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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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COWL

A hood covering the head, worn by the monastic orders. In the Middle Ages the cloak had a hood attached to it that could be drawn over the head, and the cowl became a great cloak with a hood. The Benedictine and Cistercian cowl is a large mantle with a hood that can be thrown back over the shoulders. Franciscans have a smaller hood attached to their habit. Canons wear the cowl on their mozzetta, and bishops and cardinals on the cappa. Some cowls, like those of the Augustinians and Servites, are separate hoods. The color of the cowl is that of the habit. (Etym. Latin cuculla, monk's hood.)

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