got. But think of this: if it had snowed and she had not asked for it, what would the snow have been for her? A private sort of pleasure, something to make “my day” memorable, but nothing more. Instead, because of her attitude she saw it as a favor from God when it snowed, not because she was great before God, but because she was little, and because she thought of this as the kind of consolation that little ones are given by our gracious God.

    If we put this matter of the mozzetta into the hands of God, if we pour out our hearts (whatever is in them), and then leave the result in God’s hands, then whatever God decides to do, it will bring us closer to God. It will increase our sense that our Holy Father is in the hands of God, too, that God has the Church in hand, whatever happens. That is the most important thing. God has all in His hand, no matter what we do. Like the elder son in the story of the Prodigal Son, we pray not because the work will get something done that God couldn’t accomplish without us, but because by doing God’s work and by putting ourselves in dependence on God, we are fashioned into a likeness of our Father in Heaven. That is the important thing.

  135. bobbyfranky says:

    “On a side note, I would be very happy to attend a Mass regularly that was celebrated with as much solemnity as the Papal inauguration Mass was this morning.”

    I guess I am blessed. I get to attend one just as solemn every Sunday at my local parish church – it is a new order Mass too, and done in full with incense, the blessing of the altar with the incense, some Latin and Greek singing mixed with the more sacred music sang in English. The Eucharistic ministers do not enter the sacred altar space – the priest comes down to them to give them Holy Communion and their chalices; the priest and all others on the altar kneel and face it whenever the center tabernacle at the back of the altar is opened, etc. It is truly beautiful and one leaves feeling they were in a very holy, sacred presence.

    God bless you.

  136. boxerpaws1952 says:

    it’s the media doing the Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus comparison. Pope Emeritus had the pontificate of Blessed John Paul ‘over his head’ so to speak when he was elected.
    Now Pope Francis seems to have the pontificate of Benedict and Blessed John Paul II over his head.
    I know-it’ s probably part of human nature to make comparisons. The model though is Jesus.
    That said, there are legitimate concerns and this is why i have a wait and see attitude. Both views have legitimate points.We can take into consideration the man’s background,the country he came from, his experiences and now his first days in an office he didn’t have a clue he would ever be elected to. I felt for His Holiness Benedict the XVI. i cannot imagine a man of his age and health being able to continue on with the demands of this office. He said he stepped down for the good of the Church and that takes more than simplicity;that takes humility and courage.If you have an aging and ill parent you know the difficulties. I have the feeling a Bishop Emeritus would be the first to defend His Holiness Benedict the XVI.
    Maybe we needed a Pope Francis at this time after all the sadness of losing His Holiness Benedict the XVI and Blessed John Paul II.Pope Francis seems to exude both joy and tranquility. Hopefully this will carry him over when it’s time to deal with the serious issues we face.As for Fr Z’s legitimate concerns ;for me it’s a wait and see.For now I really don’t forsee any ‘undoing’.

  137. bobbyfranky says:

    ” if we ask for what is wrong, then the Holy Spirit will let us know”

    Well then.
    I feel a deep empathy to pray for all the suffering and lost souls in this world, for the pope and his intentions, for Our Lady and her intentions, for priests and religious, and for all the suffering in purgatory, and no desire whatsoever to pray for the mozzetta, so I guess I could say (but I am not so bold) the Holy Spirit has let me know I don’t need to pray for that. I can’t speak for anybody else.

    BLB Oregon, I feel the need to pray for you to overcome your disappointment because I don’t think this ‘regular’ pope, being a Jesuit who took the name of the first Franciscan, will not be wearing the mozzetta any time soon, if ever. I hope and pray you are able to adjust to that, and to accept it, and move past it.

    God bless you.

  138. bobbyfranky says:

    oops: “will be wearing the mozzetta any time soon,”

  139. Allan S. says:

    Hmmm…perhaps the red mozzetta was commissioned by someone other than the Pope, in the hopes of making it a gift to him – perhaps from such a person who could induce the Holy Father to wear it?

    That could be a plan. Or was. Word’s on the street now (I’m guessing it’s more than fifty bucks down the drain too!)….

  140. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I seem to recall thinking that there was no way in heck we’d ever see the fanon again, but I was wrong about that.

