Action Alert!
Catholic World News

Vatican newspaper examines history of red, white papal garb

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.


Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.