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Vatican newspaper examines history of red, white papal garb

Catholic World News - September 02, 2013

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, Italian historian Agostino Paravicini Bagliani says that the popular belief that St. Pius V (1566-72) was the first Pope to wear the white cassock is inaccurate.

Instead, writes Bagliani, the first document that mentions the Pope’s white cassock dates from 1274.

“The first pope to be solemnly invested with the red mantle immediately after his election was Gregory VII (1076),” the scholar added, noting that traditionally “from the moment of his election the Pope put on vestments of two colors: red (cope, mozzetta, shoes); and white (cassock, socks).”

Pope Francis “has chosen to continue to wear the traditional white cassock while abandoning the red mozzetta, or elbow-length cape,” he observed.

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