    Re: “custodes” and “stewards” — Actually, Adam was told to take care of the Garden of Eden with the same word used to describe the priests and Levites taking care of the Temple. We serve and worship God in His Temple, which is Creation. The other implication is that Adam was to protect the Garden (presumably from monsters like the Snake).

    So yeah, the Pope is talking about the basic original job for humans.

  141. bobbyfranky says:

    “Hmmm…perhaps the red mozzetta was commissioned by someone other than the Pope, in the hopes of making it a gift to him – perhaps from such a person who could induce the Holy Father to wear it?
    That could be a plan. Or was. Word’s on the street now (I’m guessing it’s more than fifty bucks down the drain too!)…”

    If it is true that ‘regular’ popes do not wear mozzettas according to their tradition, why would somebody want to ‘induce’ him to wear it? Seems like they are trying to induce him to break the tradition of ‘regular’ popes, perhaps without knowing that tradition themselves (if it is indeed a tradition), since there hasn’t been one in several centuries? So quite possibly, while thinking they are upholding tradition, they are actually breaking it by trying to get the ‘regular’ Pope to wear the mozzetta? Strange days indeed! Of course, this is all just speculation, spurred on by that Italian press!

    God bless you.

  142. GAK says:

    anna 6

    Cardinals Sodano & Rode are the ones who directly tried to impede Pope Benedict’s disciplining of Maciel. Recall the “news release” that the Vatican gave, and was 100% counter to the direction Pope Benedict was going when it came to all things Maciel?

    There’s a leeettle bitty bit more than careerism going on in them there parts.

    I myself think some heads, they need to roll.

  143. GAK says:

    BTW, I agree with you that Pope Benedict was not “brought down,” by any means.

    But that doesn’t mean Pope Francis might not have some scores to settle on his big brother Papa Bene’s behalf.

  144. Allan S. says:

    Or, perhaps the Holy Father did order it…and made (or will make) a gift of it to the Ecumenical Patriarch who was a guest today…?

  145. BLB Oregon says:

    bobbyfranky, you dear soul, you worry too much! I live in Portland, Oregon. Sometimes, when we ask for snow, we get it. Sometimes, we don’t. But when we get it, I have taught my children because of their prayer to always let the gift of snow remind them of how pure and beautiful the Blessed Virgin is. It is not just “let it snow”, then. It is, “If God wills that it snow, let it both delight and edify.”

    Pray for the poor souls! As I said, I would love to see the our Holy Father bring mozzetta back specifically for those he described today as those “who are often the last we think about,” but we are not talking about a sacrilege if he doesn’t. What he has chosen to wear thus far is simple, but he is wearing the proper garb of his office. He is challenging the right people to do the right things, and his desire is to be a holy man who protects the Church with the heart and attitude of St. Joseph. The rest is not unimportant, not any more out of place than the gold, frankincense and myrrh, not any more out of place than the contents of that broken alabaster jar that Judas criticized and that we still praise, but it has its place.

  146. Michael J. says:

    I actually am surprised that the Papal White has lasted as long as it has. We know the Tradition was started by Pope Saint Pius V, a Dominican, who continued wearing his Dominican white. I am not here to criticize Pope Paul VI, but he eliminated so much and changed so many things, and I am not even including the changes to the Liturgy, that I really am surprised that the Popes still wear white. And now, the Papal Tiara is not even to be found on the Coat of Arms of the Popes, let alone actually be worn at the appropriate occasions. I heard someone say that Jesuits generally do not accept positions like becoming a Bishop, Archbishop, Cardinal, or Pope. It has to do with their vows. They can accept these positions, but apparently it must be done after meditating on whether it is something that, as a Jesuit, the man should accept. I wish the Pope would see that the laity want to see the Popes look, act, and dress like Popes. It is not about the personal likes or dislikes of the man, it is for the edification of the Office that the man holds.

  147. tgarcia2 says:

    @Michael J “And now, the Papal Tiara is not even to be found on the Coat of Arms of the Popes….”

    Benedict didn’t have the Tiara on his coat of arms.

  148. poohbear says:

    Everyone keeps saying that being a Jesuit isn’t compatible with Papal things. Well, maybe this should have been thought of before accepting the position.

