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Updated:  Aug 12, 2013
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Short, cape shaped garment

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Errata* for Mozzetta:

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.

Mozzetta, a short, cape shaped garment, covering the shoulders and reaching only to the elbow, with an open front, which may be fastened by means of a row of small buttons; at the neck it has a very small and purely ornamental hood. The privilege of wearing the mozzetta belongs properly to no one but the pope, cardinals, exempt abbots, abbots general, and the four prelates di fiochetti; only through a special privilege may it be worn by other ecclesiastics, abbots, canons, etc. Cardinals wear the mozzetta over the mantelletta, but bishops wear it without the mantelletta; the latter, however, may wear the mozzetta only within their own jurisdiction, outside of which the mantelletta must be worn instead of the mozzetta. Canons who have the privilege of wearing the mozzetta may not use it outside of the church, save when the chapter appears in cor pore (as a corporate body). The popes mozzetta is always red, except that, in Easter week, he wears a white one. As regards material, his mozzetta during the winter half year, that is, from the feast of St. Catherine to Ascension Day, is made of velvet or of cloth according to the character of the day or ceremony; in the summer half year it is made of satin or fine woollen material (merino). It is edged with ermine only in the winter half year. A cardinals mozzetta is generally red; the color is pink on Gaudete and Lcetare Sundays, and violet in penitential seasons and for mourning. According to the time of year, it is made of silk or wool. When worn by bishops, prelates, canons, etc., the mozzetta is violet or black in color; the material for these dignitaries is properly not silk but wool (camlet). Cardinals and bishops who belong to an order wearing a distinctive religious habit (e.g. the Benedictines, Dominicans, etc.) retain for the mozzetta the color of the outer garment of the habit of the respective order. This also applies to abbots and Reformed Augustinian canons who have the privilege of wearing the mozzetta. The mozzetta is not a liturgical vestment, consequently, for example, it cannot be worn at the administration of the sacraments. Sometimes it is traced back to the cappa, this making it merely a shortened cappa; sometimes to the almutia. From which of the two it is derived, is uncertain. The name mozzetta permits both derivations. In all probability the garment did not come into use until the latter Middle Ages. It was certainly worn in the latter half of the fifteenth century as is proved by the fresco of Melozzo da Forli painted in 1477: "Sixtus IV giving the Custody of the Vatican Library to Platina". From the beginning the mozzetta has been a garment distinctive of the higher ecclesiastical dignitaries, the pope, cardinals, and bishops.


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