Papal Attire

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Popes traditionally wear white garments. Benedict has added a few special touches, including a fur-trimmed stocking cap called a camauro. Popular in the Middle Ages, it's not practical for Washington in April, but you might see the pope wearing these items:

· Miter: A tall, white, pointed hat worn by the pope, cardinals and bishops. It is removed during prayer.

· Zucchetto: A skullcap worn under the miter. The pope's zucchetto is white. Cardinals wear red ones, and bishops' are violet.

· Mantum: A papal cape. Recent popes hadn't worn one, but Benedict brought it back.

· Pallium: A circular white-wool band draped around the neck and over the shoulders. It is adorned with small crosses and has two hanging flaps, one in front, the other in back.

· Mozzetta: A short cape reaching to the elbows. The pope has three versions: red satin for summer, red velvet for winter, and white for Eastertime. A papal mozzetta may have a small hood.

· Red leather shoes: The color symbolizes the blood of the martyrs, people who chose to suffer or die rather than give up their faith.

· Fisherman's ring: Made of gold, it's a symbol of his authority stemming from St. Peter, a fisherman by trade. When Benedict dies, his ring will be crushed and a new one made for the next pope.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company