  149. Charivari Rob says:


    re Cardinal O’Malley, vestments, and especially that beautiful church

    That one little photo with the article doesn’t do it justice. Here’s a link to a set of photos for that Mass – http://www.flickr.com/photos/bostoncatholic/sets/72157632964370256/with/8544884526/

  150. Jon says:

    Here is a “regular” pope, Clement XIV of happy memory, a Franciscan, and suppressor of the Jesuits. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/Portrait_du_pape_Cl%C3%A9ment_XIV_Ganganelli.jpg

    Clement reigned from 1769 -1774, it’s a portrait from life, and, as anyone can see, he clearly wears the mozzetta.

  151. Will Elliott says:

    Jon at 10:37 am:
    “Pope Pius V wore the Dominican habit, not the red robes.’
    Pius V? Pius V? Oh, you mean this guy?

    I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make here. Wearing a red mozetta over a white habit isn’t the same thing as wearing all red robes.

  152. Giuseppe says:

    Oh my goodness! Re. Charivari Rob says: re Cardinal O’Malley, vestments, and especially that beautiful church, That one little photo with the article doesn’t do it justice. Here’s a link to a set of photos for that Mass – http://www.flickr.com/photos/bostoncatholic/sets/72157632964370256/with/8544884526/

    The Bernini statue of St. Theresa in ecstasy, not far from the main altar (captured spectacularly well in one of those photos), really causes me to blush far too many shades of red — even redder than Cardinal O’Malley’s outfit. Remind me, was Bernini really a believer, or merely an artist who took good advantage of where the money was coming from? I’ve never read any biographies of him.

  153. JLHernandez says:

    Great post Father. I’m reminded of something C.S. Lewis wrote:

    “…the very fact that pompous is now used only in bad sense measures the degree to which we have lost the old idea of ‘solemnity’. To recover it you must think of a court ball, or a coronation, or a victory march, as these things appear to people who enjoy them; in an age when every one puts on his oldest clothes to be happy in, you must re-awake the simpler state of mind in which people put on gold and scarlet to be happy in.”

    “Above all, you must be rid of the hideous idea, fruit of a wide-spread inferiority complex, that pomp, on the proper occasions, has any connexion with vanity or self-conceit. A celebrant approaching the altar, a princess led out by a king to dance a minuet, a general officer on a ceremonial parade, a major-domo preceding the boar’s head at a Christmas feast – all these wear unusual clothes and move with calculated dignity. This does not mean that they are vain, but that they are obedient; they are obeying the hoc age which presides over every solemnity. The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual.”

    “…The desire for simplicity is a late and sophisticated one. We moderns may like dances which are hardly distinguishable from walking and poetry which sounds as if it might be uttered ex tempore. Our ancestors did not. They liked a dance which was a dance, and fine clothes which no one could mistake for working clothes, and feasts that no one could mistake for ordinary dinners, and poetry that unblushingly proclaimed itself to be poetry. …Epic diction, Christmas fare, and the liturgy, are all examples of ritual – that is, of something set deliberately apart from daily usage, but wholly familiar within its own sphere. …Those who dislike ritual in general – ritual in any and every department of life – may be asked most earnestly to reconsider the question. It is a pattern imposed on the mere flux of our feelings by reason and will, which renders pleasures less fugitive and griefs more endurable, which hands over to the power of wise custom the task (to which the individual and his moods are so inadequate) of being festive or sober, gay or reverent, when we choose to be, and not at the bidding of chance”

    -C.S. Lewis (From his preface to paradise lost)

  154. Nan says:

    As God so loved us that he sent his only son to die on the cross, Benedict loves the Church so much that he stepped down from the papacy to pray for the Church. That’s a huge gift to us as he knows it’s what’s needed most. Pope Francis is who we need right now. Pray for the Swiss Guard that they may keep track of him and keep him safe.

  155. Jon says:


    I don’t ever recall seeing any pope entirely in “red robes,” whatever they are. Folks above were grasping at straws, trying to find a “traditional” reason that Francis has eschewed the red mozzetta. The reason they came up with was a difference between “regular” and “secular” popes, supposing that secular popes wear the red, while regular popes do not. My point is that while the effort might be a great comfort, it’s in fact historical balderdash. All popes, whether their background was secular or religious, have worn the mozzetta since its inception. And although there has never before been a Jesuit pope, there have been plenty of Jesuit prelates, who all have worn the garment.

