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Mozzetta: Wikis


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Bishop Wim Eijk and some canons wearing mozzettas
17th-century blue mozzetta

The mozzetta is a short elbow-length cape that covers the shoulders and is buttoned over the breast. It is worn as part of choir dress by some of the clergy of the Catholic Church, among them the Pope, cardinals, bishops, abbots, canons and religious superiors. There used to be a small hood on the back of the mozzette of bishops and cardinals, but this was discontinued by Pope Paul VI. The hood, however, was retained in the mozzette of certain canons and abbots, and also in the Popes'.



The color of the mozzetta, which is always worn with a cassock and sometimes other choral vestments, represents the hierarchical rank of the person wearing it. Cardinals wear a scarlet mozzetta, while bishops and those with equivalent jurisdiction (e.g., apostolic administrators, vicars apostolic, exarchs, prefects apostolic, territorial prelates, and territorial abbots, if not bishops) wear a purple mozzetta. Rectors of basilicas and some canons wear a black mozzetta with red piping and buttons. Since they seldom wear cassocks in the street, most other secular priests do not now wear the mozzetta. Some religious orders have a mozzetta as part of their religious habit: the Canons Regular of the Austrian Congregation wear a purple mozzetta; their confreres in the Congregation of St. Maurice wear a red mozzetta; the Congregation of Holy Cross, the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception and the Lateran Canons wear a black mozzetta.

Papal mozzetta

Pope Benedict XVI wearing red winter Papal mozetta

The Pope wears three versions of the mozzetta: the summer mozzetta, which is of red satin; the winter mozzetta, which is of red velvet trimmed with white ermine fur; and the Paschal mozzetta, which is of white damask silk trimmed with white fur. The Paschal mozzetta is worn only during Eastertide.

The winter mozzetta and the Paschal mozzetta fell into disuse during the pontificate of John Paul II (1978-2005), but their use has been restored by Pope Benedict XVI. He wore the winter mozzetta during the papal station at the image of the Madonna near the Spanish Steps that traditionally marks the beginning of Rome's winter season, and he wears it on all the occasions in the winter season where this garment is appropriate. The white mozzetta was reintroduced during the Octave of Easter in 2008. This change between winter and summer garments is very practical, given the oppressive heat of the Roman summer[1].

Shoulder cape

See also: Simar

A shoulder cape is shorter than a mozzetta and is not buttoned over the chest. It is generally seen to be a symbol of jurisdiction or authority. It is worn over the cassock by the Pope and most prelates, including cardinals and bishops.[1] In some countries it is customary for altar servers to wear a shoulder cape over their cottas or surplices while serving.


  1. ^ Instruction, Ut sive sollicite. Secretary of State, 31 Mar 1969. Nos. 18-20. Circular Letter, Per Instructionem. Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, 30 Oct 1970. No. 4.

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