From the Papal Chapel: the White Silk Soutane

Here are some very rare images of the papal "moiré" choir cassock of Pope John Paul II.  From what I know he made use of it once on the day of his election in 1978.  It is made by Gammarelli of white moiré silk and worn with a pectoral cross hung on a gold-colored cord.  Popes wore these on very festive occasions.  The last time this tradition was seen was October 1978.  I include a quote on the subject from an English-language authority: "For sacred functions, in chapels and consistories the pope wears a white silk choir cassock, over which he places the falda, which is a large trailing skirt and a train of the same material in color" (cf. Clerical Dress and Insignia by Rev. Henry J. McCloud).

Photo: OC-Travel

These photos were taken in the birthplace of Pope St. John Paul II in Wadowice.  These days people question if such traditions should be continued or remain discontinued.  I argue for their continuation.  The short answer is because it is the dignity of the office that is exalted, not the man.  The higher the office, the more it is exalted.  Even the priesthood is of such exalted dignity that the tribute paid by the Galatians to St. Paul comes to mind when they received him, "as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus" (cf. Galatians 4:14).

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.