    Francis is different. His liturgical dress isn’t just simple. It’s self-consciously careless, per the style of post-1970 members of his order. He refuses the mozzetta because it’s a symbol of authority, a fact he’s trying to downplay right now. He’s seeking a revolution in our perceptions of the papacy and indeed its very power.

    Revolution, per my instruction book, is always a VERY bad thing..

  156. fizzwizz says:

    I think the pope Francis has absolutely no taste. Those vestments that were worn yesterday were just awful. The pope’s vestments looked really dowdy and plain. The others with that big T shape …. well words fail me. Pope Benedict wore beautiful vestments. Beautiful vestments for the beautiful sacrifice of the Mass. Now it is all quite depressing looking. I know others will go on about the poor… humility…. Does that mean that nothing can be beautiful anymore or joyful. have we turned into Puritans overnight?
    Plus on another subject I really like EWTN but I wish there panels during the coverage could have been a bit more analytical. I get the impression that my if my cat had been elected Pope they would have been gushing. It is a bit emperor’s clothes(even though there is a lack of them)

  157. An American Mother says:

    If ‘good taste’ was what really mattered, the Episcopalians would be in charge.
    In my old ‘high church’ ECUSA parish, everything was in exquisite taste – the vestments, the church, the music, communion received kneeling at the rail (though in the hand), no swarms of EMHCs in civilian clothes (just a chalice bearer in cassock and cotta and 2 altar servers with paten and napkin).
    But the glory had departed . . . .

  158. fizzwizz says:

    But they don’t have the fullness of truth we do!! So let’s celebrate it.

    And yes good taste does matter. It raises up the heart and the mind. That is why God gave us these gifts.

  159. bobbyfranky says:

    “I think the pope Francis has absolutely no taste. Those vestments that were worn yesterday were just awful. The pope’s vestments looked really dowdy and plain. The others with that big T shape …. well words fail me.”

    The others with the big T shape were the vestment designs worn by the cardinals during Pope Benedict’s installation Mass – you can find youtube videos of it.

    Here is a good take on it, saying there was a combination of the simplicity of Franciscans and Jesuits in the choice of vestments:


    Some points from that link:

    “The cardinals today wore the classic Roman-Franciscan chasuble with the Tau on the chest. Granted, it’s not a beautiful vestment as some of the more elaborate fiddle backs are. To be honest, this one was not beautiful at all. Personally, I didn’t like the combination of colors. However, they got the design correct. ”

    “There was also a strong Jesuit influence in the Holy Father’s own vestments. They followed the simple and unpretentious Jesuit style. The Jesuits have always shunned any form of extravagance in vestments for mass. This is a tradition that goes back to the 1500s.”

    God bless you.

  160. bobbyfranky says:

    It is not EWTN’s job while covering Papal events to be a cheering section for trads or libs or whatever – their job during those events is to report, without criticism, while showing love for our Church. Alternatively, you could watch some of these on CNN, which covers some of these events and uses them as a vehicle to provide commentary that slaps Catholics up-side the head on women priests, same-sex marriage, contraception, etc. I am grateful to have EWTN.

    God bless you.

  161. bobbyfranky says:

    Jon says “Francis is different. His liturgical dress isn’t just simple. It’s self-consciously careless, per the style of post-1970 members of his order. He refuses the mozzetta because it’s a symbol of authority, a fact he’s trying to downplay right now. He’s seeking a revolution in our perceptions of the papacy and indeed its very power. ”

    Facts please. There is no sign of a ‘revolution’. There is no sign of Pope Franics refusing authority – in fact, he is being very very authorative. He has shown himself firm and powerful, not one to be pushed around – the ‘quiet thunder’. We wait to see if and how he straightens out the curia, which from all accounts is in dire need of reform.

    God bless you.

  162. GAK says:

    If you are complaining about EWTN’s coverage, you would have laid an egg if you’d watched NBC. Complete with Fr. James Martin SJ purposefully and pointedly (and he knows better) giving Pope Francis 100% of the credit for the Patriarch of Constantinople attending the inaugural mass. Throw in Maria Shriver proudly announcing that Jesuits create their own dogma.

  163. Jon says:


    The “facts” you seek are the evidence of the eyes. This is Catholicism. Symbols indicate to us an underlying reality. When the Successor of Peter refuses to style himself “Supreme Pontiff,” eschews “Pontificate” for “Ministry of the Bishop of Rome,” replaces his throne with a plain chair, refuses to bless outside of strict liturgical functions, informing unbelievers his blessing will be in silence rather than risk offending them (which he did this morning), he is TELLING you something. He is telling you a something that no pontiff has ever told you before.

    This is the man who, in front of witnesses publicly excoriated Msgr. Marini last week after laying out vestments for his first Mass in the Sistine Chapel. The man who according to witnesses, literally shouted in irritation when pressed, “Quella roba se la metta lei, Monsignore. Il tempo delle carnevalate è finito -That stuff you put out Monsignor; carnival time is over!” This is a man showing himself firm and powerful, all right.

    As for “Franciscan simplicity,” here’s a little:

    And that “simple and unpretentious Jesuit style” going “back to the 1500’s:”

    I sympathize with efforts to try and establish a continuity (there’s that word!) between Pope Francis and what’s gone before, if only to guard one’s love for Peter. But how does one deal with seeing one’s father cast aside the very things that tells one he’s their father? He may be one’s father still, but he’s turned the world upside down, and practical experience tells us its unnatural, and unhealthy. Experience with my own sons has told me that yes, it’s good to be their pal and it’s the role I prefer, but for their own well-being I must sometimes elevate my status above their own, and make that distinction clear, and irrefutable – but to do so in paternal magnanimity, with regard for their feelings, their perception of the world, and what they hold dear. So it is here.

    Love Pope Francis. Pray for Pope Francis. But at your own peril, and that of the Church and the Christendom we’d see him restore, don’t mistake Pope Francis.

  164. Mariana says:

    OT, but perhaps somebody can help. I was today asked by a Lutheran theologian since when popes have worn red shoes. Any info?

  165. JimGB says:

    The link posted by bobbyfranky was very informative as to why in this pontificate we may not see extensive (if any) use of some of the more beautiful vestments, or historic ones worn by previous popes, with which we have become so familiar during the pontificate of Benedict XVI and the tenure of Msgr. Guido Marini. So we may have to lower our expectations somewhat and maybe over time Pope Francis will incorporate more of the traditional papal garb as potent symbols of his office. I was disappointed too that he has chosen not to wear the mozzetta and the red shoes, but I think he is still adjusting to his role. I read on another site that he came to Rome alone, with no priest-secretary or other assistant, and apparently none is being sent from Buenos Aires. So this is a BIG transition for him.

    Notwithstanding the simplicity of the vestments, I thought that the Mass yesterday was very reverent and the music was beautiful. It is so rare to hear Credo III sung anymore. I have been more than 25 years in my current parish and have not heard a sung Credo once, and the Gloria is always one of the contemporary versions, in English. So as long as the papal liturgies remain solemn, reverent, and incorporate the elements introduced by Msgr. Marini (e.g., “Benedictine” altar arrangement, use of latin, chant, etc.) everything should be OK. I will not “panic” until I see a P. Marini altar arrangement of two low candles on one side of the altar and a vase of flowers on the opposite side, or a return of the “Amazing Technicolor Dream Cope” in which JPII was once vested, or a return of the silver modernistic pastoral staff first used by Paul VI and employed until Msgr. G Marini arrived.

  166. Jon,

    What witnesses? What’s your source?

  167. Folks, please note that once a Religious has been elevated to the Episcopacy he is in effect dispensed from his vows: Can. 705 &706. The Episcopal state and the Religious state can’t be fully reconciled. Our Holy Father is well aware of this. He’s been a Bishop for a long time. This does not exempt his from the evangelical counsel. No Christian is exempted from the evangelical counsels. However, the evangelical counsels are to be lived according to ones state of life. Poverty for a Pontiff looks very different than poverty in other states of life.

    Also, I continue to be concerned about the way poverty is being viewed. This is a growing erroneous sense that poverty is a good in itself. On the contrary, it is an act of the virtue of detachment which is itself ordered to contemplation. So, the question must be asked: How do these apparent “acts of poverty” contribute to detachment and contemplation? I’m beginning to see these actions as not acts of poverty. Rather, they seem to be something else entirely. I’m not sure. They may be necessary signs as a preparation for the long needed curial reforms. I’m not sure. However, we should not confuse these actions with poverty. That would be a misunderstanding of poverty.

    Also, as was said above, I don’t they can be considered acts of humility either. Humility is an interior disposition. It is about knowing their proper place among men and before God. It is an act of humility for a Pontiff to be vested in the glory due his office. This is because it is a proper understanding of his relationship to everyone else. So, contrary to what the media is saying, I don’t think that one can call these actions – acts of humility. I’m not sure what they are.

    I’m not attributing ill will to the Holy Father. On the contrary, I’m sure he’s doing his best. I just think that there’s a lot of confusion out there about the nature of poverty, humility, and the like. My fear is that minimalism is being confused with noble simplicity. However, the jury is still out. Let’s see how things go. But, let’s properly identify virtues and the acts of virtues.

  168. Mariana says:

    Br. Gabriel,

    Thank you for your explanation of poverty and humility, both things I have difficulty understanding!

  169. The Masked Chicken says:

    Br. Gabriel is correct, regarding the issue of poverty. As I mentioned in the post on Red Shoes, the Pope is not practicing poverty. He is practicing restraint. They are related, but separate things. Humility has two aspects, however – a cognitive aspect and a connative aspect – knowing and feeling. While Br. Gabriel and I agree on poverty, strictly speaking, because the Pope is free to wear what he likes (Papal dress is NOT a part of infallible Tradition), unlike others who are bound to Liturgical Law, including dress, his going without certain things can be a reflection of humility, but note, this applies ONLY to the Pope, not others, who are bound by the state and dress of their office by Law. What a Pope wears is not only a function of Law, since he is free to dispense himself from it Liturgical norms (as stated in Canon Law). Thus, if he believes himself not worthy of bring set apart on a connative (gut or feeling) level, he is free to express this sense of humility in how he dresses.

    The Chicken

  170. The Chicken,

    You are correct if you consider this under a legal ratio. The Holy Father is always free in a legal sense. However, there is a moral consideration with respect to proper attire. This is often forgotten in nearly every age. Aquinas comments on the moral obligation to dress according to one’s station. He argues that it is sinful (on a number of accounts) when a public person willfully dresses contrary to the nobility and dignity of their station. Aquinas considers this to be an action contrary to the common good because it is an act contrary to both truthfulness and justice.

    So, this being the case, even the Holy Father is bound, to some degree. Now, it could be argued that the Holy Father gets to determine what defines the proper dress of the Holy Father. But, this is only partially true. The interrelationship between tradition and contemporary convention and the role of the Holy Father as a steward of the tradition in all its aspects is very complicated. I’m willing to give a lot of room on this matter because it is mostly about convention. However, the counter-tension of fittingness and tradition factor heavily in this matter.

  171. bobbyfranky says:

    And the point is what, exactly? Some doubt Pope Francis because he dresses the way he wants, and not the way they want?

    Myself, I go with: God is with the Pope. Whoever is with the Pope, is with God.

    And these allegedly from Our Lady:

    Pray for those whom my Son has chosen to lead you on the way to salvation. May your mouth refrain from every judgment. Thank you.

    Pray as I do for your shepherds. Again I caution you: do not judge them, because my Son chose them. Thank you.

    God bless you.

  172. jhayes says:

    OT, but perhaps somebody can help. I was today asked by a Lutheran theologian since when popes have worn red shoes. Any info?

    According o Wikipedia:

    “Early in his pontificate Pope John Paul II wore red shoes; however he quickly adopted wearing ordinary brown shoes…

    Pope Benedict XVI restored the use of the red papal shoes, which were provided by his personal cobbler, Adriano Stefanelli from Novara,…

    The red shoes probably date from early Roman times. The Kings of Rome, who were also the Pontifex Maximus (high priest) wore red boots. When the Roman Republic was established the Pontifex Maximus continued to wear red boots. When Christianity became the state religion, the popes became the Pontifex Maximus, and adopted the red shoes.”


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